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In a 78-page document released by the Office of the Inspector General of the State Department, a division dedicated to eliminating fraud and waste in the State Department, Hillary Clinton is faulted in refusing to follow department rules and failing to inform of the existence of a private server. The report describes the server as not “appropriate”.
The document was released on Wednesday, May 26, documenting the concerns of the Inspector General. The existence of the server, the report claims, would not have been approved had she asked to use a private server. This is particularly concerning, especially due to the confidential information contained on the server and contrasts Mrs. Clinton’s enduring claim that her private server was perfectly legitimate.
The report claims that she also failed in properly preserving and submitting her emails following the end of her tenure. “Therefore, Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary. At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
The Inspector General also claims that a private email or private server presented a security risk, that the staffers for Mrs. Clinton were well aware of. A lower-level staffer in the State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management raised concerns about the server, and was told (in paraphrase) “that the matter was not to be discussed any further” and was approved by the Office of the Legal Adviser.
Even after Mrs. Clinton was informed of a hacking attempt on her private server, she did not report the attempt, as was Department policy. Her staff were informed not to email her superiors, as it would have ruined her ability to explain in person. “However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department.”
That attempt required the shutdown of her server for several minutes in 2011, but Clinton retains the claim that her private server was never breached. However, the Romanian hacker “Guccifer”, or Marcel Lehel Lazar, claims that he was able to access the server. Lazar recently struck a plea deal with the U.S. authorities for seven years and a $500,000 fine, in exchange for his cooperation in any government investigation. Some believe that this plea deal may have occurred due to the open FBI investigation on former Secretary Clinton, regarding the legality of her email server.
Concerns, again, were raised by her Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations when Secretary Clinton’s emails were not being received, as they were going to the “spam” folder. He recommended a switch to a State Department email. For reasons unknown, Clinton agreed that a switch was appropriate, but did not switch over to a State Department email.
While former Secretary-of-State Collin Powell used a private email server during his tenure, the report claims, former Secretaries-of-State Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice did not. Regarding Powell’s server, the report claims: “Secretary Powell did not comply with Department policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.” However, the report claims that the policies were made more clear under Clinton’s tenure, and her digressions regarding a private email “accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives.”
While not much is new, certain facts have become more clear from the Inspector General’s report.
Hillary Clinton held a private email server which was not approved by any department of the State Department, and would have been denied if she had asked for permission.
The Federal records which she held on her server, 55 000 pages worth, were not properly stored as per State Department policy in regards to the Federal Records Act.
Her private server presented a security risk, which her staffers were repeatedly made aware and did nothing about.
Multiple concerns were raised about the server, upon which the employees were silenced. When Secretary Clinton was advised to switch to a State Department email, she did not.
Secretary Clinton’s repeatedly lied or misrepresented that the server had been approved, when the Inspector General could find no evidence that the server had ever been approved by any department.
Secretary Clinton failed to report a hacking attempt on her server, violating department policy and intentionally silencing her staff from raising complaints about the server.
Given that she is running for the presidency, Mrs. Clinton has several questions to answer about her server. This comes at a time when the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, is calling into question the legality of her email server. Current polling shows that Mrs. Clinton is behind Mr. Trump by 0.2 percent in the RealClear Politics average, with three of the five last polls having Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton by at least 2 percent.