Some 90 people, including lobbyists for foreign governments, lawmakers, top Obama aides and State Department employees, communicated directly with Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state using her personal email address, according to a McClatchy review of thousands of her recently released emails.
Many people said they were surprised when it was revealed in the spring that Clinton relied on a private email account on a private server in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home to conduct official business during her four years as Obama’s secretary of state. But the review of emails shows influential people in Washington and around the globe not only knew she used a personal account, but corresponded with her on that personal account.
Jeffrey Farrow, a lobbyist for the nation of Palau, exchanged several emails with Clinton between June and October 2009 about U.S. aid and the transfer of Chinese Muslims from the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay to the sparsely populated island. Laurie Rubiner, vice president of public policy and advocacy for Planned Parenthood, asked Clinton in July 2009 to discuss abortion during an upcoming trip to Kenya. Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister, repeatedly urged Clinton in September 2009 to meet with her friend, Sheikha Mozah, the second wife of the then emir of Qatar.
All the best to you its fantastic to see you doing so well and when I see what a difference you are making it reminds me why politics is too important to be left to the bad people,
Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister in a 2009 email
And dozens and dozens of State Department employees used Clinton’s private email account to address a host of international issues, from a coup in Honduras and the draw down in Afghanistan to a conflict on the Azerbaijan border to security in Libya.
Revelations that her emails included classified ‘top secret’ information, more sensitive than previously known, has drawn new scrutiny to her emails and the eclectic array of people who sent her emails or received them from her. Still, they may not have known she exclusively used a personal account for business or that she used her own server. Some may not have even noticed her address was not carry the usual state.gov address.
Her use of a private system has become the focus of multiple inquiries by the FBI, a pair of inspectors general and Congress, prompting questions about her judgment and motive for actions that potentially led to national security risks. Several groups also have filed suit seeking access to the emails.
The issue has already harmed the Democratic presidential front-runner’s standing in polls, where more and more voters say Clinton is not trustworthy, in part, because of the email controversy. Seeking to halt further damage, Clinton announced Tuesday that she would turn over the server to the Justice Department after months of resistance.
Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, called Clinton’s decision to use personal email “terrible” for national security, transparency and records retention reasons. “I can’t believe someone didn’t say something to her,” she said. “This seems so obvious.”
In total, 86 people sent or received emails using Clinton’s private account, or were copied on an email to or from her personal address, according to a review by McClatchy of the 6,148 pages Clinton emails released by the State Department in May, June and July.
P.J. Crowley, a former State Department spokesman under Clinton who emailed her in November 2009 about the media attention she received on a trip to Kabul, said in an interview that he began receiving emails from her soon after he began working at the department. At some point, he said, he noticed they came from a personal address but he did not think much of it. Most of his interaction, he said, was in person and not by email. “I never thought about it,” he said.
McClatchy contacted nearly two dozen other people who emailed directly with Clinton. Most did not respond or declined to comment. The campaign has not responded to numerous questions about her email.
In most cases, her top aides, Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chiefs of Staff Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, forwarded emails to her. In some instances, she asks them for someone’s email address at the State Department, which are not easily available because she is not using the same system as them. Other times, they ask her if they can give out her address to people, such as then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who wanted to contact her.
Farrow, former lobbyist for Palau and now chairman of communications firm The Oliver Group, said in an interview he obtained Clinton’s email address when he worked for her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. He said he did not know she was using a personal account for work or that she had a private server.
He said the emails are getting more attention than they should because of her White House run. “I think she’s answered these questions,” he said. “My own view is that this is a political issue and not a substantive issue.”
Many of the emails are quick hellos, invitations to events or brief words of encourage. There’s even a series of emails from her interior designer about coffee tables and desks. But others are about significant policy issues she faced as secretary of state.
Michael Fuchs, special adviser to the secretary of state for strategic dialogues, corresponded with her in November 2009 about whether Britain lost more soldiers in the Falklands than in Afghanistan. Miguel Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary for Senate affairs, wrote that same month about the Senate moving one step closer to passing the Affordable Care Act, saying the latest “vote was followed by brief applause.” Former ambassador Joe Wilson, whose wife was improperly exposed as a CIA officer, wrote to her about scheduling a meeting.
If I were the God of development assistance I would do only one thing: give all the money to the women and then sit back and watch them drive African economies forward. I hope you succeed in pushing the world in that direction. I don't know of a more forceful and qualified advocate,
former ambassador Joe Wilson in a 2009 email
Clinton’s most frequent contact outside the State Department was longtime friend and adviser Sidney Blumenthal. The two exchanged more than 120 email on topics ranging from Benghazi to British politics and Iran to the European Union. He sent Clinton news articles, wrote to her about meetings he had with influential European officials and sent her ideas for speeches.
In a November 2009 email, he sent her notes on a speech she was preparing to give in Berlin, which Clinton then forwarded to her staff. “The themes I stress are these: the importance of Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate as symbols of freedom; the weight of history (always felt by Germans); the contribution of the US and the salience of the Western alliance; the meaning of 1989 to today and especially the continuity of the Western alliance; and segue from past to future,” he wrote.
She corresponded with top Obama officials, including Emmanuel, Obama Senior Adviser David Axelrod and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Axelrod, who did not respond to a message, told MSNBC in June he was unaware Clinton conducted business from a private server.
“I was there, I was the senior adviser. I didn't know that,” he said on Morning Joe. Had he known, he said, he would have made an inquiry. “I might have asked a few questions,” he said.
Later, in July after his emails were released, he told MSNBC that he knew Clinton used a personal email account, but did not know she had a private server.
President Barack Obama has said he learned about the situation after it was reported in the media, though he and his former Cabinet secretary did email. No emails between Obama and Clinton showed up in the released documents.
The president did email with Secretary Clinton. I assume that he recognized the email address that he was emailing back to,
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said
Clinton has turned over 30,490 work emails to the State Department in response to a request from the agency, but said that she deleted another 31,830 personal emails. The State Department determined more than 1,200 emails that she turned over were personal and would not be released.
The State Department has begun to release her emails in chronological order each month in response to a lawsuit over an unanswered public records request. So far, it has made public about 12 percent of the 55,000 pages of emails, which falls short of the 15 percent goal set by the court. The department attributes the delay to a review of the emails first by the Intelligence Community Inspector General over potentially classified information. The next batch will be released at the end of August.
Clinton has said that she regrets using a personal email account for business but said she did so only as a matter of “convenience.” She said she did not send or receive classified information.
White Press Secretary Josh Earnest has said that “the administration has given guidance to all of our employees that they should use their official email address when they’re conducting official government work.”
She said that the use of personal email by State Department employees was permitted at the time, but State Department and White House officials decline to say whether she sought or received prior approval from anyone or whether anyone objected to it later.
“There are different rules governing the White House than there are governing the rest of the executive branch,” Clinton said in the spring.
At various times, regulations have discouraged the use of personal email for government business. But the National Archives permits the use of personal email for government business, but mandates that records must be kept. Clinton said she deleted her personal emails before turning over what she said were the emails connected to State Department business.
“This whole story is going to be a tremendous learning experience for government officials now and the future,” said Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, and is an expert on – and prominent critic of – government secrecy. “It’s an education for everyone.”
Here is a list of the 86 people who had Hillary Clinton’s personal email address, according to the emails that have so far been released.
Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff
Caroline Adler, director of the office of strategic communications at the state department
Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state
David Axelrod, senior advisor to President Obama
Daniel Baer, deputy assistant secretary of state for the bureau of democracy, human rights and labor
Kris Balderston, special representative for global partnerships
William S. Barrett,
Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister
Sidney Blumenthal, longtime friend and advisor to the Clintons. Worked in Bill Clinton white house and on failed 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
Sandy Berger, chairman of Albright Stonebridge Group and former national security advisor
William Burns, undersecretary for political affairs
Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for east Asian and public affairs
Lisa Caputo, executive vice president of global marketing and corporate affairs at Citigroup
Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for African affairs
Claire Coleman, assistant
Derek Chollet, principal deputy director of policy planning
Justin Cooper, Bill Clinton aide
P.J. Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs
Linda Dewan, Clinton’s scheduler
Thomas Donilon, deputy national security advisor to President Barack Obama
Terry Duffy, executive director at CME Group
Voda “Betsy” Ebeling, childhood friend of Clinton
Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff to
Jeffrey Farrow, lobbyist for Palau
Lee Feinstein, senior advisor in the office of the secretary of state
Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of state for near east affairs
Oscar Flores, Clinton aide
Tina Flournoy, Bill Clinton chief of staff
Michael Fuchs, special advisor to the secretary of state for strategic dialogues
David Garten, legislative aide to Sen. Frank Lautenberg
Bob Gates, former secretary of defense
Gina Glantz, political strategist and Democratic campaign manager
Philip Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs
Scott Gration, Unites States special envoy for Sudan
Brian Greenspun, Editor of the Las Vegas Sun
Monica Hanley, Clinton aide at the state department
Doug Hattaway, President and CEO of Hattaway Communications
Christopher Hill, ambassador to Iraq
Richard Holbrooke, United States special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan
Robert Hormats, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment
Rosemarie Howe, Clinton’s interior decorator
Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s special assistant
Paul Jones, deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in the Philippines
Craig Kelly, principal deputy assistant secretary of state
Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary for management
Karen Persichilli Keogh, director of New York operations for Clinton while she was in the Senate
Harold Hongju Koh, legal advisor of the State Department
Donald Lococo, architect
Jacob Lew, deputy secretary of state for management and resources
Capricia Marshall, chief of protocol of the United States
Judith McHale, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs
Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff
Mike (no last name of identification)
Barbara Mikulski, Maryland senator
George Mitchell, United States special envoy for Middle East peace
Lissa Muscatine, senior advisor and chief of speechwriting
Jackie Newmyer, president Long Term Strategy Group
Victoria Nuland, Clinton spokeswoman
Nancy Parrish, co-chair and CEO of Protect Our Defenders
Jan Piercy, executive vice president SBI Corporation
John Podesta, longtime Clinton friend and advisor
Colin Powell, former secretary of state
Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state
Miguel Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary for senate affairs
Laurie Rubiner, vice president of public policy and advocacy for Planned Parenthood
Robert Russo, Clinton’s special assistant
Daniel Schwerin, speechwriter
Thomas Shannon, ambassador to Brazil
Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs
Wendy Sherman, vice chair Albright Stonebridge Group
Anne-Marie Slaughter, director of policy planning at the State Department
Rick Sloan, communications director for the international association of machinists and aerospace workers
James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state
Todd Stern, special envoy for climate change
Burns Strider, political consultant
Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and director of policy planning
Adrian Talbott, director of CGI Lead at the Clinton Global Initiative
Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution
Neera Tanden, senior health advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, now president of Center for American Progress
Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs
Nora Toiv, special assistant to the counselor, state department
Marty Torrey, chief of staff to Rep. John Sweeney
Lona Valmoro, Clinton scheduler
Richard Verma, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs
Melanie Verveer, ambassador at large for global women’s issues
Joseph Wilson, Symbion Power advisory board
Source: State Department