Rules Against Personal Email Cited, Reinforced During Hillary Clinton’s Tenure at State Dept.


The Hillary Clinton email scandal refuses to go away. New revelations about the rules and regulations in place during her tenure in office will seemingly make it harder to explain her choice to run a private email server from her home in New York rather than using a government account.

Thursday afternoon Politico ran a story highlighting the portion of the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual that covers electronic communication over the internet. Section 544.3 states: “The Department is expected to provide, and employees are expected to use, approved secure methods to transmit SBU information when available and practical.” The purpose of this rule is spelled out a few subsections later. “SBU information resident on personally owned computers connected to the Internet is generally more susceptible to cyber attacks and/or compromise than information on government owned computers connected to the Internet,” the FAM states. According to Politico, these clear guidelines were in place at the State Department since 2005.

Even worse than the general guidelines, Fox News’s Catherine Herridge has uncovered a State Department cable dated 2011 which cites the same section of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM 544.3) and reminds employees to “avoid conducting official Department from your personal e-mail accounts.” The cable is signed (electronically) by Secretary Clinton. Her signature does not mean that she personally saw the cable, but it does demonstrate that the policy was cited and reinforced during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Finally, it’s worth adding that the State Department Inspector General cited the same section of the Foreign Affairs Manual in his criticism of the Ambassador to Kenya in 2012. As Breitbart News reported earlier, one of the key findings in the report was that the ambassador (who resigned) had set up his own private email account and refused to use the one provided for him by the State Department. The IG report suggested the ambassador’s use of private email exposed his work to risk of data loss and did not properly insure his email was archived.

Secretary Clinton stepped down from her job in February 2013. An earlier report by the NY Times indicated that Clinton used a personal email system, run from her house in New York, for all of her correspondence as Secretary of State.