Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted Tuesday that she discarded tens of thousands of emails from a private server kept at her New York home.
In her first extended public remarks about her exclusive use of a personal email account to conduct government business, Clinton was adamant that she complied with all applicable rules and said she went ldquoabove and beyondrdquo by handing over some 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department.
But her admission that she did not turn over roughly half the messages in her private account and will not submit them to independent scrutiny will likely fan the controversy.
ldquoAt the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emailsmdashemails about planning Chelsea#8217s wedding or my mother#8217s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes,rdquo Clinton said, saying attorneys she paid categorized the correspondence.
ldquoThey were personal and private,rdquo she added. ldquoThey had nothing to do with work. I didnrsquot see any reason to keep them.rdquo
Under fire from pundits and political critics, Clinton called the unusual press conferencemdashthe most significant since she left officemdashto defend herself.
The former Secretary of State said that when she began the job, she made the decision to use her private address as a matter of ldquoconvenience.rdquo She noted the ldquovast majorityrdquo of her work emails were sent to government employees on their official work accounts, and as a result, those messages are preserved and archived as public records on the other end.
ldquoI thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and personal emails instead of two,rdquo she said. ldquoLooking back,rdquo she added, ldquoit might have been smarter to have two devices from the very beginning.rdquo
Read more: Transcript of Hillary Clinton#8217s remarks at the press conference
The State Department said Tuesday that it is reviewing by hand 55,000 pages of emails supplied by Clinton. The Department will release emails from that cache on a publicly accessible website once it redacts information not covered by the Freedom of Information Act. The process is expected to take several months.
Clinton argued that when the State Department releases her messages, the American people would benefit from an inside view into her work. ldquoI feel like once the American public begins to see the emails, they will have an unprecedented insight into a high government official#8217s daily communications, which I think will be quite interesting,rdquo Clinton said.
But by deleting the private messages, Clinton has made it difficult, if not impossible, to verify whether there were any politically or personally sensitive matters she declined to turn over to State. ldquoThe server will remain private,rdquo she said, when asked if she would make it available for independent review.