State Department found 4 emails about drones sent by Clinton

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New Questions Raised About Clinton's Email Use

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department says it can find only four emails sent between former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and her staff concerning drone strikes and certain U.S. surveillance programs, and those notes have little to do with either subject.

She asks for a phone call in one, a phone number in another. She seeks advice on how best to condemn information leaks, and accidentally replies to one work email with questions apparently about decorations.

The messages also reveal Clinton used an iPad to email while secretary of state in addition to her BlackBerry, despite her explanation she set up a private email account and homebrew server while she was the nation's top diplomat so that she could carry a single device.

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State Department found 4 emails about drones sent by Clinton
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)
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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)
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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 “Hard Choices” 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 Obama’s 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 “a dreadful, deteriorating situation.” 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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The four emails were obtained by The Associated Press under a 2013 Freedom of Information Act request and offer one of the first looks into Clinton's correspondence at the State Department. It is the first time it has provided Clinton-related documents in response to several outstanding FOIA requests, the first of which AP filed in 2010.

The response also came about three weeks after AP filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department, seeking to force the release of materials during Clinton's tenure.

Clinton is widely expected to announce her candidacy for president next month, and will enter the race as the favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

The 2013 request sought correspondence between Clinton and her advisers over a four-year period that contained keywords such as "drone," "metadata" and "prism." The latter was among several code words for controversial U.S. surveillance programs revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Although Clinton left office four months before the Snowden leaks were first published in June 2013, the AP's request sought messages about those programs before they were publicly disclosed. The request also asked for certain emails about government programs to eavesdrop on terror suspects believed to be foreigners.

Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said the low number of emails provided to AP could be because the State Department uses different words to describe its operations - such as "UAV," or unmanned aerial vehicle, instead of "drone."

It's also possible that Clinton and her advisers' emails are not in the department's archives, he said.

"If there are four, one would expect there to be quite a few more than that," Aftergood said. "And it looks like another indication of faulty records management and retrieval at the State Department."

Clinton has said she exchanged about 60,000 emails while secretary of state, about half of which were work-related. She said none contained classified information, and that her private email system did not suffer any security breaches.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email server gave Clinton complete control over access to her message archives. She deleted emails - some 30,000 in total - she described as personal in nature, and has declined the request of Republicans that she turn over her server for an independent review.

Among the four emails obtained by AP is one in which Clinton accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a message sent in September 2011 by adviser Huma Abedin to Clinton's personal email account, which contained an AP story about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations.

"I like the idea of these," she wrote to Abedin. "How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I'd prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?"

Abedin replied, "Did u mean to send to me?" To which Clinton wrote, "No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I'm not sure replies go thru."

Earlier this month, Clinton said she chose a personal account over a government one out of convenience, describing it as a way to carry a single device, rather than a State Department-issued BlackBerry for work emails and a second device for personal messages.

"Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices," Clinton said. Her spokesman, Nick Merrill, said Tuesday that the secretary used her iPad from time to time, primarily to read news clippings.

Also Tuesday, Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, said he wants to interview Clinton by May 1.

Gowdy said the recorded interview would help the committee better understand decisions she made related to the creation, maintenance, retention, and ultimately deletion of public records - namely her emails.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Tuesday that Clinton told Gowdy's committee months ago that she was ready to appear at a public hearing.

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