I Read The Entire Hillary Clinton State Department Report So That You Don't Have To
On Wednesday, national news outlets including The New York Times obtained the Office of the Inspector General's report detailing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's email practices during her tenure. While that part is obviously what the media and public is focused on, the report actually covered not just Clinton's email policies, but those of secretaries of state from 1997 to the present, meaning Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Clinton, and John Kerry. The most damning excerpts detail Clinton's staff being cautioned to never speak of her emails, in a very or else kind of tone.
The lengthy report is about as dense and dry as you'd expect, though there's some humor to be found here and there (charmingly, OIG found it necessary to note that Secretary Albright used neither a department nor a personal account during her tenure, since, you know, email wasn't really a thing yet).
Clinton does not make a strong start. Early in the report, OIG notes that it "interviewed dozens of former and current Department employees, including ... Secretary Kerry and former Secretaries Albright, Powell, and Rice. Through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined OIG's request for an interview."
It goes on to say that eight other employees — chiefs of staff for former secretaries, etc. — also declined to be interviewed. Again, though, they're not the one running for president. Some tidbits...
However, there's no penalty for this — nor has the Department ever proposed any.
It should be noted here that secretaries of state autoforwarding work emails to their personal accounts has been prohibited since 2002.
This next one is my personal favorite...
Here, the report goes on to say that emails containing SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified) information should have resulted in Clinton contacting the Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) for a "solution," which she repeatedly failed to do. She also failed to provide the necessary burdens of proof that her system was secure.
In December 2014, Clinton produced about 55,000 pages in hard copy comprising 30,000 or so work-related emails. Later on, though, the report explains that these papers didn't include emails from the first months of her term (January 21 – March 17 2009 for received; January 21 – April 12 2009 for sent), including communications between herself and General David Petraeus. The Under Secretary for Management explained this as being due to Clinton's recent transition to a new address, saying she didn't have custody of those emails and that they were so far unobtainable.
The report also says that two staff members in the Office of the Secretary, Executive Secretariat (S/ES) and the IRM had expressed concern over Clinton's email practices, and that someone asked whether the information on her personal account contained Federal records that needed to be preserved. This staff member was told that everything was in line and that "the matter was not to be discussed any further." The staff was apparently then instructed to "never to speak of the Secretary's personal email system again."
The gist of the report is that both Clinton and Powell — who have not publicly responded to the report as of this writing — consistently used their personal accounts for official business. (Plus, a former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Jonathan Scott Gration, but understandably people are more focused on the Clinton part. Gration is not running for president).
Basically, lots of and lots of people used their personal email when they should have been using their work one, but only those three (of the individuals investigated) did it "on an exclusive basis for day-to-day operations." She used a personal email system, usually her mobile phone, through her entire term as Secretary, via a private server at her home in New York, despite being cautioned repeatedly that this was inappropriate and potentially insecure.
For what it's worth, while Clinton clearly fell short in her duty to conduct and record her emails appropriately, in addition to surrendering them before she left office as she should have done, officials told The Washington Post that "their investigation so far has found little evidence that Clinton maliciously flouted classification rules."