Hillary was at the University of Miami participating in CGIU today.
President Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton Conclude Eighth Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting with 700 New Student Commitments to Action
Commitments made by more than 1,000 Millennials from around the world include efforts to increase girls and women’s inclusion in STEM fields; improve access to clean water in developing nations; provide rural communities with affordable sources of renewable energy; and increase nutritional options in food deserts
Throughout the weekend, college students joined experts, entrepreneurs, and civically engaged celebrities such as Masha Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot; Aloe Blacc, Grammy nominated artist; Abigail Disney, Filmmaker, Fork Films; Paul Farmer, Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Partners In Health and Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard Medical School; America Ferrera, Actor, Producer, Activist; Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Founder of Women Journalists Without Chains; Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health and Edutainer, Karolinska Institute and Founder, Gapminder Foundation; University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services; Larry Wilmore, Host, Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”
MIAMI – President Bill Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton this weekend hosted the eighth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). More than 1,000 students, representing more than 300 schools and over 75 countries, came together at the University of Miami to make 700 Commitments to Action: new, specific and measurable plans to address pressing challenges facing campuses and communities around the world.
Throughout the weekend, students joined a variety of innovators, thought-leaders, and civically engaged celebrities to make a difference in CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. In total, since CGI U’s first meeting in 2008, students have made over 5,500 Commitments to Action.
“You must never doubt that you can make a difference,” said President Clinton. “If you add up the collective endeavors represented by the potential in this room, it would move the world.”
“I was already inspired before CGI U, but I leave even more inspired having met so many of you and learning about your 700 new Commitments to Action,” said Chelsea Clinton. “So often young people are viewed as future leaders instead of leaders today. You have demonstrated that’s not the case and I cannot wait to see where your commitments go.”
During the Closing Plenary, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton previewed Monday’s official release of the No Ceilings Full Participation Report by the Clinton Foundation and Gates Foundation. “Full and equal participation is in everyone’s best interest. Men, women, boys, girls. Because when everyone has the opportunity to lift him or herself up, that benefits – not just the individual – but families, communities, countries and our world,” said Secretary Clinton.
Larry Wilmore, host of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” moderated a conversation with President Clinton, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, and Paul Farmer, Co-founder and Chief Strategist, Partners In Health, Kolokotrones University Professor, Harvard Medical School.
Chelsea Clinton also revealed the winner of the CGI U 2015 Commitments Challenge, a national online competition of new commitment ideas from college and university students in the form of a “bracket.” The competition began on February 23, during which students received donations from supporters around the world through CrowdRise. In total, students raised more than $25,300 for their commitments. The winning commitment is Hope of Guinea Community Center by Oumou Diallo, Jacqueline Bell, and Luis Alejandro of Towson University which raised over $7,600. More than 1,000 people participated or donated throughout the Commitments Challenge.
In the lead up to the CGI U meeting, on March 5 and 6, students had the opportunity to participate in the Clinton Foundation Codeathon. The Codeathon, supported in part by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, challenged developers and designers to build unique digital prototypes inspired by CGI U Commitments to Action in several of the CGI U focus areas. After the teams presented their prototypes to a panel of expert judges, Chelsea Clinton announced the winner during the Closing Plenary. The winning team, MathMagic, created an interactive network to connect students with tutors and fellow mentoring peers using a game-like interface to create a friendly experience conducive for math exploration outside of the classroom. The winning team members include Joshua Beauplan, Rachel Anderson, Clare Tsao, Juan Dominguez, as well as the featured commitment-makers, Drew Spooner and Alex Koppy.
This year, through the CGI University Network, the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge, and other opportunities, more than $900,000 in funding opportunities were made available to select CGI U 2015 students to help them turn their ideas into action.
Support for CGI U 2015 is generously provided by: Knight Foundation; Laureate International Universities; Andy Nahas and the Prospect Fund; Peter G. Peterson Foundation; and the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation.
Tomorrow, President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton will host a Clinton Foundation “Day of Action,” a day of volunteering in partnership with the Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI) in Liberty City. CGI U students and members of the CGI community will work on neighborhood and school improvement projects ranging from urban agriculture to revitalizing basketball courts and painting murals. The Day of Action will begin with remarks by President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, and student volunteers will be joined by members of the Miami Dolphins and Shane Battier, NBA Champion with the Miami Heat & Founder of The Battier Take Charge Foundation.
The following new commitments and progress reports were announced in CGI U 2015 plenary sessions:
GRID – Gaming Revolution for International Development (CGI U 2014)
Commitment by: Mariam Adil; Caroline Bailey; Muhammad Abdul-Rahim
School: George Washington University, University of Washington
In 2014, Mariam Adil, Caroline Baily, and Muhammad Abdul-Rahim launched “GRID – Gaming Revolution for International Development,” a series of video games that encourage global citizenship and break social stereotypes. Since launching, the game has been played by 300+ policy makers in World Bank workshops in Seoul and Dhaka. The game focuses on addressing political, ethical and resource constraints faced in design and impact evaluation (randomized control trials) for education projects.
The Lucky Iron Fish (CGI U 2014)
Commitment by: Gavin Armstrong
School: University of Guelph
In 2014, Gavin Armstrong created the Lucky Iron Fish, a simple health innovation tool to combat iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia. By cooking with this iron ingot for 10 minutes (in 1L of water), the iron fish can release up to 75% of an individual’s daily required iron intake. Having exceeded his original goal of 10,000 Cambodian families reached, Gavin aims to scale up the operations of the Lucky Iron Fish, providing a fish to 50,000 families in Cambodia while also increasing the organization’s employment to 150 disadvantaged individuals.
School Pantry Program Pilot in Phoenix (CGI U 2014)
Commitment by: Kimberly Roland
School: Arizona State University
In 2014, Kimberly Roland committed to pilot the School Pantry Program in Phoenix, AZ, which works to provide children and their families with a safe space where they can shop for free emergency food products that are nutritional, and where they can access resources such as SNAP assistance, nutrition education, health tips, and budgeting ideas. Since March 2014, Kimberly successfully piloted the program at two sites and was able to provide more than 50,000 pounds of food to the Phoenix community.
Haiti Forest Restoration Initiative: Promoting Economic and Ecological Sustainability in Paraison, Haiti (CGI U 2014)
Commitment by: David Carroll, Fritz Gerald Fevrier
School: LDS Business College
In 2014, David Carroll and Fritz Gerald Fevrier committed to promote ecological sustainability in Paraison, Haiti through the cultivation of seedlings, which will be transplanted onto community member lands. Moreover, by engaging the community on the problems of deforestation, David and Fritz hope this commitment will help to establish a culture of sustainability in the region.
Immunization Alerts for Palestinian and Syrian Refugees (CGI U 2014)
Commitment by: Jordan Schermerhorn, Cherie Fathy, Batoul Abuharb
School: Duke University
In 2014, Jordan Schermerhorn, Cherie Fathy, and Batoul Abuharb committed to implement SMS-based immunization appointment reminders in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories. These reminders prompt patients to return to care after up to six months without vaccinations. In cooperation with the UN, the team has issued more than 2,000 SMS immunization reminders, ensuring that communities in refugee camps in the region are heathier.
FreshSpire: A Mobile App Targeting Food Waste and Decreasing Food Insecurity (CGI U 2015)
Commitment by: Mona Amin, Gabrielle Beaudry, Jennifer Wu
Schools: East Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania
In 2015, Mona Amin, Gabrielle Beaudry, and Jennifer Wu committed to discourage food waste and encourage healthier produce purchasing at a lower cost through a mobile app. The app, called FreshSpire, is a multi-faceted system designed to increase communication between grocery stores and consumers through a mobile text notification system and application that provides users with a newsfeed of grocery store discounts. The mobile application also offers customers a calendar that can be customized to include expiration dates on items within the user’s household.
Tailored Approaches to Sustainable Clean Water: Biosand Filters in El Cortez (CGI U 2015)
Commitment by: Kevin Inks, Aniket Patel, Annie Zhang
School: Ohio State University
In 2015, Kevin Inks, Aniket Patel, and Annie Zhang committed to quantify impact, identify socio-cultural barriers, and develop sustainable implementation strategies regarding clean water in San Salvador. Through The Pure Water Access Project (PWAP), a student run 501(c)3 nonprofit, they will provide strategic support to water-sector NGOs. PWAP will work with members of El Cortez, a gang-dominated community in San Salvador, to implement an individualized, data-driven solution to their local water/sanitation crisis. By partnering with a local NGO and other community members, they will use existing infrastructure to turn health into a community-wide point of pride.
Hope of Guinea Community Center (CGI U 2015)
Commitment by: Oumou Diallo, Jacqueline Bell, Luis Alejandro
School: Towson University
In 2015, Oumou Diallo, Jacqueline Bell, and Luis Alejandro committed to create a community center to address the lack of education, economic support, and health services for youth and adults in the impoverished town of Ratoma, Guinea. The team will provide residents with access to tutoring programs, resources for a community garden, physical education programs, and opportunities for community service. They will partner with Hope of Guinea to provide a safe environment and raise funds. They will also collect clothes and school supplies.
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The infinitely patient Ms. Marie Harf remounted the bucking email bronco today in the State Department press room. To her credit, she managed not to get thrown and will be signing up for riding lessons, so to speak. She is going to take an “FOIA class.”
Longtime readers here know that the raw story, with the actual words and exchanges when available, is the preferred medium for posts on this site as opposed to third party interpretations.
Deputy SpokespersonWashington, DC
March 6, 2015
QUESTION: All right. And can we get some more clarity on what exactly the Department is doing as part of its review into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails?
MS. HARF: Yes. We are doing a review of her emails for public release, as she asked us to do on Wednesday evening in the tweet I’m sure you all have now seen. We will use FOIA standards for the review. So the standards by which we process FOIA requests, we process documents to be released, those are the standards we will use for the review.
The initial press report that we’re doing an investigation of her emails for security reasons was not correct. It has since been changed to reflect that. Again, we will start that review for public release and work as quickly as we possibly can.
QUESTION: So will you be looking into whether any sensitive but unclassified – I mean, if you come across sensitive but unclassified material that was sent over a non-official email account, what will you do? Will you not report it? Will you report it? Will you —
MS. HARF: Well, I’m not going to speculate on what might happen in that situation. I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of the review for release of the 55,000 pages. Again, that will start soon and we’ll work as quickly as we can.
QUESTION: So yesterday a senior official said something similar about prejudging, but it implied that you’re not going to talk about whether she breached a provision because you don’t want to prejudge the outcome of the review. That would —
MS. HARF: Well, we just don’t know what’s in the emails yet.
QUESTION: But that would imply that your review would look into whether she did that or not, no?
MS. HARF: Well, no – well, no. Both things aren’t necessarily true. The review is for purposes of public release. So if someone sent in a FOIA request, if – I’m sure all of you have done this – there’s a process by which we review documents for public release. That looks, for example, at whether there’s things like personally identifying information that is not released under FOIA – social security numbers, for example; that’s just one example. Obviously, I’m not going to prejudge what might happen as a result of looking through these 55,000 emails to release them publicly. That is the purpose of the review. Those are the standards by which the review will be done.
QUESTION: But what is the normal protocol then if someone breaches the provision that you shouldn’t send sensitive but unclassified information via personal email?
MS. HARF: Well, again, the Foreign Affairs Manual, which I think you’re referring to, contains policies and procedures that provide guidance to Department employees. That is quite separate from the federal regulations. Those are just two different things, and I am just not going to speculate on – on those kinds of hypotheticals.
QUESTION: But you see how that’s problematic. You’re saying there is a possibility that if you come across this, nothing will happen, nothing will be said.
MS. HARF: I did not say that. I said I’m not going to speculate on what might happen.
QUESTION: But why aren’t there —
MS. HARF: I am not ruling anything out.
QUESTION: Why aren’t there policies in place for how to deal with this? It just seems like a pretty simple thing.
MS. HARF: Well, I think nothing about this issue is simple, as we’ve all learned in the past four days, and I’m not going to speculate on what would happen throughout the course of this process if that is, in fact, found. I’m just not going to speculate on that.
QUESTION: So there are no rules in place for potential breaches of this FAM provision?
MS. HARF: I can check and see. I haven’t seen any myself, Brad —
MS. HARF: — but I can check and see.
QUESTION: Marie —
MS. HARF: We’ll just go across the front row here.
QUESTION: Thanks. The other day you said you’d check to see what policies were in place while Clinton was in office that might forbid her from using a private email account. Have you had a check – a chance to review that policy?
MS. HARF: Well, no, as I said, there was nothing in place at the time that prohibited her from using a personal email account for official business as long as the records were eventually preserved. I said that three days ago.
QUESTION: Right. But as you are aware, there have been now IG reports and cables that have surfaced that state clearly in one case that State Department officials should, quote, “avoid conducting official department business from personal email accounts.”
MS. HARF: Well, let’s – let me talk through some of that.
QUESTION: And Scott Gration appears to have been reprimanded for using personal email.
MS. HARF: Let’s talk through that.
MS. HARF: So let’s talk through those issues because they’re a little bit different and I think you’re oversimplifying it. So let’s talk through them.
When it comes to former Ambassador Gration, he resigned his position, contrary to some press reports. The IG report I believe you’re citing also refers to that same FAM. We’re all talking about the same provision in the Foreign Affairs Manual which deals specifically with sensitive but unclassified information, not – it was not a general – not a general policy or guidance about email use in general. It refers to one specific kind of email use: sensitive but unclassified. That is the same FAM that is referenced in the cable. It is the same FAM that’s referenced in the IG report.
QUESTION: Yeah, I was going to ask a follow-up to the same question. I mean, is there anything here from the outset that she broke any rules as far as using her personal email?
MS. HARF: Well, again, I am not going to prejudge what’s in these given that we haven’t looked through them yet. The Foreign Affairs Manual is guidance or policies for State Department employees. It is not a federal regulation. It is different than that. And again, the FAM that we are all talking about, I think, refers specifically to one kind of information and personal email use, not to personal email use in general. As we’ve always said, it is permitted, but given that things need to be preserved.
QUESTION: I think the cable itself does not refer to that one specific FAM.
MS. HARF: It does. I’m looking at the cable right here, Reference A, 12 FAM 544.3.
QUESTION: Which refers to Letter F of that – sorry to get really arcane.
MS. HARF: No, I have the FAM in front of me too.
QUESTION: But that’s just an index of the referenced FAMs, and that has nothing to do with the other subpoints of the text.
MS. HARF: No, no. So let’s – two points – three points on the cable.
First, the cable references the FAM that deals with sensitive but unclassified information as – that is the FAM that deals with SBU information. I have it in front of me. I can —
QUESTION: Right. Referring to auto-forwarding, which is not what we’re talking about.
MS. HARF: No, no, no, no, no.
QUESTION: Why don’t you read it? Why don’t you read it?
MS. HARF: FAM – okay. Our Ohio State visitors, this is not usually what happens. (Laughter.)
FAM 544 – 12 FAM 544, starting with point one, point two, point three, that all refers specifically to sensitive but unclassified information. So that FAM deals with one kind of information, not with personal email use in general.
But more broadly speaking on the cable, this is – this cable is a guidance on best practices. It’s certainly not regulations. It was more couched – and if you look at it – what can you and your family members do? It’s more —
QUESTION: Regardless of whether it’s sensitive —
MS. HARF: Wait, can I finish and then you can follow up? No, no, let me finish and then you and follow up. It’s helpful tips for people when they’re talking about this issue, again referencing a FAM that deals entirely with SBU information.
QUESTION: So you’re saying that when it says to – “Beware emails with fake password links,” that’s only about sensitive but unclassified information?
MS. HARF: No, I’m saying two things —
QUESTION: When it says, “Create —
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: — “Create strong passwords,” that’s about sensitive but unclassified —
MS. HARF: Again, isn’t that – that’s guidance, Brad.
QUESTION: When it says, “Do not reveal your personal email address,” that’s only about sensitive but unclassified?
MS. HARF: No, I’m not – that’s not what I was saying.
QUESTION: This is general guidance, correct?
MS. HARF: I said – well, two things. Look, two things are true here. I think you’re saying that one of them has to be and the other can’t be.
QUESTION: No, I think it’s both.
MS. HARF: Two things are true here – one, that the only reference listed in this cable is the one we’re all talking about that refers to SBU information. But this cable in general is talking about – is guidance on best practices, colloquial guidance for people when it came to personal email. It also uses words like “encouraged to check,” “in general, avoid doing this.” So this is certainly not a regulation or a policy.
QUESTION: That’s fine, but has —
MS. HARF: But I think that context is important.
QUESTION: If it’s general guidance, do you accept the notion that the secretary, the former secretary, didn’t follow her own guidance on best practices?
MS. HARF: I don’t. I think that’s a oversimplification of what’s going on here. I understand there’s a cable that in general is – has some guidance and best practices in it, but I think drawing that conclusion is going a step too far.
QUESTION: If she had followed everything in here, would you have said that she had followed her best practice guidance?
MS. HARF: This isn’t her best practice —
QUESTION: Or would that be an oversimplification as well?
MS. HARF: Also, this isn’t her best practice guidance. Her name is at the bottom of the cable, as is practice for cables coming from Washington.
QUESTION: It was —
MS. HARF: Some people think she wrote it —
MS. HARF: — which is not accurate.
QUESTION: We know that, but —
MS. HARF: Well, not everyone knows that.
QUESTION: — it was her department, so —
MS. HARF: That is true.
QUESTION: — regardless of whether she wrote this herself or punched it into the keyboard herself or —
MS. HARF: Or some – right.
QUESTION: — her personal account herself, this was her department.
MS. HARF: But I feel the need to correct some misinformation.
QUESTION: Well, just to follow up —
MS. HARF: Yeah.
QUESTION: — because I was going to follow up on my question earlier, was Secretary Clinton at the time discouraged from using her own email given the knowledge that you had that this could cause issues?
MS. HARF: I just don’t have details on that.
QUESTION: On that kind of thing —
MS. HARF: I just don’t have details on that.
QUESTION: And you’re not suggesting that she wasn’t sensitive but unclassified information from her —
MS. HARF: I’m saying that we don’t know; we haven’t gone through the emails yet.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, she’s – she was the secretary of state. How could any reasonable —
MS. HARF: So you’re happy to assume what’s in those even though you haven’t seen them, Tristan?
QUESTION: I think it’s a fair assumption – 55,000 emails and she didn’t —
MS. HARF: Okay. Well, let’s talk after we go through them, and then we can have that conversation.
Indira, let’s move on.
QUESTION: So, Marie, on the same cable, a couple things. First of all, would you be willing to release that cable for us so that we could all see is?
MS. HARF: I think everyone can read it at foxnews.com if they’d like to. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Okay. And then specifically it refers in the text of it that we’ve seen —
QUESTION: Is that an endorsement? (Laughter.)
MS. HARF: That was in no way an endorsement. (Laughter.) (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: I didn’t know whether any of it was missing. I didn’t know whether any of it was missing or whether it’s complete.
MS. HARF: I actually —
QUESTION: I mean, I don’t know if it’s a complete account.
MS. HARF: Let me check.
QUESTION: But what —
MS. HARF: I don’t mean to be flip about it. Let me check.
QUESTION: What we’ve seen is that it refers to the risks of using personal email in light of Google’s Gmail hacking problems. And so that seems like that hacking problem would apply to anything, not just sensitive but unclassified information.
MS. HARF: Again, this is general guidance about personal email use. So I don’t have much more for you than that on this cable from 2011.
QUESTION: Okay. And then can you explain to us what – was there a particular issue that caused that to be issued other than the Google hacking issue? And then also in 2013 and 2014, was there some incident that precipitated the rules being strengthened, the regulations that we’ve talked about being strengthened?
MS. HARF: You’d have to check with NARA on that given – I think you’re referring to the NARA regulations from 2013 and 2014?
MS. HARF: I mean, you’d have to check with them. Not to my knowledge —
QUESTION: Nothing at State happened that caused you to strengthen those regulations?
MS. HARF: I have no idea. I’m happy to check.
QUESTION: Okay. Okay.
MS. HARF: This is – but to be fair, the – and those regulations I think you’re talking about in 2013, 2014, were about preservation, not about security. So that’s —
QUESTION: That’s right. It’s a separate thing.
MS. HARF: It’s a separate thing.
MS. HARF: And again, what we’ve talked about in this room is that the rules have been unclear when it came to preservation for some time. And I know NARA is constantly trying to update them to sort of keep pace with just the amount and sheer volume of email, for example, we use, and to keep up to speed on that. I – this cable, having read a lot of cables, looks fairly ordinary to me and doesn’t look particularly like it was prompted by anything. Not knowing the backstory, this sort of looks like, again, some helpful tips when you’re using personal email.
QUESTION: Okay. And then back to the question of security, since the State Department was aware from the start that Secretary Clinton was using her personal email, can you tell us, or if you don’t know, find out for us, State Department security internet folks you would think would either have gone to her house to look at her server or would have gone over with her passwords, what devices was she going to use this on. We had that whole thing about President Obama wanting to use a Blackberry. So the security of high-level U.S. officials using devices – on what devices was she going to use it. Can you please lay out for us what steps were taken to check that?
MS. HARF: I just don’t have any details for you on that. I know there are a lot of questions about that. As we get information —
QUESTION: Will you look into it?
MS. HARF: — we can share, we will. But I know there are a lot of questions in general about this, and as we get information we can share – I just don’t have anything for you on that.
QUESTION: Okay. Then, so specifically, if someone – if you could find out for us, take the question of did someone go to her house and look at her —
MS. HARF: Indira, this question has been asked for three days now, and I am happy to keep seeing what information we can share. I don’t have any information for you at this – on this – about that at this time.
QUESTION: So have you sought that information, just as —
MS. HARF: I always try to get answers to your questions.
QUESTION: No, not you. Has the Department sought that information from —
MS. HARF: From inside the Department?
QUESTION: From former Secretary Clinton. Questions on what her server was, did it have encryption – have these questions been asked of the former secretary?
MS. HARF: I’m just not going to have details on that for you.
QUESTION: Marie – I mean, along those lines of – was there a carve-out for Secretary Clinton at the time? I mean, if the State Department was —
MS. HARF: What do you mean, a carve-out?
QUESTION: Well, if the State Department was aware that she was using personal email for work purposes, did the State Department’s lawyers bless that? I mean, if this was all kosher, it sort of changes the entire conversation if the State Department lawyers said it was fine.
MS. HARF: Well, I don’t have details to answer that question either for you. We know what the federal regulations were at the time and are now – I just don’t have much more for you – beyond that for you.
QUESTION: But was – when she came to office – I mean, I think generally when a secretary comes in, her chief of staff or somebody on her staff would’ve been briefed on what those regulations are.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm, that’s certainly the case.
QUESTION: Did that happen in her case?
MS. HARF: I can check and see if there are details on that to share.
QUESTION: Well, I mean – and if you would, and if you would find out if there were any differences. I mean, she was an extraordinary person coming into this, a very different profile than other secretaries. I mean, were there special standards for her that there weren’t for previous secretaries given not only the changes in the technology, but she herself? I mean, if the White House had signed off on this, it would’ve been a different conversation today.
MS. HARF: I can check and see if there’s more to share for you on how those decisions were made at the time.
Any – what else on this? Elliot?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) different topic.
MS. HARF: Anything else on this?
QUESTION: No, same topic.
MS. HARF: Yes, Josh.
QUESTION: I want to just follow up on our discussion Tuesday and I guess Wednesday on the genesis of the October 2014 letter to the former secretaries.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Yep.
QUESTION: First, can you tell us who sent the letter?
MS. HARF: Who specifically signed it at the State Department?
QUESTION: Yeah. Right.
MS. HARF: I can check. I’m sorry, I do not know that. I can check.
QUESTION: Okay. And can you tell us anything more about how it began? Because there’ve now been press reports that the concern about this issue arose out of the Benghazi select committee’s investigation sometime during the August timeframe, and I’m just curious whether that had played any role whatsoever in the Department’s decision to take this pretty unusual step of approaching former secretaries.
MS. HARF: I wouldn’t call it unusual, and what I would say is I think there are also Administration sources in those press reports saying it would be grossly simplistic to say that any one thing prompted us to send this letter. As I noted, I think to you the other day in the briefing, this predated the request from the select committee just from a time perspective —
QUESTION: All their requests?
MS. HARF: I’m sorry?
QUESTION: All their requests to the Department?
MS. HARF: I can check on that. But the request that was pertinent, I think, to her email was later; that’s my understanding. It came a month later, I think.
But a couple points: This actually isn’t that unusual. We are – we have been struggling in trying to figure out how to preserve all the records given the use of email now that wasn’t even that way five years ago. And so we have had an ongoing process, as NARA has had too, to update regulations, clarify policies, make sure we have the records we need. So that was part of that process. And again, it came before the request. So I would – it would be incorrect to say that any one issue prompted this letter.
Of course, we have worked closely with the select committee and with Congress on this, have been transparent and provided as much as we can in response to their requests, so certainly, that’s a factor. But I would not say – as we’ve said now a few times, it was not any one thing that prompted this.
And we really have been – I know it’s not always in the news until now, but there has been a process of trying to update our records. NARA has actually done a lot of work to clarify what the responsibilities are of senior officials in terms of preservation, and that is an ongoing process.
QUESTION: Can you tell us – one of the press reports also said that Secretary Kerry played some role in the discussion about this email situation. Do you know if he’s played any role in that?
MS. HARF: The – about what part of it? I haven’t talked about it with Secretary Kerry.
QUESTION: In making a decision to go to the former secretaries. I mean, it does still strike me as somewhat unusual that lower-level officials in the Department would take the step of going to retired former secretaries and ask them to return records to the Department.
MS. HARF: Well, I wouldn’t say – first, I don’t know who signed it. I mean, some of those – I’m not sure the press reports referenced the Secretary. I think they talked about his staff —
MS. HARF: — his senior staff, including his chief of staff – well, former chief of staff as of today, if everyone saw the news about Jon Finer. I think it’s appropriate that if – as we as a Department are trying to work through how to update the records of senior officials, including secretaries, the Secretary’s staff would be the one involved in those conversations. There’s – I don’t think there’s anything unusual about that.
QUESTION: Okay. And two other quick things on this.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Is the inspector general at this point, as far as you know, conducting any review of how this email matter was handled?
MS. HARF: I haven’t heard that. You know the inspector general is independent, but – so I think you could check with them, but —
MS. HARF: — not that I’ve heard, but I’m not sure I would have.
QUESTION: And at the very outset, you mentioned the FOIA review process. Among the various things they look for, is one of the things they look for in documents prior to release classified information?
MS. HARF: I’m sorry?
QUESTION: In the FOIA review process —
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: — among the various things that they look for – you mentioned PII, Social Security numbers —
MS. HARF: Yeah, yeah.
QUESTION: — SBU. Is one of the things they look for in that process, even in records that don’t bear classification markings, sensitive national security information?
MS. HARF: That – well, sensitive national security information is different than classified information.
QUESTION: Well, let’s say classified information.
MS. HARF: So which are you asking about?
QUESTION: Classified information.
MS. HARF: I can check. I don’t have all the FOIA regulations in front of me. I would also remind people that SBU is not a national security classification. It’s just not. But I can check on that and see if there’s more of a list of what FOIA looks at.
QUESTION: And as a follow-up on the FOIA —
MS. HARF: Yeah.
QUESTION: By the way, you said it was Jon Finer leading it. It’s not Jon Finer.
MS. HARF: No, I said if everyone saw the news about Jon Finer. He’s the new chief of staff.
QUESTION: Oh, yes.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: A follow-up to —
MS. HARF: David Wade is leaving. No, no, no. Jon Finer didn’t leave on day one. (Laughter.) He’s just staying in London. (Laughter.) No, Jon Finer is our new chief of staff.
MS. HARF: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
QUESTION: On the FOIA standards you mentioned —
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: So does that mean the FOIA office will be conducting this review?
MS. HARF: I don’t have more details on that. I know it’s a good question. There’s a lot of process questions. It’s a huge batch, as we’ve talked about. So as we have more to share on the process, I will. I just don’t have it today.
QUESTION: So it hasn’t started – the process – by any means —
MS. HARF: I don’t —
QUESTION: — if we don’t know who’s actually doing it?
MS. HARF: Let me check. Let me check.
MS. HARF: Let me check.
QUESTION: On the emails?
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: Which other former secretaries have submitted their emails? Or have all of them submitted their emails?
MS. HARF: So we sent the letter out a few months ago. No other secretaries have yet responded. I understand Secretary Powell’s office may have said they are going back and looking to see if they have anything. It’s my understanding no other secretaries have responded.
And I would say – and I know there’s a lot of questions about transparency, but it is – I mean, what we are doing now going forward – and there’s lots of questions about the past, and I get that – she has asked us to look at all 55,000 pages and determine what is appropriate for release. So that process is going to happen. And what we determine is appropriate under those FOIA standards will be public, which I think is actually a pretty extraordinary thing.
QUESTION: So why haven’t other former secretaries responded and submitted their emails?
MS. HARF: I think you’d have to ask them. I don’t speak for them.
QUESTION: But we’re only talking – we’re talking about two other secretaries, right?
MS. HARF: So we sent —
QUESTION: I mean, Henry Kissinger wasn’t asked —
MS. HARF: No, the furthest back —
QUESTION: — to provide his 1970 —
MS. HARF: — we went was Secretary Albright.
MS. HARF: So Secretary Albright, Secretary Powell, Secretary Rice, and Secretary Clinton.
QUESTION: So you don’t expect to withhold any of the 55,000 due to classification —
MS. HARF: I’m not going to prejudge —
QUESTION: — sensitive classification —
MS. HARF: I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of a review.
QUESTION: They should all be —
QUESTION: As part of this review, are the emails that her staff had on the personal server going to be reviewed as well? And if not, why not?
MS. HARF: Well, this is a review of her emails and her records.
QUESTION: But they were working for her, they were State Department employees, they were ostensibly working —
MS. HARF: But that’s a different thing.
QUESTION: But if they’re working on her behalf, if they’re helping to represent her opinions, her views to the rest of the Department, why wouldn’t their emails be looked at as well?
MS. HARF: Well, I understand the question, but we’re talking about a batch of emails in response to a request from the State Department to update our secretary of state records. So we have hers, and that’s the review that we’re doing right now.
QUESTION: But the employees are – also have an obligation —
MS. HARF: I understand that.
QUESTION: — to provide and to make certain that those —
MS. HARF: I understand that.
QUESTION: — records, which are public documents, are made available. Why not just bring them all in right now and look at everything —
MS. HARF: Because you’re talking about —
QUESTION: — as opposed to a drip, drip, drip?
MS. HARF: Well, this –55,000 pages is not a drip, drip, drip, Roz. That’s a pretty big stack of paper. But I would also say this was a request for former secretaries. We can talk about separate issues about her staff, who had – who did have state.gov accounts and who were responsible for preserving that, their records there. So that’s just a separate issue, and I just don’t have anything for you on that today.
QUESTION: Will any attempt be made to check whether these are all the emails, or will you just be accepting the secretary’s word on this?
MS. HARF: Well, as we have said, her staff has said these were all the responsive emails they had to our request, and that’s really a question for her staff to answer.
QUESTION: Well, no, no. My question is: Will the State Department be attempting in any way to verify whether they are all the emails? I mean, what I imagine is there are various methods you can use to look at whether they’re in sequence or whether there are gaps. I mean, will there be any attempt to verify this?
MS. HARF: Well, a couple points. First, as I’ve said, it covers the breadth of her time at the State Department. So it covers the span of when she was here. But —
QUESTION: The request does, but —
MS. HARF: No, the records in response cover – the emails she gave us back cover the breadth of her time at the State Department.
QUESTION: How do you know that? How do you know they’re all —
MS. HARF: Because I know when she started and when she left, and they correspond to that and they cover all of the time in between. Second —
QUESTION: But she —
QUESTION: But you don’t know that there’s gaps or deleted emails or some that just weren’t sent –
MS. HARF: Well, of course, but like – there’s not, like, two months missing, right? That’s – right.
QUESTION: But you don’t – you can’t say for sure – his point is that every email and —
MS. HARF: Correct.
QUESTION: — some critics or —
MS. HARF: Correct. But I would —
QUESTION: — whatever you want to call them have picked up on this, that you can’t know that —
MS. HARF: Correct.
QUESTION: — you have every email unless —
MS. HARF: And I’ve said that.
QUESTION: — you see the server.
MS. HARF: Well, I’ve said that, obviously, her staff has said that. But I would make a second point, though, is that each individual employee has a responsibility under the federal regulations to preserve their own records with a State Department account or a personal account. When you walk out the door, it is your responsibility to provide those. Does that make sense? Regardless of what kind of account it is.
QUESTION: When you walk out?
QUESTION: Well, yeah, but there’s a difference because —
QUESTION: Right, but there’s no way to check it that makes —
MS. HARF: But there was no time – right, right.
QUESTION: There’s a difference —
MS. HARF: That was colloquial, Josh.
QUESTION: — because in a FOIA request —
MS. HARF: But thank you for fact-checking me live and instantaneously during my press briefings.
QUESTION: In a FOIA request —
MS. HARF: You should come more often, I like it. What?
QUESTION: — or a congressional subpoena, then the State Department would have the ability to look through its server to see if everything has been sent. In this case —
MS. HARF: But that’s not —
QUESTION: — you don’t have access to that server, so there’s —
MS. HARF: That’s not the process of how it works, even with state.gov emails, Brad, generally speaking.
QUESTION: You’re saying that the State Department – for all FOIA requests, it relies on the goodwill of the individuals?
MS. HARF: I am not saying that for all – anything. I’m not making a general statement about FOIA, and I’m also saying it’s not about goodwill. What I am saying is, in general, each employee is responsible for being responsive to records requests, document requests. I’m not going to get into “always,” but —
QUESTION: That sounds like goodwill if it’s up to the employee himself to do it.
MS. HARF: No, it’s not goodwill, it’s a responsibility.
QUESTION: That’s the same thing.
MS. HARF: I don’t think that’s the same thing.
QUESTION: It’s not – there’s no independent mechanism separate from that employee.
MS. HARF: Well, then maybe you have a problem with the FOIA process.
QUESTION: No, I’m asking – I don’t think you’re right, actually, but —
MS. HARF: I would bet you 100 bucks I’m right.
QUESTION: All right, I’ll take it on. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I have a few more.
MS. HARF: No, but my point – look, my point is that like I understand your question, the crux of your question; I do. I cannot stand up here and say – that’s a question for her staff to answer. They have answered it. They can speak to that.
QUESTION: No, my question wasn’t have they been provided. My question was: Is the Department going to take any steps to verify they will be provided? That’s a different question.
MS. HARF: And I just don’t have – okay. I just don’t have any more details for you on that. I understand the question, I understand why you’re asking it, but I just don’t have more details for you than that.
QUESTION: So when the purpose is to preserve these emails as a history, so why you’re not asking for all the emails?
MS. HARF: We asked for all of her records that she had that were federal records, so we did. We asked for all of them.
QUESTION: But her office is saying they have not provided all the emails, right?
MS. HARF: Her office said that yes – no, that’s not correct, actually.
QUESTION: So then why didn’t – you haven’t asked them —
MS. HARF: Her office said – and I’m not the spokesperson for her office. People may have been confused about that this week. But what her office said is she provided everything that met that criteria.
QUESTION: But that criteria, would it be decided by the State Department, rather than her office?
MS. HARF: Well, there is criteria that NARA lays out about what is a federal record. It’s anything related to official business. So I think as her people have said, it wasn’t spreadsheets for her daughter’s wedding, but it was anything related to official business.
QUESTION: But wouldn’t people, people, Americans several decades after this would like to know what the secretary of state did at that time of her —
MS. HARF: Well, I think that’s why she’s asked us to review all 55,000 for public release —
QUESTION: I have one more question.
MS. HARF: — which I can’t think of any other public official asking anyone to do, actually.
QUESTION: So when other former secretary of states submit their emails, would that be sort of the same kind of review which you are doing right now?
MS. HARF: For public release? I don’t know, who knows. This resulted because she asked us to do this.
QUESTION: One for public release, one if there were any breach of State Department regulations?
MS. HARF: Well, I didn’t say we were looking at her emails for that purpose; I said we are not.
QUESTION: She asked you to do it, but she wouldn’t have been in compliance with the law had she not asked you to do it, correct?
MS. HARF: No. The law says nothing about releasing them publicly. The federal regulation —
QUESTION: But turning them over.
MS. HARF: Turning them over, that’s different.
QUESTION: Yes. Yeah, okay.
MS. HARF: That’s different. Still on this?
QUESTION: Marie —
QUESTION: I have one more.
MS. HARF: I think we have like eight more, but —
MS. HARF: Oh, hello.
QUESTION: Hi, there.
MS. HARF: Wait, we have a special guest in the briefing room today. Go ahead —
QUESTION: Oh, yes.
MS. HARF: — playing the role of Elise Labott.
QUESTION: Not – I am, poorly. Not to ask you to prejudge this specific case with Secretary Clinton, but just the process of a review, wouldn’t it be incumbent on the State Department to reveal if they found any sensitive but unclassified documentation, information in emails that were reviewed?
MS. HARF: I know I’m going to go back to the same line again, but I’m not going to prejudge what might happen —
QUESTION: But I’m not asking you to prejudge her case.
MS. HARF: Or what would happen, though.
QUESTION: I’m talking about a policy on the general review process. It seems very reasonable to assume that in the course of it, if SBU was discovered that it would have to be —
MS. HARF: That that would be made public?
QUESTION: That it would be somehow dealt with, right?
MS. HARF: Again – and this was to Brad’s question – I’m happy to go back to our lawyers and see if there’s more on this about what might happen if something is discovered, but again, I don’t want to speculate on that, and we just don’t know what would happen in that situation. There are so many variables and factors, I really just don’t want to speculate.
QUESTION: Well, I have (inaudible) —
QUESTION: How did the agreement come to be?
MS. HARF: Which agreement?
QUESTION: Discussing the review, Secretary Clinton tweeted that she has asked the State Department to release these emails. Obviously, I imagine on her side that may be her aides, that’s her, that’s her lawyers. Who at State is sort of brokering the terms of this with her?
MS. HARF: Well, there aren’t terms – I mean, the terms – I’m not exactly sure what you mean by terms. There was —
QUESTION: Who’s interacting, who’s interfacing with Clinton and her team on this?
MS. HARF: There’s senior officials here; I’m probably not going to go into more details. I can check and see if we can. But senior officials here, obviously, have talked to her team throughout this process, whether it’s just an open line of communication to make sure – from a legal perspective, to make sure we’re getting what we need, or conversations with the secretary’s staff when they said – okay, we’re – when they came to us and said we’re going to ask you to review them for release, we agreed that was a conversation between senior aides here and senior aides to her.
QUESTION: You said on Wednesday you were asked about whether the cyber security office here at State had concerns. Have you gotten an answer on that?
MS. HARF: I don’t have more details for you on that.
QUESTION: Have you checked on that?
MS. HARF: I’m checking on all of this, I promise, but I just don’t have more details to share about that.
QUESTION: So – but what’s the reasoning for not being able to share that information?
MS. HARF: I just don’t have details on that to share.
QUESTION: Is it someone not providing it, or is it sensitive, or —
MS. HARF: I know there are a lot of questions about this and other issues. As we get definitive answers that I can share, I am happy to, but there are going to be questions like that that we may not be able to share information on.
QUESTION: Can I ask —
MS. HARF: I will attempt to share as much as I can.
QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-up on the sensitive but unclassified?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh, yes.
QUESTION: Two days ago, you said that it would take months to review this process because —
MS. HARF: It’s expected to take several months.
QUESTION: — you would have to scrub any sensitive but unclassified information.
MS. HARF: That’s not what I said.
QUESTION: You would have to – you mentioned, I think —
MS. HARF: Personal identifying information.
QUESTION: — personal – which is sensitive but unclassified.
MS. HARF: Not necessarily.
QUESTION: If it’s a Social Security number, if it’s a home address, if it’s —
MS. HARF: It’s not – no, not necessarily. PII is not always SBU. We’re going to get into really Wiki stuff on this, guys. I’m ready.
QUESTION: So if – so – whoa, whoa. You would scrub sensitive but unclassified information as part of this —
MS. HARF: I didn’t say that. We can take —
QUESTION: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re going to publish people’s Social Security numbers?
MS. HARF: I also didn’t say – I didn’t say Social Security numbers are SBU. Those are PII. It’s a different term, different thing. No, don’t roll your eyes at it, Brad. There’s – if you go into my email and I have to put a portion marking at the bottom, those are two separate portion markings.
QUESTION: Look —
MS. HARF: What I am going to commit to you is to see if there are more detailed FOIA standards that they – that we do these reviews under that we can share. There may not be, but I think that might be helpful to folks as you say, “What are you looking for in her emails”.
QUESTION: So general practice is you take out sensitive but unclassified information. Is that not correct?
MS. HARF: I don’t know. Let me check on that. Let me check.
QUESTION: But here’s the deal: You’re talking about scrubbing some information potentially, correct?
MS. HARF: Using the FOIA standards that would have been used if we had the emails at the time.
QUESTION: Using the FOIA standards. So —
MS. HARF: The same standards that would have been used no matter when we got the emails.
QUESTION: If you put out these documents in however many months or years or whatever, and you say this is the breadth of the information and you don’t say what has been scrubbed, there’s a problem with that —
MS. HARF: Well, why would we say what has been scrubbed if it was scrubbed for a legitimate reason?
QUESTION: What category?
MS. HARF: What – you want us when we release them to say what category?
QUESTION: You generally do. You pick the reason —
MS. HARF: Okay, I’ll let our team who’s doing the review know that —
QUESTION: No, listen, listen, listen.
MS. HARF: — and we’ll take that under consideration.
QUESTION: So to say – but to say today that you won’t say whether or not there’s any sensitive but unclassified info —
MS. HARF: I did not say that, Brad. I said I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of this review. What we will —
QUESTION: I think I just said the same thing. You won’t say whether or not you will do this.
MS. HARF: Right. I’m not going to say what we’re going to do in any way at the end of this.
QUESTION: But usually you have to explain your redactions. So if you do take something out, you would have to say why you took it out —
MS. HARF: I said —
QUESTION: — what type of information it is.
MS. HARF: I said we will use the FOIA standards. I can go see – Brad, look, I’ve never submitted a FOIA request. I don’t know what letter you get back and what it says about the documents. I’m sure many of you have and can speak to that. I am happy to go back to the FOIA office and see if there’s more to share about this process in general. But I’m not going to stand up here and say at the end of this process this is what we’re going to do. How would I know that? We haven’t even done the process yet. That seems wholly speculative, hypothetical, and not instructive.
QUESTION: It doesn’t – if you’re saying you’re applying the FOIA standards, usually there’s rules guiding what you take out and what you disclose about that.
MS. HARF: And I said I will check with the FOIA office to see what those are. I’m not just going to take your word for it.
QUESTION: It’s not a prejudge —
QUESTION: Marie, given that —
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: — Secretary – former Secretary Clinton is a presidential hopeful in 2016 —
MS. HARF: I will let you do that analysis.
QUESTION: Well, that’s what pundits are saying —
MS. HARF: One great part about this job is I worry about elections overseas, not at home.
QUESTION: They would probably not be this focused if it wasn’t the case. So —
MS. HARF: Do you think so, really?
QUESTION: Number two, does this Department feel under pressure in any way to be going through those emails and scrubbing, as Brad calls, sensitive – that would not ruin those – so is there any pressure that this Department is under?
MS. HARF: That’s why I wanted to say very clearly today that we’re going to use the FOIA standards, the same standards we would have used regardless of when we got these emails, regardless of who the official is. And there are career experts who do this; that’s what’s going to guide this process. I want to be very clear about that.
QUESTION: But if there are correspondence between secretary of state and her foreign counterparts, would you be consulting your foreign counterparts, foreign countries before releasing these emails?
MS. HARF: I don’t have anything to prejudge about how this review might unfold.
QUESTION: Does that include (inaudible) under the FOIA guidelines?
MS. HARF: I just said I will check on the FOIA guidelines. I’m going to go take a whole class on FOIA after this.
QUESTION: So Marie —
MS. HARF: Yes, Roz.
QUESTION: — to be very explicit to Lesley’s point, is this Department feeling any political pressure from the White House, from the Clinton camp, from any Clinton supporters to review and to remove information that could potentially be embarrassing to a possible Clinton campaign?
MS. HARF: No. No.
QUESTION: Just quick follow before I go to a new subject.
MS. HARF: Margaret’s trying desperately here, which I appreciate.
QUESTION: Just quick follow before I go to new subject.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: As far as these emails are concerned, madam, these were on personal accounts by, you said —
MS. HARF: Account, one account (inaudible).
QUESTION: Right – several secretaries, of course, in the past also.
MS. HARF: Correct, yes.
QUESTION: So that means they were talking sensitive issues with foreign governments?
MS. HARF: I don’t know what’s in their emails. I haven’t seen them.
QUESTION: So you think they will also leak by the WikiLeaks and other leaks, part of that?
MS. HARF: I have no idea how you’re trying to bring these things all together and relate them to each other, but I don’t have much more for you than I think I’ve already said.
QUESTION: Let’s do a different topic.
QUESTION: Can we change —
MS. HARF: We can change the subject.
MS. HARF: We can, yes.
QUESTION: — on the current status —
MS. HARF: I would just like to point out that this is a very important story that I’m surprised it took us so long to get to. Yes, go ahead.
Posted in Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, state department, U.S. Department of State | Tagged emails, FOIA, Foreign Affairs Manual, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinto n, Marie Harf, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State | 10 Comments »
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.
EMILY’s List 30th Anniversary Gala was held at the Washington Hilton the evening of March 3.
Hillary cited Maggie Hassan, Gina Raimondo, Nancy Pelosi, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer, …. Hopes more women will run since we are losing both Barbaras.
Standing up not just for women but for all people …. for an economy that works for everyone.
New participation age: No Ceilings global report full of evidence of how when women and girls participate they lift up everyone.
Today there are too many policies and pressures that make it hard for families. These are not problems just for women but for families.
When any parent is shortchanged the economy is shortchanged. This is everyone’s fight.
The American middle class was built in part by the right of people to organize and fight. Not an issue just for labor union members, but for everyone. If there is not a balance of power in the workplace, everyone suffers.
Americans feel the ground shifting under their feet. The new rules are not clear.Our gains are real but fragile. We are going to have to work together to build the 21st century economy.
Washington has to work not just for those at the top but for all. We can help families find their footing in the middle class. Republicans recently singing out of the same hymnal. We don’t discourage them but don’t buy the trickle down economy.
She reminisced about her own family. How her grandparents and parents succeeded. Her mother’s voice, like Ayanna’s mother’s, echoes in her head.
Some decisions are big like ‘do you run for office.’
When, like Gabby, you survive a murder attempt, what do you do?
Waiting for Charlotte: A nurse said thank you for fighting for paid leave…. while she was taking care of other people’s babies she had to worry about how to take care of her own kids.
Over the next months: Don’t you want to see more women running? For the school board? For president?
Be recommitted. Help us organize. Spread the word. Fulfill the vision of EMILY’s List. Stand with them and for them. Make a daily commitment.
We are at a turning point. We can wage these struggles and emerge victorious. Let’s go forth and win some elections!
Posted in Appearances, Awards, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honors, Speaking Engagements, Uncategorized, Women Leaders | Tagged Appearances, awards, Emily's List, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honors, Speaking Engagements | 7 Comments »
Both Media Matters and State Department spokesperson Marie Harf shed a good deal of light on the truth of the matter today.
It Was Only After Clinton Left The State Department That The Law Concerning Private Emails Was Changed
The New York Times Accused Clinton Of Possible Wrong-Doing With Usage Of Non-Government Emails
NYT: Clinton’s Use Of Private Email During Time At The State Department May Have Violated Federal Law. In a March 2 report, The New York Times accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of possibly having “violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record” with the use of personal email for official government business during her time at the department.The Times reported, “Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.” [The New York Times,3/2/15]
But The Law Overseeing Retention Of Private Emails Was Not Changed Until After Clinton Left The State Department
From today’s State Department press briefing.
2:44 p.m. ESTMarie Harf
Daily Press BriefingWashington, DC
March 3, 2015QUESTION: All right. So do you have any insight, then, on why Secretary Clinton used exclusively a personal email account rather than a State.gov or State account?
MS. HARF: Yep. So I just have a few points on that and then I’m sure you have many follow-ups.
MS. HARF: So you want me to start?
MS. HARF: Great. Unless you had something else.
QUESTION: No, that was – that’s a question. Yeah. That was my question.
MS. HARF: (Laughter.) Okay.
QUESTION: Why is she using a personal account?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh. Well, let’s – I just have a couple points, sort of top lines, and then follow up with many questions, okay?
MS. HARF: First, the notion that the Department didn’t have the content of these emails until she turned them over isn’t accurate. A vast majority of them were to or from State.gov addresses or to addressees. So they were obviously retained and captured in that moment. So that notion is just not accurate and I wanted to put that out there first.
A couple other points: There was no prohibition on using a non-State.gov account for official business as long as it’s preserved. So obviously, that’s an important piece of this. When in the process of updating our records management – this is something that’s sort of ongoing given technology and the changes – we reached out to all of the former secretaries of state to ask them to provide any records they had. Secretary Clinton sent back 55,000 pages of documents to the State Department very shortly after we sent the letter to her. She was the only former Secretary of State who sent documents back in to this request. These 55,000 pages covered her time, the breadth of her time at the State Department.
Secretary Kerry is the first Secretary of State to rely primarily on his State.gov account. So what Secretary Clinton did was by no means unusual. In fact, it had been the practice before Secretary Kerry. So certainly, I know there’s a lot of interest in this. I would also point out that the notion that she had this email account is certainly not news; it’s been reported on for more than two years at this point. So I was a little surprised – although maybe I shouldn’t have been – by some of the breathless reporting coming out last night, but I guess that’s the nature of where we are today.
QUESTION: Okay. So just to address one of the things you said. You said there was no prohibition on using —
MS. HARF: Correct.
QUESTION: Yeah, but on – in June 2011, Jay Carney said from the podium, quote: “We are definitely instructed that we need to conduct all of our work on government accounts as part of the Presidential Records Act.” So how do you square those —
MS. HARF: Well, those are different things. That’s the instruction, but there is no prohibition on using a non-state.gov account for official business as long as it’s preserved. That’s in – yes. Let me finish, Justin, and then you can, I’m sure, disagree with what I’m saying and ask more questions. So there was – I mean, the fact is there was no prohibition on this happening as long as it was preserved. I would point out that she has sent in those 55,000 pages. Those are now all part of the permanent record, a vast majority of which already was, given most of it was to and from state.gov addresses.
QUESTION: I’m not disagreeing with what you’re saying. I’m saying Jay Carney —
MS. HARF: I don’t think Jay Carney is disagreeing.
QUESTION: It – well —
MS. HARF: He didn’t say there is prohibition; he said we are instructed to.
QUESTION: He said we’re instructed to conduct all of work —
MS. HARF: Right. He didn’t say there was a prohibition.
QUESTION: — as it applies to the Presidential Records Act.
MS. HARF: Right. He did – first of all – well, first, the White House is different than the State Department. So that’s different; so let’s be clear about that. Secondly, he didn’t say there was a prohibition. No, there are different regulations —
MS. HARF: — governing the White House and agencies, Justin.
QUESTION: Okay. So there was no prohibition.
MS. HARF: Correct.
QUESTION: And —
MS. HARF: There wasn’t.
QUESTION: And did she seek any legal counsel on her decision to use a personal email account rather than —
MS. HARF: I mean, you —
QUESTION: — a government account? Because I guess the question would be: Are there security implications for using a private account? How do you manage security on accounts that you don’t control?
MS. HARF: Well, I don’t know. You’d have to ask her. I think, without trying to get into her head on this, she was following what had been the practice of previous secretaries. Again, Secretary Kerry is the first to rely primarily on a state.gov account. This was also an unclassified email; no classified business was done on it. So not going to get into specifics about security, but certainly, this was —
QUESTION: Well, just for the record, we reached out to Condi Rice. She – her – she says that she only used a State account and did not use a personal.
MS. HARF: Okay. Well, I think —
QUESTION: And so I’m not sure that that’s accurate, unless —
MS. HARF: Secretary Rice has repeatedly said that she did not regularly use email.
QUESTION: Okay. But she didn’t – certainly didn’t use a personal email account. And she says when she did conduct —
MS. HARF: I didn’t say she did. I said Secretary Kerry is the first to rely primarily on a state.gov account. Secretary Rice said she didn’t use email primarily.
QUESTION: You said Clinton’s use was consistent with past secretaries of State.
MS. HARF: That’s true.
QUESTION: It wasn’t with Rice’s —
MS. HARF: Well, she didn’t use email. Past secretaries who had used email.
QUESTION: Well, I think she did use email.
MS. HARF: She has repeatedly said publicly, Justin, that she did not regularly use email. Secretary Powell wrote about this in his book that he had a personal computer – I’m going to pick up my notecard here – he had a personal laptop installed in his office so he could use personal email. He wrote about that in his book. So again, there is some past practice for this.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up? So you said one of the claims in this report was wrong because the vast majority went to and from —
MS. HARF: That is correct.
QUESTION: But that still implies that some wouldn’t have.
MS. HARF: That is correct.
QUESTION: And are you confident that all of those are in the records now? Or are there still some that could be floating in the world of dark and unread emails? (Laughter.)
MS. HARF: Well, again, as soon as we reached out to the former secretary, Secretary Clinton provided the emails covering the breadth of her time at the State Department on a wide variety of issues. It’s my understanding that those were provided in that way.
QUESTION: So that’s everything? That’s – we’re talking about the retention act. It doesn’t say “vast majority.” It basically is about all of them. Are you saying —
MS. HARF: Right. We reached out and asked her to provide them. She provided a large amount, those 55,000.
QUESTION: But just say it’s everything if you think —
MS. HARF: Well, how can I – I mean, Brad, I’m not in her email.
QUESTION: Did she say it was everything when she sent it back?
MS. HARF: When she responded, she said this was what she had – is my understanding – that was pertinent here.
QUESTION: Okay. And then —
MS. HARF: Those aren’t exact words, but that’s my understanding.
QUESTION: Is there a prohibition now on using a personal address for government —
MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge, no. The rules as they stand now – and let me just pull this up so I have this – and NARA has continually updated their guidance. The September 2013 NARA guidance is that if an employee uses a personal email account to conduct official business, he or she is instructed to take steps to ensure that any records sent or received are preserved – for example, by forwarding it to an official government account. Those rules have been sent to all State Department employees to make sure they knew that. And again, this is an ongoing process to update records management. As you can all imagine, this is a huge undertaking for an organization as large as ours that actually hasn’t had email for – in the grand scheme of things – all that long.
QUESTION: Marie, can I follow up on that?
QUESTION: You said that – just a couple questions.
MS. HARF: Let’s do – let’s go one at a time.
QUESTION: You said there’s —
MS. HARF: Yep.
QUESTION: — no classified material was sent over this email address? Either received or sent? So she —
MS. HARF: Correct. We have no indication that Secretary Clinton used her personal email account for anything but unclassified purposes.
QUESTION: So the Secretary never received a classified email in her entire span of —
MS. HARF: Well, Secretary Clinton did not have a classified email system. She had multiple other ways of communicating in a classified manner, including assistants or staff members printing classified documents for her, secure phone calls, or secure video conferences.
QUESTION: And then —
MS. HARF: So she certainly had a way of communicating in a classified setting.
QUESTION: Okay, okay.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: And can you say – whether or not things are classified, they can also be very sensitive.
MS. HARF: That’s true.
QUESTION: What can you say about encryption or non-encryption regarding her email correspondence?
MS. HARF: Well, I don’t think we’re going to get into specifics of security on a former Secretary’s email, but I can say we have no indication that the email was compromised, the account was compromised or hacked in any way. But again, we’re not going to get into specifics.
QUESTION: Can you say what kind of email address she was using?
MS. HARF: I don’t think I’m going to get into that.
QUESTION: Because if, for example, it was a Gmail account or something like that, technically Google would have ownership over all those communications.
MS. HARF: I don’t think I’m going to get into those specifics.
QUESTION: I just wanted to follow up on that specific about preservation.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: So then as now, it’s okay for a U.S. official to use a non-USG email account, as long as the emails —
MS. HARF: As it’s preserved.
QUESTION: — are preserved. Are there specific instructions on how that should be done?
MS. HARF: Let me see if I have that. And again, a vast majority of State Department business is done on an official system, obviously, so I don’t want to give the idea that State Department employees are regularly not using State Department emails. Let me see if I —
QUESTION: I’m just wondering —
MS. HARF: Go ahead. Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Just wondering if she would’ve had to forward every single email to some State account, or whether it was enough that it was going through State servers. I’m just wondering about —
MS. HARF: So I can check on – of how something needs to be preserved today vice when she was here?
QUESTION: No, I’m asking about her.
MS. HARF: When she was here.
MS. HARF: I can check. There – I do know, though, relatedly, that there was no real-time preservation requirement. The requirement is just to preserve any records that are part of the official record, which she has done by providing them.
MS. HARF: And they are all part of the official record. Many of them – a vast majority of them already were, given that they were to or from a State.gov addressee.
QUESTION: Marie, can you —
MS. HARF: And everything is – I mean, if things go back and forth from State.gov addressees, they’re part of the official record.
QUESTION: So they’re preserved —
MS. HARF: Correct.
QUESTION: — and there is no rule against using a personal account?
MS. HARF: Correct.
QUESTION: So that’s why it’s not – I mean, do you believe she’s breached any rule or law or practice known to you or to historians?
MS. HARF: As I said, there’s no prohibition on using this kind of email account as long as it’s preserved. She has taken steps to preserve those records by providing the State Department with the 55,000 pages, so – I’m not a NARA expert, but certainly, it sounds to me like that has been completed.
QUESTION: Except that you wouldn’t really have any way of knowing if she had provided everything, unless you’re just taking her at her word for it, correct?
MS. HARF: I think 55,000 is a pretty big number, and —
QUESTION: I mean, I don’t —
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: I don’t know how many – I accept that it’s a lot of documents —
MS. HARF: And it covers the time – date – from a date perspective covers the time that she was at the State Department.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: Change —
QUESTION: Well, let me follow up.
QUESTION: How do you —
MS. HARF: Who wants to follow up on this?
QUESTION: No, how do you legally verify – I mean, granted, she was the Secretary of State. But as Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” Is there any way of corroborating that everything that was provided by her office is in fact everything that she engaged in while she was Secretary of State?
MS. HARF: Look, all I can say is that we reached out to the former secretaries and asked them to provide any records that needed to be preserved. She was the only former Secretary that responded to our request and sent back those tens of thousands of pages of documents. That’s what I can speak to. They cover her time at the State Department. I don’t think I have many more details for you than that.
QUESTION: Are you going to be redoubling efforts with the other secretaries of State, who seem to be remiss in their responsibilities?
MS. HARF: I mean, who knows if some of these secretaries even have records of these things. It’s – this is a – this really is – when it comes to records preservation, this is not something flip to say: The processes have evolved and the regulations have evolved and the guidance has evolved as email has evolved and how technology has evolved, and that’s something we’re constantly trying to do in order to keep up with that.
QUESTION: So – and can you just clarify for – so the Secretary never received a state.gov email, or never used one? I mean —
MS. HARF: I can check. I’m not sure.
QUESTION: I mean, usually when your first day of work, you show up and you —
MS. HARF: I’m not sure the Secretary’s first day of work is the same as —
QUESTION: The payroll tax, and then the email address, and —
MS. HARF: I’m not sure she had a badge. I don’t know. I just don’t know.
MS. HARF: I really just don’t know.
QUESTION: Did Clinton’s aides and personal staff also use personal emails to correspond with her?
MS. HARF: About official business?
MS. HARF: I know – I can check on that. Let me see. Well, certainly, State Department employees generally use State email addresses. As would be the case for her aides or anyone else if they did use a personal email, they would still be under the same requirements in terms of preserving that for the record. So I can’t speak to specifics.
QUESTION: Change of subject?
MS. HARF: Anything else on this? Are you still on this?
QUESTION: Yes. I have a few follow-ups.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: So one is: You say there was no – at the time in question, 2009-2013, there was no prohibition.
MS. HARF: There’s still not.
QUESTION: Okay. Was there a policy on this point, beyond the NARA guidance? Did the State Department have a policy that addressed use of personal emails for official purposes?
MS. HARF: I can check on that. I know that in August 2013, which is after you’re talking about, NARA issued guidance which included – I’m not sure they had issued it prior to this, but I can check – that email records of designated senior officials are permanent federal records. I’m guessing if they had to clarify that, they hadn’t been clear about it before. I think that’s my understanding. And then in September 2013, they issued guidance on personal email use. So it’s my understanding that’s when NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration that governs this, put the guidelines forward. And then at that point, we sent to all of our employees the guidelines following on that, that they needed to preserve anything that was a record.
MS. HARF: So it’s my understanding that those guidelines came later and were not in place at the time.
QUESTION: Okay. So you don’t know of any State Department specific policy that was in place prior to September 2013 addressing this issue?
MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge. I’m happy to check. I don’t want to speak —
MS. HARF: — authoritatively on this, but I’m happy to check. But it is my understanding that because NARA didn’t issue those guidelines until late 2013, that’s when we put guidance forward to our employees.
QUESTION: And you mentioned that most of the 55,000 pages were emails to state.gov accounts belonging to other persons.
MS. HARF: A vast majority, yes – to or from.
QUESTION: So in addition to some possibly not going to those accounts – so perhaps not being captured at the time – wouldn’t there be an issue, depending on what kind of record searches were being done, if somebody asked for a search of the secretary or office of secretary emails, and say, she sent it to some other office, office of administration or something – if that wasn’t covered by the search, wouldn’t it be the case that those other emails wouldn’t have been produced? And is the Department doing anything retrospectively to look at either FOIA requests or litigation or congressional inquiries other than the Benghazi one about whether it actually provided a complete production of documents?
MS. HARF: It’s a good question. First, the Department has long had access to a wide array of Secretary Clinton’s records. Emails are only a part of that, whether it’s cables, whether it’s call readouts, other documents. So clearly – and that also included emails between her and Department officials with state.gov accounts. And now we have possession of Secretary Clinton’s emails spanning her time at the State Department. Those are now part of records. So to the extent that FOIA requests come in going forward, if it is determined that Secretary Clinton’s emails may be responsive, if that’s the case, her emails will be searched in connection with those requests. So again, most – we had a large amount of her records to begin with, but yes, all of them will now be searched going forward.
QUESTION: And what about retrospectively?
MS. HARF: That’s my understanding that that will not be happening.
QUESTION: Okay. And has any other – it’s correct that there were 300 pages produced to the Benghazi select panel. Were there productions —
MS. HARF: About – fewer than 300, a little fewer than 300 emails. That’s more than 300 pages.
QUESTION: Okay. Have there been productions from these records to any other panels? And can you say just a little bit about the sequence – was there any connection between those congressional document requests and the decision to send this missive to the former secretaries?
MS. HARF: So the letter actually went before we got the request from the select committee. It went in October of 2014 – that was before we had gotten a request from the committee – as part of our records maintenance upgrading and the process we go through. So that was what drove that. I don’t know the first question answer – I don’t think so – that these have been provided in response to any other request, but I’m not 100 percent sure.
QUESTION: And one final question. You said there’s no indication that there was any classified material. Has the Department done a classification review of the 55,000 pages, and is that the result of it? Or is it just something more cursory than that?
MS. HARF: I don’t believe we have. But we have no indication she used it for anything other than unclassified work, as all of us do on our unclassified State accounts.
QUESTION: Follow-up —
MS. HARF: Anything else on this?
QUESTION: Follow-up this. So does former Secretary Clinton broke the law or not?
MS. HARF: I think I’ve addressed that at length. You can check the transcript for my answer on that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
Thanks to Greta Van Susteren, here is Nick Merrill’s complete statement.
From Nick Merrill / Spokesperson:
Because our on the record statement was not fully included in the Times
story ‹ which includes inaccuracies ‹ here is what was provided to them.
Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when
engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she
emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they
would be retained. When the Department asked former Secretaries last year
for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said
Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department
officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were
preserved. As a result of State¹s request for our help to make sure they
in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is
in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them
in line with its retention responsibilities.
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