Washington Post Tries To Repackage Old Clinton Email Story As A New Scandal

The Washington Post sensationalized previously and extensively reported information by hyping it as “new information” in order to erroneously portray an inconsistency between the timeline laid out by Hillary Clinton and the State Department regarding the process of her emails being turned over to the department. Responding a question from the Post, the State Department stated that they first inquired about Clinton's email during the summer of 2014 after her personal email use was brought to their attention. But the State Department's response to the paper is not new or different from the department's past statements on the issue, nor is it inconsistent with Clinton's account.

Washington Post Repackaged Old Information As New To Scandalize Hillary Clinton's Email Use

Washington Post: “State Department Provided New Information Tuesday That Undercuts Clinton's Characterization” Of Records Request Pertaining To Emails. The Washington Post reported September 22 that “State Department officials provided new information Tuesday that undercuts Clinton's characterization” of her “decision last year to turn over thousands of work-related e-mails as a response to a routine-sounding records request.” The Post wrote that the request for Clinton's work-related emails “was not simply about general record-keeping but was prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system.” The article also highlighted as “new information” the report that the agency “first contacted her in the summer of 2014, at least three months before [they] asked Clinton and three of her predecessors to provide their e-mails.” But contrary to the Post's implication, this information in no way contradicts Clinton's own statement that she had provided her emails to State in response to their request for work-related emails from four previous secretaries of State. From the article (emphasis added):

Throughout the controversy over her use of a private e-mail system while she was secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton has described her decision last year to turn over thousands of work-related e-mails as a response to a routine-sounding records request.

“When we were asked to help the State Department make sure they had everything from other secretaries of state, not just me, I'm the one who said, 'Okay, great, I will go through them again,' ” Clinton said Sunday on CBS's “Face the Nation.” “And we provided all of them.”

But State Department officials provided new information Tuesday that undercuts Clinton's characterization. They said the request was not simply about general rec­ord-keeping but was prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system. They also said they first contacted her in the summer of 2014, at least three months before the agency asked Clinton and three of her predecessors to provide their e-mails.

“In the process of responding to congressional document requests pertaining to Benghazi, State Department officials recognized that it had access to relatively few email records from former Secretary Clinton,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement e-mailed to The Washington Post. “State Department officials contacted her representatives during the summer of 2014 to learn more about her email use and the status of emails in that account.” [The Washington Post, 9/22/15]

But It Was Reported Months Ago That Requests For Clinton's Records Came After Lawyers Noticed Her Personal Email Use In Summer 2014

NY Times In March: State Department Lawyers Began Inquiring Into Clinton's Email Use Last Summer After A Benghazi-Related Records Review Drew Their Attention To Her Personal Email Account. The New York Times reported March 5 that Clinton's decision to turn over her emails followed “the review of Benghazi-related documents last summer ... within the State Department, [that] set off the chain of events leading to the public disclosure this week of Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email account” :

As State Department lawyers sifted last summer through a new batch of documents related to the Benghazi attacks, they repeatedly saw something that caught their attention: emails sent to and from a personal account for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The lawyers, according to current and former State Department officials, were working to respond to a request from a specially appointed House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Libya. But they noticed that among the 15,000 documents they examined, there were no emails to or from an official departmental account for Mrs. Clinton.

“This all raised the question to us: What else are we missing, and what do we need to comply' with the request, said one official briefed on the matter.”

Mrs. Clinton's spokesman and the State Department have cast her decision to hand over her emails as motivated by efforts to update the department's record management system. “When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes,” Nick Merrill, the Clinton spokesman, said on Sunday.

But it was the review of Benghazi-related documents last summer that, within the State Department, set off the chain of events leading to the public disclosure this week of Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email account, according to the current and former department officials. [The New York Times, 3/5/15]

Politico: State Department Acknowledged In March That Benghazi Investigation “Played A Role In” The Agency's Decision To Ask Hillary Clinton And Three Other Secretaries Of State" To Turn Over All Work-Related Emails. Politico reported March 6 that “the State Department acknowledged Friday that a Congressional investigation into the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi played a role in the agency's decision to ask Hillary Clinton and three other secretaries of state to turn over copies of all work-related emails they sent or received on private accounts during their tenure” :

In a reversal, the State Department acknowledged Friday that a Congressional investigation into the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi played a role in the agency's decision to ask Hillary Clinton and three other secretaries of state to turn over copies of all work-related emails they sent or received on private accounts during their tenure.

State spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters that a special House committee's ongoing probe into the Benghazi incident was one of many factors that led the department to send a request last October that resulted in Clinton sending her former agency 55,000 pages of emails she exchanged on an unofficial account.

“Certainly, that's a factor, but ... as we've said now a few times, it was not any one thing that prompted this,” Harf said at a daily briefing dominated by questions about the email issue dogging Clinton as she prepares to launch a presidential bid. [Politico, 3/6/15]

And It Was Previously Reported That The State Department Took Up The Matter With Clinton's Lawyers “Beginning In August,” And Later Sent Formal Requests For Records To Clinton And Her Predecessors That October

NY Times: “Beginning In August, Senior State Department Officials Held Negotiations With Mrs. Clinton's Lawyers To Gain Access To Her Personal Email Records,” Leading To Letter To Former Secretaries Seeking Their Emails. The New York Times reported March 5 that “senior State Department officials held negotiations with Mrs. Clinton's lawyers and advisers to gain access to her personal email records” beginning in August:

Beginning in August, senior State Department officials held negotiations with Mrs. Clinton's lawyers and advisers to gain access to her personal email records. At one point, her advisers met face-to-face with department officials in Washington.

In October, the State Department sent a letter to Mrs. Clinton and all former secretaries of state back to Madeleine K. Albright, seeking emails and other documents in their possession that related to their government work.

Finally, in December, dozens of boxes filled with 50,000 pages of printed emails from Mrs. Clinton's personal account were delivered to the State Department. Those documents were then examined by department lawyers, who found roughly 900 pages pertaining to the Benghazi attacks. [The New York Times, 3/5/15]

Secretary Powell, Who Also Used Personal Email For Government Use, Was Unable To Turn Any Emails Over To State. As Politico reported March 8:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he doesn't have any emails to turn over to the State Department.

Appearing on ABC's “This Week” Sunday, Powell responded to revelations that he used a personal email account, rather than a government one, when he was in charge of the State Department. Questions about his email use arose last week when it was disclosed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal email account during her tenure.

“I don't have any to turn over. I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files,” Powell said. “A lot of the emails that came out of my personal account went into the State Department system. They were addressed to State Department employees and state.gov domain, but I don't know if the servers in the State Department captured those or not.” [Politico, 3/8/15]