By Howard Portnoy for LibertyUnyielding.com
“Trust me, I did nothing wrong.” That in a nutshell is what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the American people at a press conference this past Tuesday. Her use of a private nongovernmental email address, she said, was “a matter of convenience” and that in retrospect it was probably not a great idea.
Case closed? Not entirely, according to Shannen Coffin, a senior attorney at the Justice Department and White House during the presidency of George W. Bush. In the second part a must-read two-part series at National Review, Coffin explains:
[W]hile Clinton is correct that every employee has to make some initial determination of whether a particular document is an official “record,” the ultimate determination is most definitely not up to the employee, but rather to the agency and its records-management officials.
Like every State Department official, he goes on to note, Clinton is bound by procedures delineated in a Records Management Handbook. “Under a provision titled ‘Removal Procedures,’” he writes, “the manual sets forth the process that each … State employee must go through upon separation (i.e., resignation or retirement) from the department. In addition to relinquishing classified materials, all employees are required to clear the removal of any unclassified materials through records-management officials.”
The decision of what is classified or unclassified is, thus, not up to the outgoing employee. All documents, rather, are the property of the government. The State Department gets to decide which ones are returned to the individual and which are not. Since Clinton by her own admission sifted through her own records, she is guilty of a breach of protocol.
But she may also broken the law.
Read more here.
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