Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email on a private server to conduct official government business sparked a storm of controversy. The email debate has served as a pivotal moment for the public to pressure the government to examine the way officials manage, preserve, and release information in the digital age.
Twelve Open Government Groups Call For Archivist and State Department to Review Clinton Email Server and Ensure Preservation of Federal Records
Today OpenTheGovernment.org and eleven other pro-transparency groups wrote to the Secretary of State and the Archivist of the United States, requesting that they independently verify the preservation of federal records among the emails in electronic form. The groups wrote, “the task of determining which emails constitute federal records should not be left solely to Mrs. Clinton’s personal aides.
On March 2nd, the New York Times published a story reporting that Hillary Clinton had not used an official Department of State email account during her time as Secretary of State. Instead, Clinton and some staff members used a private email server. As OTG director Patrice McDermott told The Hill, “What she did was not technically illegal…[but] it was highly inappropriate and it was inappropriate for the State Department to let this happen.”
On January 28, OpenTheGovernment.org and 8 other groups wrote to President Obama, asking his administration to stop ignoring the nearly 7000-page torture report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and reject Senator Richard Burr’s unprecedented request for the report’s return. The letter states in part:
Shortly after he became chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in January, Senator Richard Burr told reporters in his home state that he had no intention of trying to rewrite the committee’s 6700-page, $40 million torture report. Burr said that despite his disagreements with the report, he wanted to “look forward and do oversight in real time.”
Last month, OpenTheGovernment.org and 16 other civil society groups wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to oppose a CIA request for additional authority to destroy emails. This week, five members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) also raised alarm about the proposal, including Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss.
The lame duck session of the 113th Congress has already acted on one open government priority-- sending a bill to the President for signature that will help speed up the release of historical White House Records -- and leaders in the Senate have taken steps to push forward legislation to reform the National Surveillance Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs and to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
OpenTheGovernment.org and 16 other open government, civil liberties and human rights groups have asked the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to reject a CIA request for increased authority to destroy email records.