Media outlets have had to correct numerous reports on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state due to flawed journalistic processes that favored anonymous sourcing and failed to prioritize accuracy. With the FBI calling for no criminal charges following its probe into the use of the server, Media Matters looks back at nine corrections from seven different publications.
NY Times Reported Clinton Is Target Of Criminal Probe Into Personal Email Use. On July 23, 2015, The New York Times published a report headlined “Criminal Inquiry Sought In Clinton's Use Of Email” which reported that two inspectors general were seeking a criminal investigation into Clinton's use of personal email while at the State Department, according to anonymous "senior government officials.” From the text of the original version of the article:
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday. [NewsDiff.org, 7/23/15]
NY Times Article Falls Apart Amid Reports That Justice Department Was Not Asked To Open Criminal Probe Into Clinton’s Emails
Associated Press: U.S. Official Said That Request Of DOJ “Doesn't Suggest Any Wrongdoing By Clinton.” The AP quoted an anonymous U.S. official who noted that the referral did not implicate Clinton in any wrongdoing. From the July 24, 2015, article:
Federal investigators have asked the Justice Department to look into a “potential compromise of classified information” surrounding the private email server used by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a department official said Friday.
The official said the referral by the investigators did not relate to possible criminal wrongdoing, despite saying earlier Friday that it did. Another U.S. official said it was unclear whether classified information was mishandled and that the referral didn't necessarily suggest any wrongdoing by Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential race. [Associated Press, 7/24/15]
Ranking Member On Benghazi Committee: State IG Said "He Never Asked The Justice Department To Launch A Criminal Investigation.” The Hill reported that Benghazi Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said he “spoke personally to the State Department Inspector General on Thursday, and he said he never asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton's email usage.” From the July 24, 2015, article:
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is rebutting reports that the State Department has formally requested federal investigators to launch a criminal probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.
“I spoke personally to the State Department Inspector General on Thursday, and he said he never asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton's email usage,” Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Friday in a statement.
Instead, Steve Linick, State's Inspector General “told me the Intelligence Community IG notified the Justice Department and Congress that they identified classified information in a few emails that were part of the [Freedom of Information Act] review, and that none of those emails had been previously marked as classified.” [The Hill, 7/24/15]
NY Times’ John Harwood: “Justice Dept Official Says ‘Referral’ Related To Hillary Clinton's Email Is NOT For A Criminal Investigation - Contradicting Earlier Reports.”
Justice Dept official says “referral” related to Hillary Clinton's email is NOT for a criminal investigation - contradicting earlier reports
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 24, 2015
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 24, 2015
Inspectors General Release Joint Statement Saying IG Inspector General “Did Not Make A Criminal Referral.” The inspectors general of the Intelligence Community and State Department released a joint statement saying the referral “was to notify security officials that classified information may exist on at least one private server and thumb drive that are not in the government’s possession.” The statement also said the Intelligence Community Inspector General “did not make a criminal referral.” From the July 24, 2015, statement:
State & intel IGs put out a joint statement saying it was a counterintelligence referral, not criminal. pic.twitter.com/SZe2h7bBUm
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) July 24, 2015
NY Times Forced To Backtrack On Sloppy Reporting And Make Two Separate Corrections
NY Times Altered Report To Remove Claim That Clinton Is Target Of Criminal Probe. After publication, the Times changed its report to remove the statement that Clinton wasthe target of the requested criminal probe, offering no notification or explanation for the alteration. The headline was changed to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought In Clinton Email Account." The new report said:
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday. [NewsDiff.org, 7/23/15]
NY Times Subsequently Issued Correction That Clinton Not Subject Of Referral. The Times would later add a correction to the piece explaining that Clinton was not personally the subject of the referral to investigate. From the July 25, 2015, correction:
An earlier version of this article and an earlier headline, using information from senior government officials, misstated the nature of the referral to the Justice Department regarding Hillary Clinton's personal email account while she was secretary of state. The referral addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that personal email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton. [The New York Times, 7/25/15]
NY Times Issued Second Correction Noting Referral Was Not Criminal. The Times the next day added a second correction to the piece, noting the referral was a “security referral,” not a “criminal referral.” From the July 26, 2015, correction:
An article in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state referred incorrectly, using information from senior government officials, to the request. It was a “security referral,” pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information, officials said, not a “criminal referral.” [The New York Times, 7/26/15]
NY Times Public Editor Sullivan: Article Was A “Mess” And Suffered From “At Least Two Major Journalistic Problems.” Noting the multiple corrections to the original story, then-Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan called it a “mess” in a blog post, saying there were “at least two major journalistic problems” with the piece. From Sullivan’s July 27, 2015, blog post:
There are at least two major journalistic problems here, in my view. Competitive pressure and the desire for a scoop, led to too much speed and not enough caution.
When you add together the lack of accountability that comes with anonymous sources, along with no ability to examine the referral itself, and then mix in the ever-faster pace of competitive reporting for the web, you've got a mistake waiting to happen. Or, in this case, several mistakes.
Reporting a less sensational version of the story, with a headline that did not include the word “criminal,” and continuing to develop it the next day would have been a wise play. Better yet: Waiting until the next day to publish anything at all.
Losing the story to another news outlet would have been a far, far better outcome than publishing an unfair story and damaging The Times's reputation for accuracy. [The New York Times, 7/27/15]
CNN Claims Clinton Gave Her Emails To State Department In Paper Form To Make It Harder For Government To Review Them
CNN: Clinton Handing Over Emails To State Dept. In Paper Form Designed To “Slowdown” Review. A CNN article reported Clinton intentionally handed over to the State Department “55,000 pages of emails for public release — but in paper, not their original electronic format.” CNN added this would make “it harder and more expensive for the federal government to quickly review her emails and decide what’s OK for the public and what’s not,” and called it a “data dump” intended “slowdown opponents.” From the March 11, 2015 article:
In an act of semi-transparency, Hillary Clinton has handed the State Department 55,000 pages of emails for public release — but in paper, not their original electronic format.
That complicates things.
By doing it that way, Clinton has made it harder and more expensive for the federal government to quickly review her emails and decide what’s OK for the public and what’s not.
The State Department will probably scan them all to make them digital again (a process that’s maybe 30 hours long). Then it’ll have to run optical character recognition software on it to make it searchable (up to another 30 hours). Then its lawyers will read them line-by-line to block out material deemed classified (taking a few weeks or months).
Trial lawyers who are used to suing big companies say this is a classic “data dump.” That’s when a company fighting a lawsuit attempts to slowdown opponents by drowning them in unorganized information that’s difficult to comb through. [CNN, 3/11/15]
But State Department Policy Requires Preserved Emails To Be Printed Out
State Dept. Manual: Messages Being Preserved As Records “Must Be Printed Out.” The State Department Foreign Affairs Manual requires that all “messages warranting preservation as records …must be printed out and filed with related records”:
Until technology allowing archival capabilities for long-term electronic storage and retrieval of E-mail messages is available and installed, those messages warranting preservation as records (for periods longer than current E-mail systems routinely maintain them) must be printed out and filed with related records. [State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, accessed 3/11/15]
CNN Updated Flawed Report, Appended Editor’s Note. Following the release of the article, CNN added an editor’s note noting “the State Department told CNNMoney that it is standard practice to print emails for review”:
An earlier version of this story said that Hillary Clinton's decision to provide only printed copies -- as opposed to electronic copies - of her emails would be harder and more expensive for the government to review. After our story was published, the State Department told CNNMoney that it is standard practice to print emails for review. As a result, that point was removed, and the headline was changed. [CNN, 3/12/15]
Daily Beast Pushes Conspiratorial Claims About “Two-Month Gap” In Clinton’s Emails Released By State Department
Original Daily Beast Article: “Conspicuous Two-Month Gap” In Clinton Benghazi Emails. The Daily Beast wrote an article headlined “The Missing Hillary Emails No One Can Explain” and subheadlined, “There is a two-month gap in Hillary Clinton's emails that coincides with violence in Libya and the employment status of a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.” From the July 28, 2015, article:
Among the approximately 2,000 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released from her private account, there is a conspicuous two-month gap. There are no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff during May and June 2012, a period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that's true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate. [The Daily Beast, 7/28/15]
Original Daily Beast: Two-Month Email Gap “Also Coincides” With Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Getting “Special Exemption.” In its original version, The Daily Beast reported that the supposed gap “also coincides with” aide Huma Abedin getting a “special exemption” to work for both the State Department and Clinton Foundation. From the July 28, 2015, article:
That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband's foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton's account about the aide, Huma Abedin. [The Daily Beast,,7/28/15]
But There Was No Gap, As Email Wasn’t Clinton’s Preferred/Exclusive Method Of Communication
Clinton Aide: She Rarely Used Email -- It Wasn't A Good Way To Get Her Attention. The reason there are no emails about “escalating dangers in Libya during those crucial months” may be because email wasn't the method used to discuss such information. Bloomberg Politics reported on March 3, 2015, that a former State Department official said that he generally communicated with Clinton in person or by phone and that email “wasn't the best way to get Clinton's attention.” From the March 3, 2015, Bloomberg article:
One former State Department official who worked for Clinton told Bloomberg Politics he did not find the practice unusual, given how little Clinton actually used e-mail. Most of the time, the former official said, his interactions with Clinton and across the department were either face to face or over phone.
When he did get an e-mail from Clinton, the former official said, it was generally a directive and his response usually came on paper or in person the next time they saw each other. When Clinton was traveling, the former official said, he generally conveyed messages to Clinton through a core group of four senior aides-Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, and Philippe Reines.
E-mail, the former official added, also wasn't the best way to get Clinton's attention, since she couldn't bring her BlackBerry into diplomatic meetings at home or abroad, or into the White House situation room, because of security reasons. Even when sitting at a computer, an official e-mail address would have been a clunky way for Clinton to communicate, since many aides would have had to been copied and responses would have piled up quickly, filling her inbox. [Bloomberg Politics, 3/3/15]
Clinton Campaign: She Consumed Classified Information Through “Separate, Closed” State System And Via “Hard Copy.” Another possible explanation for the “gap” is that the communications detailing the Libyan situation were classified. According to the Clinton campaign, such information would be consumed through a separate State Department system or in hard copy:
Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. A separate, closed system was used by the State Department for the purpose of handling classified communications, which was designed to prevent such information from being transmitted anywhere other than within that system.
The Secretary's office was located in a secure area. Classified information was viewed in hard copy by Clinton while in the office. While on travel, the State Department had rigorous protocols for her and traveling staff to receive and transmit information of all types. [HillaryClinton.com, accessed 7/29/15]
Daily Beast Walked Back Incorrect Reporting
Revised Daily Beast: “Of Course” Email Isn't “Preferred” Way State Department Makes Such Communications. The Daily Beast subsequently updated its story to note that “email isn't the only or even the preferred way State Department officials communicate about sensitive issues.” It also changed the subheadline to: “Two very different groups are trying to track down months' worth of Clinton emails. One wants to know about her reaction to Libyan violence; the other, about her aide Huma Abedin.” The first two paragraphs of the story now read (emphasis added):
Among the hundreds of emails released by the State Department from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private account, there is a conspicuous two-month gap. So far, there are no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff during May and June 2012, a period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that's true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya during those two crucial months. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate. (Of course, email isn't the only or even the preferred way State Department officials communicate about sensitive issues--especially if one of those officials is using a private server ill equipped to handle classified information.) [The Daily Beast, 7/28/15]
Revised Daily Beast: Abedin Emails Wouldn't Be Included In Released Emails To Benghazi Committee, “Which Asked Only For Libya-Related Material.” The article was also updated to note that there would be no reason to expect emails about Abedin to be included in the “two-month gap” because the emails released to the Benghazi committee deal only with “Libya-related material.” From the July 28, 2015, article (emphasis added) :
That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband's foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton's account about the aide, Huma Abedin. So far, the State Department has rebuffed those efforts. Nor, understandably, did Foggy Bottom turn over any emails about Abedin's employment status to the Benghazi Committee, which asked only for Libya-related material. [The Daily Beast, 7/28/15]
Update Noted Additions To Story Related To Clinton's Emails And Abedin. The Daily Beast also added an update to the article noting these changes. From the July 28, 2015, article:
UPDATE: This story has been modified to make clear that the State Department -- not the former Secretary of State herself -- is releasing Clinton's emails. The number of emails has been changed from “approximately 2,000” to “hundreds,” to more accurately reflect how many messages from 2012 have been released. The story now also notes that email is hardly the only way that State Department officials communicate. And the piece has been clarified to underscore that emails about Huma Abedin's employment status would not necessarily be in the tranche of messages released to the Benghazi Committee. [The Daily Beast, 7/28/15]
Washington Post Inaccurately Reported Clinton Sent At Least Six Emails Over Server That Were Classified
The Washington Post Fixed Bogus Headline That Suggested Clinton Had Sent Classified Emails Using Private Server. The Washington Post published a story that correctly stated that “government officials deemed the e-mails classified after Clinton left office” but was misleadingly headlined, “Clinton wrote classified e-mails sent using private server.” The Post later updated the headline to accurately reflect that Clinton's emails were not classified when she sent them. The new headline read, "Clinton, using private server, wrote and sent e-mails now deemed classified.” From the September 1 article:
While she was secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote and sent at least six e-mails using her private server that contained what government officials now say is classified information, according to thousands of e-mails released by the State Department.
Although government officials deemed the e-mails classified after Clinton left office, they could complicate her efforts to move beyond the political fallout from the controversy. [The Washington Post, 9/1/15] [Newsdiffs.org, accessed 9/2/15]
The Hill Repeated False Claim That Clinton Aides’ Emails Suggested Clinton Dealt With Clinton Foundation Donors As Secretary Of State
The Hill: Emails Show Clinton “Addressed Clinton Foundation Donor Commitments” While Secretary Of State. The Hill reported on documents and emails the conservative group Judicial Watch released regarding Clinton’s interaction with the Clinton Foundation while secretary of state, along with the group’s claim that it showed “Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative [(CGI)] Closing Plenary in September 2009.” From the March 22 report (with original text):
A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.
Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009.
Clinton addressed Clinton Foundation donor commitments during the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary in September 2009.
“This is an exceptional gathering of people who have made exceptional commitments to bettering our world,” she said on September 25, 2009, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York, N.Y. [Media Matters, 3/22/16]
But The Emails In Question Dealt With Commitments To Action, Not Donors
Clinton Did Not Discuss Donors In Her Speech. A review of Clinton’s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary finds she did not discuss donors or donor commitments at all during her speech. [U.S. Department of State, Remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative Closing Plenary, 9/25/09]
Emails In Question Dealt With Commitments To Action. The emails described by The Hill as donor “commitments” actually refer to a “commitment to action” to address issues and CGI initiatives around the globe. The Clinton Foundation describes that as “a plan for addressing a significant global challenge” and adds that “Commitments can be small or large and financial or nonmonetary in nature." [Clinton Foundation, accessed 3/22/16]
The Hill Issued Correction On Incorrect Reporting. The Hill later issued a correction to the article and also issued an editor's note noting, “This story was corrected on March 23 to reflect that the 'commitments to action' included non-monetary assistance. A previous version contained incorrect information." From the article:
A conservative legal watchdog has released documents that show staffers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interacting with the Clinton Foundation.
Judicial Watch said the internal State Department documents show Clinton's aides helping orchestrate her public thanks to Clinton Global Initiative project donors in 2009. [The Hill, 3/22/16]
Washington Post Claims That About 147 FBI Agents Are Involved In Email Investigation Spreads Through Media
Wash. Post Investigative Report Uses Anonymous Sources To Claim 147 FBI Agents Detailed To Investigation. The Washington Post published a March 27 article on the FBI's investigation into Clinton's private email server claiming, “One hundred forty-seven FBI agents have been deployed to run down leads, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey.” [The Washington Post, 3/27/16; Media Matters, 3/29/15]
147 FBI Agent Figure Spreads Throughout Media. Numerous media outlets and reporters highlighted The Washington Post's 147 figure, including the Post's Chris Cillizza, who reacted to the number by writing “W-H-A-T?” and calling it “eye-popping.” Conservative magazine National Review referred to it as “a staggering deployment of manpower,” and Breitbart News wrote that the “FBI recently kicked its investigation into high gear.” [Media Matters, 3/29/16]
After Reports Contradict Their Article, The Post Issues Correction
Politico: 147 Figure Is “Greatly Exaggerated.” Politico's Josh Gerstein responded to The Washington Post's report, writing, “The FBI does not have close to 150 agents working the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server, a source familiar with the matter told POLITICO Monday.” That source called the number “greatly exaggerated” but “declined to provide any further details about FBI staffing.” From the March 28 article:
The FBI does not have close to 150 agents working the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server, a source familiar with the matter told POLITICO Monday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, commented after the Washington Post reported that FBI Director James Comey told an unnamed member of Congress that 147 agents were working the Clinton investigation.
Asked about the Post report, the source said: “That number is greatly exaggerated.”
The source and other officials declined to provide any further details about FBI staffing or the status of the inquiry. [Politico, 3/28/16]
Wash. Post Issued Correction, Cites Law Enforcement Officials Who Call The Figure “Too High” And Say The Number Of Personnel Involved Is “Fewer Than 50.” The Washington Post issued a correction to its March 27 investigative report, stating, “Two U.S. law enforcement officials have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high ... the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50.” From the March 29 correction:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Clinton used two different email addresses, sometimes interchangeably, as secretary of state. She used only firstname.lastname@example.org as secretary of state. Also, an earlier version of this article reported that 147 FBI agents had been detailed to the investigation, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey. Two U.S. law enforcement officials have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high. The FBI will not provide an exact figure, but the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50. [The Washington Post, 3/29/16]
NBC News Quoted Source Saying “There Are Currently About 12 FBI Agents Working On The Case.” NBC News' Ari Melber quoted a “former federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Clinton investigation” who said, "’There are currently about 12 FBI agents working full-time on the case.’" The source criticized the Post's estimate of “fewer than 50” personnel, saying that "’an estimate anywhere near 50 agents is also off base.’" Melber also quoted a former FBI official, who called the 147 figure "’a ridiculous number,’" continuing, "’You need an act of terrorism to get 50 agents working on something.’" From the March 30 article:
A former federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Clinton investigation tells MSNBC an estimate anywhere near 50 agents is also off base.
“There are currently about 12 FBI agents working full-time on the case,” says the source, who would only speak anonymously about an open investigation.
A former FBI official, also speaking anonymously, says many in the law enforcement community view the large estimates of people assigned to the case as completely improbable.
“147 was such a ridiculous number,” said the source, adding that 50 also sounded unrealistic for this kind of inquiry. “You need an act of terrorism to get 50 agents working on something,” said the former FBI official. [NBC News, 3/30/16]
Associated Press: Clinton “Did Not Want The State Department Emails” To Be “Accessible.” The Associated Press reported on a deposition of Clinton aide Huma Abedin from the conservative group Judicial Watch regarding Clinton’s emails. The AP originally wrote that Abedin told investigators that Clinton did not want her State Department emails accessible to “anybody” while secretary of state, writing Clinton “did not want the State Department emails that she sent and received on her private computer server to be accessible.” [Media Matters, 6/29/16]
Aide Was Referring Specifically To Clinton’s Private Emails, Not All Emails
Clinton Aide: Clinton Did Not Want Her “Private Personal Emails Being Accessible.” A transcript of the deposition released by Judicial Watch showed Abedin was referring specifically to Clinton’s private email, not her work-related emails. Abedin said, “I understand this to her not wanting her private -- her private personal e-mails being accessible.” [Judicial Watch, 6/28/16]
AP Corrects Article To Reflect What Aide Said. The Associated Press later updated its article to reflect Abedin’s distinction. The article now reported that Clinton “did not want the private emails that she mixed in with State Department emails on her private computer server to be accessible to ‘anybody,’ according to transcripts released Wednesday.” [Associated Press, 6/29/16; Media Matters, 6/29/16]
Politico: “Clinton Private Email Violated 'Clear-Cut' State Dept. Rules.” In an article headlined “Clinton private email violated 'clear-cut' State Dept. rules,” Politico reported, “The State Department has had a policy in place since 2005 to warn officials against routine use of personal email accounts for government work.” The article went on say the regulation was “in force during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state” and “appears to be at odds with her reliance on a private email for agency business.” From the March 5, 2015, piece:
The State Department has had a policy in place since 2005 to warn officials against routine use of personal email accounts for government work, a regulation in force during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state that appears to be at odds with her reliance on a private email for agency business, POLITICO has learned.
The policy, detailed in a manual for agency employees, adds clarity to an issue at the center of a growing controversy over Clinton’s reliance on a private email account. Aides to Clinton, as well as State Department officials, have suggested that she did nothing inappropriate because of fuzzy guidelines and lack of specific rules on when and how official documents had to be preserved during her years as secretary. [Politico, 3/5/15]
But Exemptions In 2005 Rule Could Allow Private Email Account
CNN: 2005 Rule “Filled With Exemptions That Could Allow Clinton To Use A Private Account.” A CNN report noted that the 2005 guidelines “were filled with exemptions that could allow Clinton to use a private account.” The article also noted that Clinton “was not automatically in violation of State Department policy when she exclusively used a private email during her four years as America's top diplomat.” From the March 6, 2015, article:
Clinton aides and department officials stressed this week that the former secretary of state did not violate State policy when she exclusively used a private email account for government work. However, it is currently unclear whether Clinton broke a State guideline dating back to 2005 that suggested “normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an (authorized information system), which has the proper level of security control.”
Those guidelines were filled with exemptions that could allow Clinton to use a private account.
The department official was careful to say that the people reviewing the documents are “not going to prejudge the outcome of the review of Secretary Clinton's 55,000 pages of emails.”
Clinton was not automatically in violation of State Department policy when she exclusively used a private email during her four years as America's top diplomat, the source added, contradicting other media on Thursday. [CNN, 3/6/15]
Politico Updated Story To Note That 2005 Policy Did Not Automatically Apply In That Case
Politico Clarified Limits Of The 2005 Policy, Which Does Not Automatically Apply To Use Of Personal Email. An updated version of the Politico article quoted a State Department official who explained that the 2005 policy “is limited to records containing such sensitive information” and added, “Reports claiming that by using personal email she is automatically out of step of that FAM are inaccurate.” [Politico, 3/6/15]
Associated Press: Person Who Set Up Or Maintain Server Traced To “Eric Hoteham.” The Associated Press claimed that it was “unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private email server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham.” The AP noted the name “does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches.” From a March 4, 2015, report:
It was unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private email server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham. That name does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches. Hoteham was listed as the customer at Clinton's $1.7 million home on Old House Lane in Chappaqua in records registering the Internet address for her email server since August 2010.
The Hoteham personality also is associated with a separate email server, presidentclinton.com, and a non-functioning website, wjcoffice.com, all linked to the same residential Internet account as Mrs. Clinton's email server. The former president's full name is William Jefferson Clinton. [Associated Press, 3/4/15]
But The Identify Was Just A Misspelled Name Of A Clinton Aide
NY Times: “Eric Hoteham” Is A “Misspelled” Name Of A “Former Aide To The Clintons.” The New York Times noted that “Eric Hoteham” is actually Eric Hothem, “a former aide to the Clintons, now works in finance in Washington.” The Times also noted his name was “misspelled in Internet records.” From a March 5, 2015, article:
In earlier years, Mrs. Clinton’s account at clintonemail.com was connected to a server registered to the Clintons’ Chappaqua home in the name of Eric P. Hothem. Mr. Hothem, a former aide to the Clintons, now works in finance in Washington, according to regulatory disclosure documents.
Mr. Hothem, whose name was misspelled in Internet records, did not return a message left on Wednesday with an assistant at his office. Mr. Cooper, whose name is on the clintonemail.com domain registration, now works at Teneo Holdings, a corporate advisory firm with a broad array of global business clients partly run by Douglas J. Band, a former adviser to Bill Clinton. [The New York Times, 3/5/15]
AP Subsequently Walked Back Its Reporting
AP Walked Back “Mysterious Identity” Behind Clinton Email Account, Allegations Of Clinton Running A “Homebrew” Server. Acknowledging the server was registered to Eric Hoteham, the AP clarified that Hoteham was an aide to Clinton and considered “one of the family's information technology experts” and that his name was actually spelled Hothem. [Associated Press, 3/5/15]