In an interesting development in the US election campaign, a state department report, released today, shows Clinton’s Use of Private Emails Created ‘Security Risks’.
Hillary Clinton created “security risks” by using a personal email account and private email server when she was secretary of state, according to a sharply critical report by the state department that could haunt her in the tightening presidential election campaign.
The department’s inspector general, an internal watchdog, said Mrs Clinton had not sought legal approval to conduct official business on the server she installed in her New York home. It also said security officials would not have sanctioned the practice had they been informed.
Although the controversy surrounding Mrs Clinton’s emails has raged for months, the state department finding is the first official government agency to conclude its investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is still conducting its own inquiry into the issue, which could ultimately lead to criminal charges.
In recent weeks, the FBI has interviewed top Clinton aides, including her longtime adviser Huma Abedin, but has yet to interview Mrs Clinton. The Clinton campaign did not comment on the IG report.
A recent CBS-New York Times poll found that two-thirds of voters do not believe Mrs Clinton is “honest and trustworthy” — though a similar number said the same thing about Mr Trump.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said the report proved that Mrs Clinton “hasn’t been telling the truth since day one”.
While previous secretaries of state, including Colin Powell, used personal email for business on occasion, Mrs Clinton was unique in relying on a private server. The IG said she should have turned over her work-related emails when she stepped down in 2013. She did not provide them until 2014 following intense public pressure.
Even if the justice department determines there is no case for prosecution based on the FBI findings, Mrs Clinton still faces probes on other fronts, including one by the inspector-general of the US intelligence community, and another by the state department’s bureau of diplomatic security. The Clinton campaign is hoping that all of the probes will be wrapped up ahead of the election to dampen the attacks from Mr Trump.
Earlier this year, a US district judge appointed by Bill Clinton ruled that aides to Mrs Clinton should be questioned under oath about the email server to determine if they had tried to skirt open records laws. Ms Abedin and Cheryl Mills, former chief of staff to Mrs Clinton, are expected to be deposed, while the judge said he believed it “may be necessary” for Mrs Clinton to be deposed as well.
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Mike “Mish” Shedlock