Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hid her government activities from the public by using her private email network to communicate with her aides via their private, non-government email addresses.
During the Benghazi crisis, her secret private-to-private email network bypassed government openness and record-keeping laws.
The discovery of her secret network contradicts her March claim that copies of nearly all her official emails existed on other public officials’ government email records.
The secretive and possibly illegal actions could be a major problem for Clinton as she prepares to run for the presidency in 2016.
The private-to-private email network has been partially exposed by GOP inquiries into Clinton’s role before and after the successful 2012 jihadi attack on the U.S. consular site in Benghazi.
A batch of 300 emails requested by GOP congressional investigators “show that Mrs. Clinton’s top [government] aides at times corresponded with her about State Department matters from their personal email accounts,” The New York Times reported on March 23.
The discovery of the private-to-private email network is “raising questions about her recent assertions that she made it her practice to email aides at their government addresses so the messages would be preserved, in compliance with federal record-keeping regulations,” said The New York Times.
“It was my practice to communicate with State Department and other government officials on their .gov accounts so those e-mails would be automatically saved in the State Department system to meet record keeping requirements, and that, indeed, is what happened,” she said at a March 10 press conference held in New York.
The emails were described to The New York Times by “four senior government officials,” the newspaper said. The term “government officials” is broad enough to potentially include GOP legislators on the Hill and administration officials.
Those 300 emails, however, are only 1 percent of the 30,000 emails that Clinton provided to the State Department in 2014 at the insistence of GOP investigators.
Clinton also said her staff deleted more than 30,000 emails stored on her personal server, without allowing government officials to check if the emails were part of her official work at the State Department.
The New York Times article described one email exchange that took place in October 2012, just after GOP legislators questioned a top State Department official about the attack.
“Did we survive the day?” Clinton asked one of her deputies in an email later that day.
“Survive, yes,” the aide responded.
The jihadis’ 2012 Benghazi attack killed four Americans and prompted President Barack Obama to pull U.S. officials out of Libya.
He withdrew the diplomats, CIA officials and guard forces even through he had used the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy’s aircraft to destroy the Libyan government in 2011.
Since 2012. jihadi forces have taken over much of Libya from the new and weak central government. The jihadis recently murdered 21 Christians on Libya’s coast and say they will attack targets in Europe and various African countries.
The Libyan crash is only one aspect of Obama’s failed diplomatic and strategic outreach to Islamic groups in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and other countries.
Obama had hoped the empowered Islamist groups, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, would counter jihadi groups in the Middle East, promote political stability via democracy and reduce the need to deploy U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Instead, his strategy weakened anti-Islamic autocrats and strengthened jihadi groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria and other countries.
Those other countries included Libya, where the jihadi groups attacked the U.S. diplomatic site, even though the new government’s security services were led by a Muslim Brotherhood leader.