Hillary Clinton Lies About Her Benghazi Email
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s explanations about her use of a personal email account as secretary of state have evolved over time. She is expected to be questioned about her statements by a House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
* Why did Mrs. Clinton use only a personal email account, and did State Department rules allow it?
March 10, 2015“When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” Mrs. Clinton said in March. “Looking back, it would’ve been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone.” Mrs. Clinton said that since a vast majority of her work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, they would be archived by the government.
July 2015Media reports say that Mrs. Clinton used multiple devices – a BlackBerry and an iPad. She mostly relied on her BlackBerry for email, but she sometimes used her iPad to access email. After her aides were asked by the media about the iPad, they revised her statement. — Clinton campaign statement
October 2015At this month’s Democratic presidential debate, Mrs. Clinton said, “What I did was allowed by the State Department, but it wasn’t the best choice.”
At the time Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state, in January 2009, the State Department’s written policy was that email generally be conducted on an “authorized” computer with adequate security measures. But because of perennial problems with the state.gov email system, many State Department employees found they had to use their private email accounts to get work done in a timely manner, especially while traveling. Critics of Mrs. Clinton have said that she did not follow the department’s rules and regulations governing email. The Clinton campaign disputes that contention.
* Does Mrs. Clinton regret using a personal email account as secretary of state?
March 10, 2015 “Again, looking back, it would’ve been better for me to use two separate phones and two email accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way.”
Sept. 5, 2015 In a September interview, Mrs. Clinton sought to frame the issue as a simple misunderstanding. “At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions. But there are answers to all these questions.” — MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell
Sept. 7, 2015 In response to a question from The Associated Press about why she would not fully apologize, Mrs. Clinton said: “What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.” — Associated Press article
Sept. 8, 2015 In an interview just days later, Mrs. Clinton apologized: “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility. And I’m trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.” — ABC interview with David Muir
As scrutiny of Mrs. Clinton’s email account has increased, and her early statements failed to dispel public concern, she has become more apologetic about her decision to use only the private email account. Participants in a focus group conducted by the Clinton campaign responded positively when shown a video of Mrs. Clinton striking a more conciliatory tone about the issue.
* Did classified emails end up on her personal server?
March 10, 2015 “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton
July 2015 The F.B.I. had determined that Mrs. Clinton had received “Secret” information in her account, the second highest classification of government intelligence. In response to that disclosure, her campaign said that sensitive national security information was sometimes upgraded to classified at a later date if the State Department or another agency believed its inadvertent release “could potentially harm national security or diplomatic relations.” The campaign insisted that none of the materials were classified at the time she received them. — Clinton campaign statement
September 2015 According to multiple media reports over the summer, an inspector general’s review found that some contents of emails that Mrs. Clinton received were classified at the time she received them, though not marked as such. In the Sept. 7 interview with The A.P., she emphasized that the material she received did not carry classification labels but did not directly take issue with the inspector general’s finding. “I did not send or receive any information marked classified. I take the responsibilities of handling classified materials very seriously and did so,” Mrs. Clinton said. — Associated Press article
Mrs. Clinton has adjusted her statements as outside reviews by the F.B.I. and the inspector general undercut her initial comments that her emails had contained nothing classified. The controversy, in part, reflects the widespread uncertainty inside the government over what is classified and what is not. So far there is no public evidence that any classified information leaked from her email account or put national security at risk. But the discovery of sensitive contents in Mrs. Clinton’s emails has fueled criticism of her initial decision to use a private account for government business.
*Did Mrs. Clinton turn over all her work-related emails to the State Department?
March 10, 2015“We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and delivered them to the State Department,” she said. “I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department.” — statement by Mrs. Clinton at United Nations news conference
June 25, 2015 It was disclosed in June that there were 15 emails between Mrs. Clinton and her longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal, mainly dealing with events in Libya, that Mrs. Clinton did not provide to the State Department. In response to that development, a Clinton campaign official said, “We do not have a record of other correspondence between her and Mr. Blumenthal beyond that which was turned over to the State Department.” The official added, “We do not recognize many of those materials and cannot speak to their origin.” — The New York Times
Aug. 8, 2015 Mrs. Clinton said in a sworn statement in August, filed in federal court, that she directed that all her emails in her custody that “potentially were federal records” be turned over to the government and that “on information and belief, this has been done.” — Mrs. Clinton’s sworn statement
Sept. 27, 2015“From my perspective, we have a very thorough review process that we conducted. And my attorneys supervised it, they went through everything. And what we had available at the time was turned over,” Mrs. Clinton said in September on NBC. — “Meet the Press” interview with Mrs. Clinton
The campaign has not said what happened to these emails. But its failure to turn them over to the State Department has raised questions about whether Mrs. Clinton gave the department all the messages pertaining to her work as the nation’s top diplomat.
*When did she start using the personal account she had as secretary of state?
March 10, 2015“Before March 18, 2009, Secretary Clinton continued using the email account she had used during her Senate service. Given her practice from the beginning of emailing Department officials on their state.gov accounts, her work-related emails during these initial weeks would have been captured and preserved in the Department’s record-keeping system.” — Document released by Mrs. Clinton’s office
Sept. 27, 2015In September, after the Defense Department discovered a chain of emails from January 2009, between Mrs. Clinton’s email account and one for David H. Petraeus, who was then the head of the United States Central Command, Mrs. Clinton revised her statement. “There was about a month where I didn’t have everything
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign inaccurately stated after the email account was revealed that she had started using it in March 2009.
*Why did Mrs. Clinton provide her emails to the State Department?
March 10, 2015 Mrs. Clinton’s office said in March that the State Department formally requested that Mrs. Clinton and four former secretaries turn over work-related emails sent or received by their personal accounts to help the department comply with the Federal Records Act. — Document released by Mrs. Clinton’s office
Sept. 20, 2015“When we were asked to help the State Department make sure they had everything from other secretaries of state, not just me, I’m the one who said, O.K., great, I will go through them again. And we provided all of them.” — “Face the Nation” interview on CBS
Mrs. Clinton’s aides suggested in March that she turned over her emails as a result of a routine record-keeping effort by the State Department. In fact, the effort to gather her emails took place as part of the department’s response to the congressional investigation into the attacks in Benghazi, according to the State Department. Department officials said they asked for emails from her predecessors after discussions with Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers about getting her emails. The timing has led some critics to suggest that the requests to former secretaries of state were an effort to provide cover for her.