Hillary Clinton email trove under review for release
Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address at the 18th annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University, in New York, April 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/TREVOR COLLENS (Photo credit should read TREVOR COLLENS/AFP/Getty Images)
KEENE, NH - APRIL 20: Democratic presidential hopeful and former U.S. Sectetary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to employees of Whitney Brothers, an educational furniture manufacturer, at a round table discussionon April 20, 2015 in Keene, New Hampshire. This marks Clinton's first major political event in New Hampshire after announcing her campaign for president a little over a week ago. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NORWALK, IA - APRIL 15: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on during a roundtable discussion with members of the small business community at Capital City Fruit on April 15, 2015 in Norwalk, Iowa. Hillary Clinton continues to campaign throughout Iowa as she makes her second bid for President of the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE - APRIL 21: Secretary Hillary Clinton participates in a roundtable with administrators, teachers and students, at a Concord technical training community college in Concord, New Hampshire on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 16: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks on stage during a ceremony to induct her into the Irish America Hall of Fame on March 16, 2015 in New York City. The Irish America Hall of Fame was founded in 2010 and recognizes exceptional figures in the Irish American community. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a discussion on 'our nation's urban centers,' and 'challenges from housing and transportation to education and workforce accessibility.' at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a round table conversation and press conference announcing a childhood development initiative with first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray on April 1, 2015 in New York City. The initiative is between New York City Children's Cabinet and Too Small to Fail. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 16: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raises her glass during a toast at a ceremony to induct her into the Irish America Hall of Fame on March 16, 2015 in New York City. The Irish America Hall of Fame was founded in 2010 and recognizes exceptional figures in the Irish American community. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to a press conference after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations on March 10, 2015 in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as Secretary of State. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, speaks during a news conference at the United Nations (UN) in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton defended the legality of her use of a private e-mail account and server while she served as secretary of state, saying that she had done so out of a desire for convenience but should have used a government account for work purposes. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks on stage with Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton for the official release of the No Ceilings Full Participation Report which coincides with the start of the 59th session of the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women on March 9, 2015 in New York City. Global and community leaders participated in the program which looked to highlight the findings showing 20 years of global data compiled by No Ceilings reveals that there is more to done to achieve Ãfull and equal participationÃ of women and girls worldwide. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 04: Former United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks on stage at the 2014 Massachusetts Conference for Women at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on December 4, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Massachusetts Conference for Women)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Hillary Clinton attends the New-York Historical Society 2014 History Makers Gala at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on November 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Cookstoves Future Summit on November 21, 2014 in New York City. Clinton, who is the Leadership Council Chair for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, spoke to donors, activists and members of the media on the importance of clean cookstoves for families in parts of the developing world. Globally, 3 billion people rely on solid fuels to cook. This has resulted in polluted household air that kills over 4 million people every year and sickening millions more. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves looks to replace old stoves with more efficient and cleaner one's which would drastically reduce the negative health issues associated with older stoves. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 01: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigns for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) during the 'Women with Mary Geaux Vote' event at the Sugar Mill on November 1, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Landrieu is faced off against two Republicans for the senate seat, Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 15: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaches for U.S. Senate Democratic candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) while campaigning for Grimes October 15, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. Grimes remains locked in a tight race with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with midterm elections less than three weeks away. Also pictured is Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (L). (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles while Incumbent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a 'Women for Cuomo' campaign event on October 23, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, NY. Cuomo was joined by Clinton who, citing his record on women's rights, endorsed him in the upcoming gubernatorial election on November 4, 2014. U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic nominee for New York Lt. Gov., also spoke at the event. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on September 24, 2014 in New York City. The annual meeting, established in 2005 by President Clinton, convenes global leaders to discuss solutions to world problems. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the 8th Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards at Sheraton Times Square on September 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 06: Former president of United States (US) Bill Clinton (R) and his wife, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L), leave St. Ignatius Loyola Church after the funeral of former three-term governor Mario Cuomo on January 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Hillary Clinton, Michael Esper and Bill Clinton pose backstage at the hit musical 'The Last Ship' on Broadway at The Neil Simon Theater on December 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: Event honoree Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks on stage during the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple Of Hope Awards at the New York Hilton on December 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: (L-R) Tony Bennett, Donato Tramuto, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kerry Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy, and Robert De Niro attend the RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala at Hilton Hotel Midtown on December 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for RFK Ripple Of Hope)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: Honoree Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) accepts an award from Ethel Kennedy at the RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala at Hilton Hotel Midtown on December 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for RFK Ripple Of Hope)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, joins U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., left, and Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., during a get out the vote rally center, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 in Nashua, NH (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, talks to voters with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., right, and Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin work the grill during Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Dick Furinash, of Liberty Center, Iowa, stands with cutouts of former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton during U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as she walks with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, left, former President Bill Clinton and Ruth Harkin, right, as they arrive at Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions from Lissa Muscatine, proprietor of the Politics and Prose bookstore during a discussion on the empowerment of women and girls at the Ford Foundation, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, in New York. The discussion was part of a two-day conference assessing the progress of women's empowerment since a similar conference took place in Beijing in 1995.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, greets members of the audience after a discussion on the empowerment of women and girls at the Ford Foundation, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, in New York. The discussion was part of a two-day conference assessing the progress of women's empowerment since a similar conference took place in Beijing in 1995.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 16: Hillary Rodham Clinton signs copies of her book 'Hard Choices' at BookHampton on August 16, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign her book 'Hards Choices' at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on Martha's Vineyard on August 13, 2014. Clinton on August 12 denied attacking US President Barack Obama over his foreign policy in Syria and Iraq, insisting she was looking forward to 'hugging it out' with the US leader when they meet at a party later this week. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves to the media after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 23: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a during a round table event to launch the 'Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing' campaign at the
Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute on July 23, 2014 in Oakland, California. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the 'Talking is Teaching; Talk Read Sing' campaign in partnership withToo Small to Fail and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation that encourages parents and caregivers to close the word gap by talking, singing and reading to children every day from the birth. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arrives with France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Quai d'Orsay, in Paris, Monday, July 7, 2014. The former U.S. secretary of state was in Paris or the publication in France of her book âHard Choicesâ which recounts her four years running American diplomacy. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius offered a reception in her honor. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, left, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, listen as President Barack Obama makes a statement to the media before a meeting with his cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and US President barack Obama (R) are greeted by Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) at her residence in Yangon on November 19, 2012 . Obama arrived in Myanmar for a historic visit aimed at encouraging a string of dramatic political reforms in the former pariah state. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) looks on as US President Barack Obama (2nd L) speaks during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (2nd R) on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on November 20, 2012. During the two-day East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Obama was scheduled to hold talks with the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan's Yoshihiko Noda. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton board Air Force One at the airport in Yangon on November 19, 2012. Huge crowds greeted Barack Obama in Myanmar on the first visit by a serving US president to the former pariah state to encourage a string of startling political reforms. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image provided by the United Nations The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, meets with Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State of the USA at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning Nov. 21, 2012. Clinton will try on Wednesday to wring an elusive truce deal from Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas rulers after earlier efforts to end more than a week of fighting broke down amid a furious spasm of violence. (AP Photo/United Nations, Evan Schneider)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, speaks during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts to host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
In this July 15, 2014, photo, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts to host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," in New York. As Clinton promotes her book, liberals in the Democratic party are elbowing into the 2016 presidential conversation while pitching populist messages on the economy and immigration. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
US President Barack Obama(2nd-L), First Lady Michelle Obama(L) along with former president Bill Clinton(3rd-L) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton(4th-L) take part in a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the late 35th president of the US John F. Kennedy at Kennedy's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery on November 20, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures while speaking to host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media after he "doused eleven flames" as he tours the Shwedagon Pagoda with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. This is the first visit to Myanmar by a sitting U.S. president. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State HiIlary Rodham Clinton speaks with people while signing copies of her new book "Hard Choices," at Harvard Book Store, Monday, June 16, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photo with her new book "Hard Choices," her recounting of her time as President Barack Obamaâs top diplomat, at a book signing event at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Hillary Clinton participates in a conversation about her career in government and her new book, "Hard Choices.," at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, Thursday, June 12, 2014. Clinton says what is happening in Iraq is âa dreadful, deteriorating situation.â The former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential contender weighed in Thursday on the al-Qaida-inspired group that led this week's capture of key Sunni-dominated cities in Iraq. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton answers a question from the crowd during an appearance to promote her new book, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States (R), speaks next to Christoph Amend, editor in chief of Zeit Magazin, during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank May 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim joined others to speak about women's rights. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government will examine thousands of Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails for public release - and for possible security lapses - after revelations she used a private account to conduct official business as secretary of state, a senior State Department official said Thursday.
Clinton's extensive use of private emails has raised questions in the buildup to her expected presidential run about whether she adhered to the letter or spirit of accountability laws.
The official said the department would review 55,000 pages of emails amassed from Clinton's personal files to determine if there were any instances where she improperly transmitted sensitive information. The official was not authorized to be quoted on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.
State Department policy holds that information that is not classified as secret but contains sensitive national security or diplomatic information can only be conveyed on secure channels except for certain circumstances, the official explained.
Clinton's extensive use of private emails heightened security risks for her communications, chiefly the potential for inadvertent disclosure of such sensitive information and danger from hackers, several information security experts told The Associated Press.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in Saudi Arabia, said Thursday his department "will undertake this task as rapidly as possible in order to make sure that we are dealing with the sheer volume in a responsible way."
Officials said Thursday the review could take months to complete, potentially a drawn-out distraction for Clinton and an unnerving development for the many Democrats who see her as the party's presidential nominee-in-waiting for 2016.
The review was prompted by the disclosure that Clinton, in a departure from predecessors, relied exclusively on the private account for emails about government business. The emails were sent from a private computer server using an Internet address that traces back to Clinton's family home in Chappaqua, New York.
The department announced the review soon after Clinton addressed the matter for the first time, saying on Twitter: "I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them."
Clinton aides and the State Department both say she never received or transmitted classified information on her private email account. But unclassified diplomatic details and internal matters are sometimes considered sensitive and can be targeted by hackers and foreign governments.
"She had other ways of communicating through classified email through her assistants or her staff," said Marie Harf, speaking for the State Department. Officials have said Clinton turned over more than 55,000 pages of emails to the department.
Clinton's use of a private email account for official business appeared to contradict instructions from her own office in June 2011 to all State Department employees. In a cable from Clinton's office, employees were advised to "avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts." It cited reports that unspecified "online adversaries" were targeting personal email accounts of State Department employees. The cable was first obtained by Fox News.
The State Department told the AP that Clinton's instructions in 2011 only applied to emails containing "sensitive but unclassified" information, a category that includes personal information about employees or the public, business secrets, details of ongoing investigations or records about visa or asylum applications. Only one instruction in the cable directly referred to rules about such information, an existing ban on anyone auto-forwarding government emails to their personal accounts.
Even though the instructions bore Clinton's name, it was not clear whether she wrote them or was aware of them. Virtually every cable leaving the department's headquarters in Washington would have had Clinton's name on it while she was in town.
Clinton's private email practices gave her significant control over access to her message archives, highly unusual in government. They also could complicate the State Department's legal responsibilities in finding and turning over official emails in response to any investigations, lawsuits or public records requests.
The matter also raises questions about whether anyone in government examined Clinton's private email server and network before it began operating and continued to review it regularly during her tenure. Federal regulations subject the computer systems of some contractors and other organizations to federal oversight when they interact with government systems to ensure they are protected.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the government can censor or withhold emails to protect information that would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose business secrets or confidential decision-making in certain areas. It wasn't clear whether the State Department would automatically apply those provisions to its review of Clinton's emails, or use its discretion to release even emails that might be covered under those exemptions.
Withholding emails merely because they might be embarrassing or expose government incompetence or malfeasance is not permitted under the act's guidelines.
The State Department is already overwhelmed with nearly 11,000 pending requests for various emails under the open records law. More than 75 separate requests for Clinton material were filed with the State Department between 2009 and 2013 by media organizations and others. Associated Press requests for Clinton emails and other documents have been delayed for more than a year - and in one case, four years - without any results. The AP said this week it is considering legal action to compel responses.
On Wednesday, the House committee investigating the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, issued subpoenas for emails from Clinton. It also instructed technology companies it did not identify to preserve any relevant documents in their possession.
The White House legal counsel's office was not aware of Clinton's private email account until the committee sought her communications during an earlier exchange with the department, according to a person familiar with the matter. That person spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authorization to speak on the record.