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Politics & Policy

Clinton ‘Surprised’ at Subordinate’s Use of Private E-mail Account in 2011

During a 2011 e-mail exchange, Hillary Clinton said she was “surprised” a subordinate at the State Department would use a private e-mail account to conduct government business — despite using a private account herself during her entire tenure as secretary of state.

In February 2011, State Department officer John Godfrey sent an e-mail containing his analysis on how the United States should assist Libyan development and governance following the fall of dictator Moammar Qaddafi. The e-mail, which contained information later marked “confidential” by State Department reviewers, was sent on his private account. It was forwarded to close Clinton aide Jake Sullivan a couple of hours later.

Sullivan forwarded the e-mail on to Clinton several hours later. “Worth a read. This guy is very thoughtful,” he wrote.

“Who does he work for now?” Clinton asked. “Us,” Sullivan wrote back.

“Is he in NEA [Near Eastern Affairs] currently? Or was he in Embassy? I was surprised that he used a personal e-mail account if he was at State,” Clinton replied.

In March 2015, it was revealed that Clinton had used a private e-mail account through her entire term as secretary of state, a violation of State Department policy. The revelation set off a firestorm of criticism and prompted an FBI investigation into whether Clinton jeopardized classified information.

The e-mail is part of a 2,900-page document dump released in the early morning hours Friday. The State Department had been under court order to produce the pages a week ago, on New Year’s Eve, but fell short of both that deadline and another the court had set for them Thursday evening.


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