The State Department's inspector general found that Hillary Clinton did not comply with the agency's policies on records in her use of private email while US secretary of state, and she also declined to be interviewed for an investigation into the matter, according to a report delivered to US lawmakers on Wednesday.
Clinton's use of private email, held on a server at her home in Chappaqua, New York, has come up in various investigations, and the controversy over it has hung over her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination for months.
Thousands of emails that Clinton sent from the private account during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2012 have been made public as a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by VICE News senior investigative reporter Jason Leopold.
The report (viewable in full below) by the department's inspector general cited "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" with State Department records that predated Clinton's tenure, but criticized her for using private email for government business and for failing to turn over records promptly.
"At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," the report read.
The report goes back several secretaries of state and explains how records management and cybersecurity have long been institutional problems in the State Department.
"As is the case throughout the Federal Government, management weaknesses at the Department have contributed to the loss or removal of email records, particularly records created by the Office of the Secretary," the report said. "These weaknesses include a limited ability to retrieve email records, inaccessibility of electronic files, failure to comply with requirements for departing employees, and a general lack of oversight."
The report said Secretary of State John Kerry and predecessors Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Madeleine Albright were interviewed in the investigation. Clinton and her deputies, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, declined to be interviewed for the inspector general's investigation.
Daniel Metcalfe, the founding director of the Justice Department's Office of Information Policy (OIP), which is supposed to ensure government agencies are complying with the FOIA, was not surprised by the report's conclusions.
"Certainly, this is comes as no surprise to those of us who for more than a year have been pointing out Ms. Clinton's multiple violations of the Federal Records Act, not to mention her systemic violations of criminal prohibitions on the use of official e-mail systems for potentially classified information. Compared to this, I suppose, her blatantly calculated circumvention of the Freedom of Information is actually the least of her many sins," Metcalfe said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether any laws were broken as a result of the server kept in her home.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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