Hillary Clinton stated during a press conference last week that emails sent from her private email address while she served as Secretary of State were “immediately” saved. New information revealed from the State Department alleges that this is an untrue statement.
Clinton gave the press conference on Tuesday to respond to the recently uncovered fact that she used a personal email account and server when she was Secretary of State, Opposing Views previously reported. Clinton released some of the emails sent from her personal email address to The Select Committee On Benghazi as part of their investigation. Some 30,000 emails were deleted and not shared because Clinton said they were personal.
"And when I got there, I wanted to just use one device for both personal and work e-mails, instead of two," Clinton said at the press conference. "It was allowed. And as I said, it was for convenience. And it was my practice to communicate with State Department and other government officials on their .gov accounts so those e-mails would be automatically saved in the State Department system to meet record-keeping requirements, and that, indeed, is what happened.”
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Friday that the department did not start automatically archiving emails from senior officials until February of this year, reports FOX News.
"They have long been planning to do this. It's just something that it took some time to put in place," Psaki said.
Prior to February 2015, senior officials were personally responsible for choosing their own official records for preservation.
“Obviously, this [automatic archiving] is a more efficient way — a way that will require less human effort….We have quite a bit going on here at the State Department,” Psaki said. “There were ways to preserve [emails] and employees and individuals were expected to do that prior to this new process.”
An inspector general report released earlier this week noted that archiving was not happening on a regular basis.
According to the report, in 2011, employees created just “61,156 record emails out of more than a billion emails sent.” Fewer were created in 2013.
The report said some employees were not preserving emails "because they do not want to make the email available in searches or fear that this availability would inhibit debate about pending decisions."
Psaki said information that was not saved may be recoverable, reports Politico.
“I wouldn’t state it’s ‘lost to history’ because there are technical means of gaining access to past information,” Psaki said. “I’m not an expert on the technical capabilities.”
Questions have now been raised as to why Clinton thought her emails were being preserved just because they were sent to a “.gov” address.
“She spoke as if she could just roll along with the firm expectation and belief that at least the ‘vast majority’ were being ‘handled’ in that way. From whence did that come? That’s the question that arises now.” said former Justice Department Office of Information and Privacy Director Dan Metcalfe. “What was her foundation for even that? Did someone incorrectly tell her that that was happening, or did she incorrectly make such a self-serving assumption?”
Psaki suggested that there may have been confusion among some State Department employees about what was and was not being automatically saved.
“I assume some assumed that was happening at the time as well,” Psaki said. “We’re updating it because it’s an imperfect system."