Posted: 1:42 am EDT
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“[T]he system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.”
– Hillary Clinton, March 10, 2015
It’s hard trying to keep track of the highs and lows of the Clinton email debacle. Since this is not going away anytime soon, or going away quietly, we thought we’d build a timeline, to keep the details we find relevant for our reference. Feel free to scroll. We’ve written previously — in this whole email mess at the State Department — it must be said that this might not have happened if not enabled by senior bureaucrats in the agency. We do not believe for a moment that senior officials were not aware about the email practices of then Secretary Clinton or the record retention requirement. But hey, if the practice was done for four years over the protests and dissent of officials at “M”, “A”, the Legal Adviser or the CIO, we’d like to see that email trail. We will update the timeline, as needed.
November 21, 2008: NY Times says Hillary Clinton accepts US Secretary of State position
December 1, 2008: President-Elect Barack Obama announces Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (video)
January 13, 2009: Internet records show that the domain ‘clintonemail.com’ was created and had Network Solutions LLC as registrar. http://www.whois.com/whois/clintonemail.com
January 21, 2009: Clinton is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as President Obama’s secretary of state by a roll call vote of 94–2.
January 21, 2009: Clinton takes the oath of office of Secretary of State administered by Associate Judge Kathryn Oberly with Bill Clinton in attendance. She resigned from the Senate the same day. (Hillary Clinton, the 67th Secretary of State)
July 31, 2009: State/OIG issues Review of the Information Security Program for Sensitive Compartmented Information Systems at the Department of State (CLASSIFIED) aud-it-09-21.pdf
November 2, 1009: NARA Notes on State Department State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART) system rollout. Per IPS, people are “using the record email function” but huge issues with memos. Appears that the Executive Secretariat (S/ES) will be establishing its own recordkeeping system as the follow on to STARS. (view in pdf).
June 28, 2011: State Department releases cable on Securing Personal Email Accounts (Via FoxNews)
August 10, 2012: State OIG issues review of US Embassy Kenya, dings Ambassador Scott Gration, among other things, for use of commercial email (see State/OIG Releases Ambassador Scott Gration’s Embassy Report Card – And Look, No Redactions!)
August 24, 2012: OMB/NARA issues Managing Government Records Directive, OMB M-12-18 (pdf)
September 11, 2012: Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others killed in Benghazi, Libya
October 2, 2012: After a Year of Serious Roars and Growls, State Dept Officially Retires FSO-Non Grata Peter Van Buren (despite allegation that “two pages of the book manuscript we have seen contain unauthorized disclosures of classified information.”)
December 11, 2012: NARA Chief Records Officer Paul M. Wester Jr. Email to NARA’s Margaret Hawkins and Lisa Clavelli on how they “should delicately go about learning more” about the transition plans for Secretary Clinton’s departure from State. Concerns that “there are or maybe plans afoot to taking her records from State to Little Rock.” Invokes the specter of the Henry Kissinger experience vis-a-vis Hillary Clinton (view email in pdf)
February 1, 2013: Clinton leaves the State Department (Photo of the Day: 67 Says Goodbye to Foggy Bottom)
Early 2013: After HRC left government service in early 2013, the Clintons decided to upgrade the system, hiring Platte River as the new manager of a privately managed e-mail network. The old server was removed from the Clinton home by Platte River and stored in a third party data center.[…] “The information had been migrated over to a different server for purposes of transition,” from the old system to one run by Platte River, said Barbara J. Wells, a Denver lawyer who represents Platte River Networks Inc., recalling the transfer that occurred in June 2013. (Via WaPo)
March 5, 2013: State Department publishes Foreign Affairs Manual updates on 12 FAM 540 Sensitive But Unclassified Information (SBU) View pdf file here.
March 20, 2013: Clinton’s private email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, is made public by Romanian hacker named ‘Guccifer’ (real name is Marcel Lazăr Lehel) after hacking into Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL email account. (via Gawker; emails published in full here via RT).
May 28, 2013: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced the issuance of a subpoena for “documents and communications referring or relating to the Benghazi from ten current and former State Department officials. See House Oversight Committee Subpoenas Benghazi-Related Documents To/From Ten State Dept Officials.
June 2013 – Hillary’s team shifts control of the email network to an outside IT contractor in Denver called Platte River Networks, and sends the original server hardware to a data center facility in New Jersey, where it is erased. (Via Daily Mail; Via WaPo)
August 1, 2013: House Oversight Committee issues two subpoenas, 1) State Department documents that had been covered but not produced after earlier requests, and 2) documents related to the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.
September 9, 2013: NARA Bulletin 2013-03 | Guidance for agency employees on the management of Federal records, including email accounts, and the protection of Federal records from unauthorized removal
January 16, 2014: State/OIG issues Management Alert – OIG Findings of Significant, Recurring Weaknesses in Dept of State Info System Security Program 220066.pdf
May 8, 2014: The House of Representatives adopted H. Res. 567, Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is named chairman.
August 5, 2014: State Department updates 12 FAM 530 STORING AND SAFEGUARDING CLASSIFIED MATERIAL. Officers are reminded that Department-issued materials not codified in the Foreign Affairs Manual or its supplemental Foreign Affairs Handbook series generally have no regulatory validity (see 2 FAM 1115.2)
August 11, 2014: The State Department sends its first group of documents to the new Select Benghazi committee, a partial response to a previous subpoena. The production contains a few — less than 10 — emails either to or from Clinton. Committee staffers notice immediately that the emails are from a previously unseen address, email@example.com. Meanwhile, the committee presses State to meet its legal obligation to fully respond to the pair of subpoenas originally issued in August 2013. (Via Washington Examiner)
August 28, 2014: State Department U/S for Management sends memo to department principals on Senior Officials’ Records Management Responsibilities (view memo pdf). See State Department issued instructions for Preserving Email of Departing Senior Officials (view memo p.13 pdf)
September 15, 2014: NARA Bulletin 2014-06 | All Agencies, Guidance on Managing Email
September 30, 2014: State/OIG Audit of the Information Security Program for Sensitive Compartmented Information Systems at the Department of State for FY 2014 (CLASSIFIED) aud-it-14-36.pdf
October 10, 2014: William Fischer, the Department of State agency records officer, sends message to NARA with a draft email policy to update State’s Foreign Affairs Manual (5 FAM 447). Requests for limited distribution within NARA to those “with equities in this issue.” (View email in pdf)
October 30, 2014: Memo to the Field (All Diplomatic and Consular Posts) from Under Secretary for Management, Patrick F. Kennedy re: State Department Records Responsibilities and Policy, October 30, 2014
November 4, 2014: Jason Leopold submits a FOIA request for “any and all records that were prepared, received, transmitted, collected and/or maintained by the Department of State (DOS) mentioning or referring to or prepared by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or any member of the Office of the Secretary (S) from January 21, 2009 to February 1, 2013.” (source here- pdf).
November 07, 2014: State/OIG posts online Audit of Department of State Information Security Program | aud-it-15-17.pdf
November 2014: The Benghazi committee asks the State Department for a larger batch of Clinton’s emails and receives about 300 that relate to the Libya saga, amounting to 850 printed pages (Source: Washington Examiner)
December 5, 2014: Clinton’s aide Cheryl Mills says that in response to a request from the State Department, they have handed over (about 55,000 pages) her work-related emails (comprising 30,490 messages); Response to Under Secretary of State for Management, Patrick F. Kennedy from Hilary Clinton’s representative, Cheryl Mills re: the Federal Records Act of 1950, December 5, 2014
December 29, 2014: Updates to Foreign Affairs Manual 5 FAM 440 Electronic Records, Facsimile Records, and Electronic Mail Records published with the following notation: “In October, 2014, the Department issued an interim directive superseding some text in this section. This subchapter will be revised to reflect the new guidance – Refer to Department Notice 2014_10_115 for more information.” (View pdf, department notice available here.)
January 25, 2015: Leopold v. State Department (view lawsuit here- pdf).
February 13, 2015 – The State Department sends the Benghazi committee another 850 pages of Clinton’s emails, including some from two different accounts on the private ‘clintonemail.com’ server (Source: Washington Examiner)
February 27, 2015 – State Department staffers tell Benghazi committee aides that Clinton had used her private address exclusively during her tenure at the agency, and that they don’t have any of her emails other than those she provided voluntarily. (Source: Washington Examiner)
February 27, 2015: Mike Schmidt, reporter with The New York Times contacts NARA General Counsel requesting off the record chat on regulations for government employees who use their personal email addresses to conduct government business. Gary Stern tells his boss “I am happy to talk to him about what the law is (there are no regulations at this time).” (View email here)
March 2, 2015: NYTimes broke the news that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state.
March 2, 2015: NARA Legal Counsel talks to State Department Deputy Legal Advisor on the use of personal email accounts (View email from NARA Records Officer Wester to State/DAS Margaret P. Grafeld)
March 3, 2015: NARA Acting IG asks NARA: “[W]ho is the NARA liaison with the State department for records management? Were we aware the gov email system was not being used by Ms Clinton. If we were not aware why not. What checks and balances do we have in place to ensure the gov email systems are being used. (View email)
March 4, 2015: Clinton tweeted, “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.”
March 6, 2015: Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said the Foreign Affairs Manual was a department document and didn’t carry the force of law. She also said a memo to diplomatic staff around the word bearing Mrs. Clinton’s name and discouraging the use of personal emails was “colloquial guidance,” not a mandate. (Via Wall Street Journal)
March 10, 2015: Clinton holds a presscon at the UN, admits that she deleted more than 30,000 emails that she says were personal in nature, says she turned over everything work-related to the State Department, while insisting that “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email.” (Ex-Chief Information-Disclosure Guru on Hillary’s Email Defense and the Folks Asleep at the Switch; Former Secretary Clinton talks about her
state.gov private emails)
March 10, 2015: “I don’t have the FAM in front of me. I can certainly check and see if there were certain policies, if there were regulations. The FAM is not a regulation; it’s recommendations,” said Jennifer Psaki, State Department Spokesman during the Daily Press Briefing. NewsFlash: “The FAM is not a regulation; it’s recommendations.” Hurry, DECLINE button over there!
March 11, 2015: The Associated Press sues the State Department to force the release of Clinton’s emails and other documents that the agency has failed to turn over following a Freedom Of Information Act request. The legal action comes after repeated requests filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act have gone unfulfilled. They include one request the AP says it made five years ago and others pending since the summer of 2013.
March 12, 2015: Senators Burr, Corker, Johnson sends a letter to State/OIG to coordinate “with the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community, and any other appropriate Federal entities, conduct a thorough audit related to electronic communications by State Department employees, including former senior officials, that were principally carried out on non-government-owned, or non-government-protected, information networks.” (View letter here via freebeacon.com).
April 12, 2015: The former secretary of state announced her second presidential campaign in a video released online. (Video)
May 18, 2015: Leopold v. State Department – Court Declaration of State Depart FOIA official John F. Hackett (view in pdf)
May 21, 2015: The Department releases a set of 296 of Clinton documents which previously had been provided in February 2015 to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. May Release via foia.state.gov. This is the first batch of Clinton’s emails made public by the State Department; roughly 850 pages, captures concerns over Libya (Via NYTimes).
May 27, 2015: U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras set particular targets for the State Department to meet each month as it wades through the roughly 30,000 emails totaling about 55,000 pages. (The percentages set for each disclosure can be viewed in the judge’s written order, posted here.) Scheduled every 30 days, setting monthly targets for State so the work is completed by January 29, 2016 (Via Politico).
May 29, 2015: State Department updates its Foreign Affairs Manual 5 FAM 480 CLASSIFYING AND DECLASSIFYING NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION—EXECUTIVE ORDER 13526
June 2015: State Department releases more emails. June Release via foia.state.gov
June 25, 2015: State Department updates 12 FAM 530 STORING AND SAFEGUARDING CLASSIFIED MATERIAL
June-July 2015: | Potential Issues Identified by the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Concerning the Department of State’s Process for the Review of Former Secretary Clinton’s Emails under the Freedom of Information Act (pdf)
July 23, 2015: Charles McCullough, the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community tells members of Congress in a letter that a limited sampling of 40 Clinton emails turned up four that “should have been marked and handled at the SECRET level.” (View memo here via Politico)
July 24, 2015: Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for the inspector general for the Intelligence Community, told NPR’s Carrie Johnson that at least four emails that were sent through Clinton’s private email network “were classified when they were sent and are classified now.”
July 25, 2015: “I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” Clinton told reporters in Winterset, Iowa, after news emerged this week that a federal watchdog had asked the FBI to review whether potentially classified material in her e-mails had been jeopardized during a State Department review of the messages ahead of public release. (Via Bloomberg).
July 27, 2015: Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy announced the State Department’s pledged to produce 5,000 new pages of documents to the Committee. As a result of the forthcoming production, the Chairman accepted Mr. Finer’s request to postpone the compliance hearing. (see State Dept to Release 5,000 Pages to Benghazi Panel, No Hearing With Kerry Top Aide For Now)
July 27, 2015: The State Department issues enhanced guidance for speaking, writing, teaching and media engagement for its employees, retirees, externs, interns and others. The clearance requirement covers testimony provided in Congress even in an employee’s private capacity. See State Dept Releases New 3 FAM 4170 aka: The “Stop The Next Peter Van Buren” Regulation
July 31, 2015: The second installment of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, released Friday by the State Department, includes 41 messages that reviewers determined contained classified material. (Via Daily Mail).
July 2015: State Department releases more emails. July Release via foia.state.gov
August 7, 2015: According to Nick Merrill, a Clinton press secretary, “She did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time.” (Observer.com)
August 10, 2015: Clinton makes court declaration under penalty of perjury per request from U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. (Via Politico) “While I do not know what information may be ‘responsive’ for purposes of this law suit, I have directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody, that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done,” wrote Clinton (view declaration here).
August 11, 2015: McCullough updates his statement to Congress on classified materials on personal electronic storage devices, saying that Clinton emails reviewed contains information classified up to TOP SECRET//SI/TK//NOFORM. (See pdf file here)
August 12, 2015: Server was transferred to the FBI by Platte River Networks, a Denver firm hired by Clinton (via Associated Press)
August 13, 2015: Gawker Media has previously requested the release of emails belonging to Philippe Reines, the loyal Hillary Clinton aide and former deputy assistant secretary of state. The department claimed that “no records responsive to your request were located.” On August 13, lawyers for the U.S. Attorney General submitted a court-ordered status report to the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia in which it disclosed that State employees had discovered “5.5 gigabytes of data containing 81,159 emails of varying length” that were sent or received by Reines during his government tenure. Of those emails, the attorneys added, “an estimated 17,855” were likely responsive to Gawker’s request (See status report for the court via Gawker).
August 17, 2015: Screeners of the 30,000 Hillary Clinton e-mail messages ordered released by a federal judge in May have flagged 305 of those documents for further review by U.S. intelligence agencies, government lawyers said in court papers. (via Bloomberg)
August 17, 2015: Clinton told reporter Clay Masters with Iowa Public Radio what she thinks will come of her controversial decision to exclusively use private email while secretary of state. “I think this will all sort itself out,” Clinton said. “And in a way, it’s kind of an interesting insight into how the government operates. Because if I had not asked for my emails all to be made public, none of this would have been in the public arena. But I want people to know what we did, I’m proud of the four years I was secretary of state.” (Via Politifact)
August 19, 2015: An email from a top Clinton adviser containing classified military intelligence information, and one from a top aide containing classified information about the Benghazi terror attack, were reportedly the documents that kick-started the FBI investigation into the mishandling of classified information. See the two of the Benghazi-related emails on the server (Via Fox News)
August 20, 2015: U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan orders the State Department to work with the FBI to determine if any of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her server during her tenure as secretary of state could be recovered. The State Department has 30 days to comply with Sullivan’s order. (Via Fox News) At a hearing for a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department, Judge Sullivan of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, said that “we wouldn’t be here today if the employee had followed government policy.” (Via NYTimes)
August 21, 2015: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest (Via Reuters)
August 21, 2015: Clinton attorney David Kendall writes a letter to U/S for Management Patrick Kennedy and explains how, contrary to a Judge Emmet D. Sullivan’s s comment this week, her use of personal email was permitted under the NARA, FRA and FAM guidelines in place at the time she served. (letter here via ScribD)
August 21, 2015: The lawyer for Huma Abedin, a longtime confidante of Hillary Rodham Clinton, wrote a letter to the State Department disputing concerns that Senator Charles E. Grassley raised about a possible conflict of interest involving her. (read the letter via NYTimes)
August 24, 2015: State Dept. Spokesman John Kirby Tells CNN: “At The Time, When She Was Secretary Of State, There Was No Prohibition To Her Use Of A Private Email”
Sigh … to be continued
October 22, 2015: Clinton is scheduled to appear before the Select Committee on Benghazi.
P.S. For obvious reasons, the slugfeast ring for this post is disabled.