- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2016

The State Department’s top management official received dozens of emails from Hillary Clinton’s secret account but said he never bothered to focus on what address she was using — leaving her free to circumvent open-records laws for her four-year tenure.

Under Secretary Patrick F. Kennedy said in sworn testimony that he couldn’t remember sending most of the emails in the first place, didn’t pay attention when he was mailing to Mrs. Clinton’s secret address, and didn’t worry about the implications of the secretary using a non-State.gov account when it came to storing her documents for posterity.

“It just did not set off any bells in my head that these were coming from a personal server,” he said in testimony delivered Wednesday and released Thursday by Judicial Watch, a conservative law firm that’s pursuing multiple cases seeking Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Mr. Kennedy said he’d worked for four previous secretaries and had never gotten an email from any of them, but said he didn’t find it “unusual” when Mrs. Clinton mailed him, and he didn’t pay attention to what account she was using.

He saw her using a BlackBerry device during business hours, but figured she was emailing her family, he said.

Despite the intense debate around Mrs. Clinton’s emails over the last couple of years, Mr. Kennedy also said he still hasn’t studied the issue enough to have an opinion on whehter her practice violates department policy.

State Department regulations encourage State Department employees to use State.gov e-mail addresses,” he said, but added, “To go further and say whether a — in a specific case something does or does not conform to that recommendation, I would have to consult with subject matter experts and the — and the Office of the Legal Advisor.”

Top department officials and a federal judge have previously said Mrs. Clinton did break policy.

Mrs. Clinton has said she made a bad choice in using a secret email account tied to a server she kept at her home in New York, which effectively shielded her emails from public view for nearly six years.

In December 2014, or nearly two years after she left office, Mrs. Clinton finally returned some 32,000 messages to the State Department. She withheld another 30,000 messages she said she and her lawyers had deemed were strictly private.

Judicial Watch argues that the State Department, not Mrs. Clinton, should make those determinations since she is no longer a federal employee, and the documents properly belong to the government, not to her.

They have filed a number of open-records cases, and in several of them judges have approved discovery, meaning the group has been able to take sworn testimony from Mrs. Clinton’s top aides about how they handled her emails and about how the State Department processed the requests.

Mr. Kennedy is the latest to testify in that process.

He was the person who made the official request in 2014 that Mrs. Clinton return her emails to the department.

But he said in his deposition this week that his role in Mrs. Clinton’s compliance was actually limited. He said the department’s lawyers told him to write the letter, and he merely provided a signature.

And he said the responsibility for actually tracking Mrs. Clinton’s records lay elsewhere in the department.

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