Clinton wipes server after handing over e-mails
This article appeared
at USA Today
March 28, 2015
WASHINGTON — Former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to “wipe her server clean” and permanently delete all e-mails from the personal server, according to the head of a House committee investigating the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Clinton also has refused to turn over the server for an outside review as he and other Republicans have sought.
“Not only was the secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all e-mails from her server ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,” Gowdy said in a statement issued Friday.
Clinton, who is likely to announce her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination soon, has faced intense scrutiny over her use of a private e-mail account, firstname.lastname@example.org, and a personal server for official business during her time at the State Department.
Her lawyer David Kendall said there’s nothing for the committee to see on the server from Clinton’s time in office. Clinton had given the State Department all work-related e-mails covering her tenure at the department from Jan. 21, 2009, through Feb. 1, 2013, he said.
In a six-page letter released Friday, Kendall said it would serve no purpose for Clinton to relinquish her server because Clinton’s IT advisers have confirmed “there are no email@example.com e-mails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized.”
After Clinton’s team determined which e-mails were to be turned over to the State Department last year, Clinton choose to delete her personal e-mails and asked her aides to change the settings on the account to retain e-mails for only 60 days, Kendall said. The account was no longer in active use at that point, he said.
Clinton has called on the State Department to release the more than 30,000 work-related e-mails her lawyers handed over to the agency on Dec. 5, 2014. It’s up to the department to review them for sensitive information and decide what to share with the public.
Gowdy seems prepared to take further action, saying he would work with the GOP leadership in the House on “next steps.” Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded Clinton turn over her server to an independent arbiter but stopped short of saying the House would seek a subpoena for the server.
Gowdy said Clinton would have to answer questions from lawmakers — something her aides say she is prepared to do.
Clinton is “ready and willing to come and appear herself for a hearing open to the American public,” her spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.
He added that Clinton’s representatives have been in touch with Gowdy’s committee and the State Department to make it clear Clinton would like the State Department to publicly release her work-related e-mails “as soon as possible.”