State Dept criticized, sued over handling of Clinton-era emails

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An inner investigation has slammed the State Department’s record-keeping practices. The division was hit by an AP lawsuit over unfulfilled requests for paperwork and emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The State Department’s Office of the Inspector-General printed a report (PDF) Wednesday criticizing the failure of many staff to protect emails as official data. Even although a 2009 improve to the division’s e-mail system made it simpler to enter emails into the file3, “employees created 61,156 record emails out of more than a billion emails sent” in 2011. Even fewer official emails – 41,749 – had been recorded in 2013.

“System designers in the Bureau of Information Resource Management need more understanding and knowledge of the needs of their customers to make the system more useful. A new procedure for monitoring the needs of customers would facilitate making those adjustments,” the OIG report says.

The OIG report’s launch got here on the identical day the Associated Press filed a lawsuit towards the State Department, following years of unsuccessfully requesting paperwork below the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). AP resorted to authorized measures after “careful deliberation and exhausting our other options,” AP normal counsel Karen Kaiser stated in a press release.

According to AP, the State Department takes about 450 days to meet FOIA requests – seven instances longer than the CIA and the Justice Department, and 30 instances longer than the Treasury Department.

AP is looking for copies of Clinton’s schedules and calendars throughout her tenure as secretary of state (2009-2013); paperwork and correspondence associated to longtime aide Huma Abedin and advisers Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines, who’re prone to play essential roles in a Clinton presidential marketing campaign; paperwork associated to Clinton’s function within the NSA surveillance practices and the 2011 Osama bin Laden raid; and paperwork associated to Clinton’s oversight of a significant Defense Department contractor.

“State’s failure to ensure that Secretary Clinton’s governmental emails were retained and preserved by the agency, and its failure [to] timely seek out and search those emails in response to AP’s requests, indicate at the very least that State has not engaged in the diligent, good-faith search that FOIA requires,” AP’s authorized submitting says.

Clinton has just lately come below elevated media scrutiny for utilizing a private e-mail account throughout her time at Foggy Bottom, reasonably than the official authorities handle. The e-mail service was hosted on a non-public server, situated on the Clintons’ New York property.

At a press convention on Tuesday, Clinton claimed the emails by no means contained any labeled data, and that the government-related messages she turned over could be made public finally. According to The New York Times, Clinton “all but acknowledged that she was running for president” by going earlier than the press to handle the e-mail questions.

AP wrote that the controversy has “jumbled what had been expected to be a smooth glide toward the kickoff of her presidential campaign next month.”

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