In a possible violation of federal rules, Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email address to conduct State Department business when she was serving as chief U.S. diplomat, according to a New York Times report.
According to the report posted Monday evening, Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address when she was secretary of state, and no specific actions were taken to preserve her emails per the Federal Records Act.
The personal email account, and lack of a government account, was discovered by a House committee investigating the Benghazi attack after it sought Mrs. Clinton’s emails about the incident, the Times reported.
Officials and government watchdogs express shock at her use of a personal email to conduct State business.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level-head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” Jason R. Baron, former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, told the Times.
Clinton spokesman told the newspaper that Mrs. Clinton has been obeying the “letter and spirit of the rules.”
However, National Archives regulations required that emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved for the record, and Mrs. Clinton’s aides did not follow his protocol, the New York Times reports.
About 55,000 pages of emails were given to the State Department two months ago in compliance with federal record-keeping laws.
“It’s a shame it didn’t take place automatically when she was secretary of state as it should have,” Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a transparency advocacy group, told the New York Times.
Mrs. Clinton is unlikely to face any penalties for the breach, the newspaper reports, since the Archives don’t have many enforcement abilities.