Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's campaign sought to curb any fallout Wednesday after the inspector general's office at the State Department announced its finding that her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state violated agency regulations.
Brian Fallon, Clinton's press secretary, continued to contend that Clinton's personal email server was not unique in any way since other secretaries of state and department officials have also engaged in the practice.
"The report shows that problems with the State Department's electronic record keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor," Fallon said in a statement.
Fallon also slammed Clinton's "political opponents" for making sure to "misrepresent this report for their own partisan purposes."
"Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary's server," he said. "We agree that steps ought to be taken to ensure the government can better maintain official records, and if she were still at the State Department, Secretary Clinton would embrace and implement any recommendations, including those in this report, to help do that."
"But as this report makes clear, Hillary Clinton's use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records," Fallon added.
Yet according to the report, even though others before her in the State Department used personal accounts, that doesn't mean Clinton didn't violate the rules. Also, she neglected to turn over all of her relevant emails before she vacated the office — as implicitly stipulated. The report went on to state that Clinton had an "obligation to discuss using her personal email account," which she did not do.
"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," the report said. "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 report also asserted that Clinton did not ask permission to use a private email server from her New York home, and if she had done so, the request would have been denied due to the security risks it presented — despite the fact that previous agency officials had used personal accounts.
As the Associated Press noted, the report concluded that while former Secretary of State Colin Powell also used a private email account, it did not note that any other former secretaries had done so as well.
"By Secretary Clinton's tenure, the department's guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated," the report said. "Secretary Clinton's cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives."
While Clinton has sought to portray the controversial use of her own email server as a minute issue, she did issue an apology in September.
"Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake," Clinton said then in a lengthy Facebook post. "I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility."
Clinton also stressed at the time that her use of the personal server was "allowed under the State Department’s rules."
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