We wanted to take this opportunity, given how much information has been circulating, to provide the best information we have about an understandably
confusing situation. This document is on-the-record as “Statement from the Office of Former Secretary Clinton”.
Like Secretaries of State before her, Secretary Clinton = used her own email account when engaging with State Department officials. For anything
related to work, it was her practice to email them on their “.gov” accounts, with every expectation those email would be retained in the
When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their work email were in fact retained, she immediately said yes. And, she
has asked the Department to make these emails available to the public.
She is proud of her work and service to the country during her four years as Secretary of State and is eager for people be able to see that for
Was this allowed?
Yes. The laws and regulations did not prohibit her from using her own email for work.
Under the Federal Records Act, records are defined as “books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials,
regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with
the transaction of public business.” [44 U.S.C. 3301].
In meeting the record-keeping obligation, it was Secretary Clinton’s practice to email government officials on their “.gov” accounts, so her
work emails were captured and preserved.
While there has been much discussion of the regulation issued in 2009. To be clear, this regulation merely reaffirmed existing law on the need to
preserve work email.
Was she ever provided guidance about her use of a non-“.gov” email account?
The Department has and did provide guidance regarding the need to preserve federal records, which included her work emails.
To address requirements to keep records of her work emails, it was her practice to email U.S. government employees at their “.gov” email address.
That way, work emails would be captured and preserved in the Department's system.
What did Secretary Clinton provide to the Department?
On December 5, 2014, 30,490 emails sent and received by Secretary Clinton from March 2009 to February 2013 were provided to the Department. This
totaled roughly 55,000 printed pages.
Why did the Select Committee announce that she used multiple email addresses during her tenure?
In fairness to the Committee, this was an honest misunderstanding. Secretary Clinton used one email account during her tenure at State (with the
exception of her first weeks in office while transitioning from an email account she had previously used for years). A month after she left the
Department, Gawker published the email address she used while Secretary and so she changed the address on her account.
At the time the email were provided to the Department last year, because it was the same account, the new email address established after she left
office appeared on the copies as the sender, and not the address she used as Secretary. In fact, this address on the account did not exist until March
2013. This led to understandable confusion that was cleared up directly with the Committee after their press conference.
Why did the Department ask for assistance? Why did the Department need assistance in further meeting its requirements under the Federal Records
The Department formally requested the assistance of the four previous former Secretaries in a letter dated October 28, 2014 to help in further meeting
the Department’s requirements under the Federal Records Act.
The letter stated that in September 2013, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued new guidance clarifying records management
responsibilities regarding the use of personal email accounts for official government business.
While this guidance post-dated all four former Secretaries, the Department decided to ensure their records were as complete as possible and sought
copies of work email sent or received by the Secretaries on their personal accounts.
Why was the Department given hard copies?
That is the requirement. The instructions regarding electronic mail in the Foreign Affairs Manual, requires that “until technology allowing
archival capabilities for long-term electronic storage and retrieval of E-mail messages is available and installed, those messages warranting
preservation as records (for periods longer than current E-mail systems routinely maintain them) must be printed out and filed with related
records.” [5 FAM 443.3].
Were any work items deleted in the course of producing the hard copies?
How and who decided what should be provided in hard copy?
Her counsel conducted a thorough review, using a multi-step process.
First, a search of her entire email account, both sent and received, was conducted for any mention of “.gov” (not just state.gov). This produced
just over 27,500 email, representing just over 90% of the 30,490 emails ultimately provided to the Department
To help identify any potential non-“.gov “correspondence that should be included, members of her staff who served with her at the State Department
were enlisted to help with the following steps.
A search of first and last names of more than 100 State Department and other U.S. government officials was performed. This included all Deputy
Secretaries, Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Ambassadors-at-Large, Special Representatives and Envoys, members of the Secretary’s Foreign
Policy Advisory Board, and other senior officials to the Secretary, including close aides and staff.
Next, to account for non-obvious or recognizable email addresses or misspellings or other idiosyncrasies, the email were sorted and reviewed both by
sender and recipient.
Lastly, a number of terms were specifically searched for, including: “Benghazi” and “Libya.”
These additional steps yielded just over another 2,900 email. Many of those, however, were had been forwarded onto the state.gov system, further
reducing the number of email not captured in real-time, or in close to real-time.
Most importantly, this process indicated that the vast majority of hard copies Secretary Clinton provided to the Department were duplicates of email
that would be captured by in their system..
When the email provided to the Department are released, what is an example of what we will see?
You will see everything from the work of government, to email with State and other Administration colleagues, to LinkedIn invites, to talk about the
weather -- essentially what anyone would see in their own email account.
Did Secretary Clinton use this account to communicate with foreign officials?
The search yielded only a single email exchange with a UK official. She communicated with foreign officials in person, through correspondence, and by
Do you think a third party should be allowed to review what was turned over to the Department, as well as the remainder that was not?
Secretary Clinton went above and beyond in responding to the Department’s request to ensure all her work email are captured. She also has made clear
that she would like email provided to the Department to be made public.