State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf is not having a good week, so naturally she took it out on Fox News.
Harf was on the hot seat again Friday over the growing scandal involving former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of private email during her four years in office.
Harf fielded a number of questions about Clinton’s email use and about how the State Department plans to handle the 55,000 pages of records she only turned over in December. One question posed to Harf concerned an internal 2011 Department cable bearing Clinton’s e-signature informing staffers that for security reasons they are expected to use official email accounts to conduct business. As we know now, Clinton was not following those very same instructions.
“I think everyone can read it at FoxNews.com if they’d like to,” Harf said in response to the question about the cable, sarcasm dripping from her voice.
“I mean…,” she began to say as she looked around the room at other reporters appearing to look for laughs at her joke.
“That was in no way an endorsement,” she clarified.
Perhaps realizing she had gone too far, Harf told the reporter, “I don’t mean to be flip about it, but let me check.”
The irony in Harf’s dig at Fox is that the network did not break the email story. The mainstream New York Times first reported the news of Clinton’s exclusive private email use on Monday. The Associated Press furthered that by reporting that Clinton also had a private server installed in her home to manage her emails.
The State Department and Clinton’s handlers have all sought to shield Clinton from accusations of impropriety. But Clinton’s private use of emails have raised many questions, including whether she sent or received classified documents on the account and whether it was more susceptible to hackers.
Clinton’s private email use also protected her records from being turned over in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Though official government business emails sent on private accounts are supposed to be made available to such requests, the State Department rejected several requests claiming that no documents existed.
“I’m going to go take a whole class on FOIA after this,” Harf said at Friday’s press conference.