Hillary Clinton tried to pacify the controversy doing the rounds for about two weeks by declaring that she had deleted around 50% of her emails created during her tenure as the Secretary of State. She added that she had forwarded all her emails of that period pertaining to government business to the Obama administration, and deleted all personal ones.
While addressing a news conference on her using official mail account as Secretary for even private purposes, she admitted that it would have been better if she had used her official email account for government business purposes only. She, however, was quick to add that she had not done anything against the law; rather “fully complied with every rule”. She had erased private messages relating to her daughter’s marriage, mother’s funeral, her yoga routine, and the likes; she said. She further added that while using her official email for personal messages, only thing that had been in her mind was convenience. She thought just one email account of her would fulfill both official as well as private purposes instead of using two separate email accounts.
Mrs. Clinton revealed that she had forwarded in December around 30490 emails to the State Department, after about two years of her leaving the office, and that she deleted around 32000 other emails. Her revelation that she took the help of her aides in deciding the mails that should be made available to the Government has raised eyebrows over her power to finales which emails were necessary to be passed on for official records. Critics were of the opinion that there could be certain emails essential for the State Department and certain others for journalists and historians.
All these have emboldened the Republicans heading a House committee appointed to investigate the attack in 2012 on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. In an interesting move, a former first lady, former Secretary of State, and an undeclared next presidential candidate has to appear before the House committee twice to answer questions on secrecy, judgment and accountability.
As a matter of fact, federal employees were not prohibited from using official emails accounts to issue and receive personal emails, but were discouraged from doing so when Ms Clinton took office. However, nine months after that a provision came in force under which those using same email account both for official and personal purposes had to keep a separate record of his/her official emails. Her emails, on the other hand, were backed up not on government server, but on personal one. Ms. Clinton, however, explained that since she sent official emails to the government email accounts, hence, these were captured and preserved immediately, and thus, she had complied with the new rule. She further added that the server housing her email had been fixed on a property monitored by the Secret Service, and that she had not sent any classified information to anyone outside the government.
The controversy rages on and on.