State Dep't Believes Clinton Has Handed in All Her Work Emails Because Her Staff Says So

By Susan Jones | March 5, 2015 | 8:12am EST

In this Jan. 23, 2013 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP File Photo)

( - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her personal email account -- reportedly on her own private server -- to conduct all her official government business, but don't worry, the State Department assumes she's now handed in every one of her work-related emails -- because her staff says so.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was asked at Wednesday's briefing if she is "pretty confident" that all of Clinton's work emails from her personal account are now in the State Department's possession.

"What I'm saying is, her staff has stated that anything related to her work has been given to the State Department," Harf said.

"And you have no reason to doubt that," the reporter followed up.

"Exactly," Harf replied. "But you know, this is obviously a confirmation her staff has to make."

Official government records must be preserved, in accordance with the Federal Records Act, but the White House says it's up to each agency to set the rules for how those official records are managed.

Harf said there was no State Department prohibition on Clinton using her personal email account to conduct official business while she was secretary of state; nor is there any such prohibition now. Harf also said there was no requirement that Clinton turn over those emails for preservation by the State Department within a certain time-frame.

Clinton has now turned over 55,000 documents from her personal email account, the "vast majority" of them either to or from email addresses, Harf said.

"Those 55,000 documents, which her staff has said is anything related to her work, was turned over. So her staff has said that is everything. It has now been given to the State Department and are part of the permanent record."

Although Clinton could have used both a classified and an unclassified email address at the State Department, she never did:

According to Harf, "she had other ways of communicating through classified email through her assistants or her staff, with people, when she needed to use a classified setting."

Over at the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest admitted that the "security question is one that we're very mindful of."

He noted that there is a separate email system for handling classified information: "So this question about classified information being passed around on these kinds of email systems, that is certainly not supposed to occur and, frankly, raises much more significant problems than compliance with the Federal Records Act."

Earnest insisted that the White House takes cyber security "very seriously."

But he also told reporters that he had not discussed the Hillary Clinton email situation with President Obama as of Wednesday:

"What is the president's view of this?" a reporter asked Earnest. 

"Well, I did have the opportunity to talk to him a couple times yesterday, but I didn't talk to him about this," Earnest said.

"You didn't bring this up?" the reporter asked.

"I did not bring it up," he repeated.

Earnest said it is the "responsibility of every agency, to decide and to figure out what the guidelines should be and to ensure that all the employees at that agency are in compliance with the Federal Records Act. And that was true at the Department of State, as well."

The House Select Committee on Benghazi has expressed concern about "transparency"-- what Clinton may be hiding by using her personal email account to conduct official government business.

On Wednesday, the committee issued subpoenas for "all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation."

Clinton tweeted late Wednesday night that she wants all her emails released. According to the Associated Press, "She asked the State Department to vet the 55,000-plus pages she handed over, leaving the diplomatic agency with the intensely politicized task of determining which can be made public."

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