Clinton did not comply with federal email policy, watchdog finds

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Audit Finds Hillary Clinton Broke Federal Rules with Email Server

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton broke government rules by using a private email server without approval while U.S. secretary of state, an internal government watchdog said on Wednesday.

The long-awaited report by the State Department inspector general was the first official audit of the controversial arrangement to be made public so far, and was also critical of department record-keeping practices before Clinton's tenure.

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton tweetstorms on Trump: 'How cruel do you have to be to actually root for a crisis?'

It concluded that Clinton, now the front-runner in the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee, would not have been allowed to use the server in her home had she asked the department officials in charge of information security.

The report undermined Clinton's defense of her private server. She said it was allowed and that no permission was needed, although she has since apologized for the arrangement.

See Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail:

16 PHOTOS
2016 Election: Scenes from New York primary (Clinton, Trump)
See Gallery
Clinton did not comply with federal email policy, watchdog finds
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - On New York state primary night, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cheer watching the primary results during the Hillary Victory Party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - On New York state primary night, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch the primary results and enjoy the party during the Hillary Victory Party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Dupporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton snap cell phone pictures of her as she enters a victory party after winning the New York state primary election, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton celebrate at her New York primary campaign headquarters, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts as she arrives onstage at her New York presidential primary night rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., April 19, 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Members of the media await the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to a New York primary night event Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks following victory in the New York state primary on April 19, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump scored a crucial victory in the Republican primary in his home state of New York on April 19, advancing his bid to clinch the party's presidential nomination, US networks projected. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures after speaking in New York on April 19, 2016. Donald Trump scored a crucial victory in the Republican primary in his home state of New York on April 19, advancing his bid to clinch the party's presidential nomination, US networks projected. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump speakS at a campaign press conference moments after winning the republican presidential primary at Trump Tower in New York, NY on Tuesday April 19, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up following victory in the New York state primary on April 19, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump scored a crucial victory in the Republican primary in his home state of New York on April 19, advancing his bid to clinch the party's presidential nomination, US networks projected. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's granddaughter Arabella (L), daughter Ivanka (C) and wife Melania (R) listen to him speak at his New York presidential primary night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 19, 2016. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The report's highly critical findings included an account of State Department technology staff trying to internally raise concerns about the arrangement in 2010 only to be told to keep quiet by an official in Clinton's office.

It immediately fueled Republican criticism of Clinton in an already acrimonious race. The report will also add to Democratic anxieties about voter perceptions of Clinton as untrustworthy and secretive.

Several other inquiries are continuing, including a U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether the arrangement broke laws.

The inspector general's report cited "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" with State Department records that predated Clinton's tenure, and found problems with the email record-keeping of some of her predecessors that failed to comply with the Federal Records Act.

But it singled out Clinton for her decision to use a private server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, for government business, apparently without seeking authorization.

"OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server," the report said, using an abbreviation for the office of inspector general.

The report said she should have discussed the arrangement with the department's security and technology officials. Officials told the inspector general's office that they "did not - and would not - approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business." The reason, those officials said, is because it breached department rules and presented "security risks."

When two lower-level information technology officials tried to raise concerns about Clinton's email arrangement in late 2010, their supervisor in Clinton's office instructed them "never to speak of the Secretary's personal email system again," the report said. Their supervisor told them that department lawyers had approved of the system, but the inspector general's office said it found no evidence this was true.

Brian Fallon, a Clinton spokesman, said the report rebutted criticisms of Clinton made by her political opponents.

"Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary's server," he said in a statement.

He did not address the report's criticism of her use of a private server, something no other secretary of state has done.

Emails sent by Colin Powell, who was secretary of state from 2001 to 2005 and the first in that role to use email, were not properly archived, the report said, noting that the rules for email in place at the time were less comprehensive than those during Clinton's tenure.

Powell failed to keep any of his work emails, in breach of the Federal Records Act, while Clintonreturned some of hers to the department two years after she left, about 30,000, though the report notes that some are missing.

Officials in the inspector general's office interviewed John Kerry, the current secretary of state, and predecessors Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright for the report, which was released to the media by lawmakers on Wednesday. Kerry asked the inspector general to investigate after Clinton's email arrangement came to light last year. Representatives for Powell and Rice did not respond to requests or comment.

Clinton, who served as the nation's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, and her deputies, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, declined to be interviewed for the inspector general's investigation, the report said.

Republicans have used Clinton's email practice to suggest she was trying to hide government records from scrutiny under public-access laws.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that the findings "are just the latest chapter in the long saga of Hillary Clinton's bad judgment that broke federal rules and endangered our national security."

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said the report's key recommendations have already been acted upon.

"As this report underscores, agencies across the Federal Government are working to adapt decades-old recordkeeping practices to the email-dominated modern era," he said in a statement.

See Clinton supporters on the campaign trail:

40 PHOTOS
Hillary Clinton supporters on the campaign trail
See Gallery
Clinton did not comply with federal email policy, watchdog finds
Supporters John Nelson, 32, (L) and Dan Stifler, 32, cheer U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she arrives to speak on stage at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks during a campaign stop in Sacramento, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporter Monica Brown pins a Hillary Clinton button to her 2008 Hillary campaign t-shirt as she prepares for the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clintons visit to at a small restaurant in Vallejo, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake ATTENTION EDITORS - EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Supporters await the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Hillary supporter yells out with a picture of Donald Trump on her phone as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Supporters cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at a high school in Oxnard, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters hold a sign as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters during a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A young supporter cheers as she awaits the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a "Women for Hillary" event in Culver City, California, United States, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A supporter wears a sunglasses adorned with logos of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter listens as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Supporters listen to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at a campaign event in San Jose, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Women cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at the University of California Riverside in Riverside, California, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Marlena Steinbach, 9, (L) and her sister Ella Steinbach, 15, cheer the motorcade of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outside the IBEW union hall where Clinton was due to speak in Commerce, California, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Artist Gretchen Baer of BisBee, Arizona, stands next to the "Hillcar", a car she painted and decorated in support of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as she stands on a street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
Six-year-old Kayla Johnson (C) her mother Andrea (L) and friend London Walters (R) react as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton enters the Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Hartnell College, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Salinas, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrive to attend a primary night event during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters cheer as they listen to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a rally at Louisville Slugger Field's Hall of Fame Pavilion in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
TOPSHOT - A car with the face of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drives past a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Broad Street during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House. / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this April 19, 2016, photo, supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton celebrate at her New York primary campaign headquarters. With six months to go, the U.S. election campaign has boiled down to an unprecedented contest that could transform America's role in the world. Democrat Hillary Clinton, a fixture on the political stage for a quarter century, is set to face Donald Trump, a brash billionaire real estate mogul who has never held elected office. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Supporters listen to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a rally at Louisville Slugger Field's Hall of Fame Pavilion in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters listen to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaign at East Los Angeles College in Los Angeles, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with a supporter after a speaking at a rally at Louisville Slugger Field's Hall of Fame Pavilion in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attend a "Women for Hillary" campaign rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A supporter fans herself as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter holds up an action figure of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before Clinton spoke at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton boos at the mention of Donald Trump as Clinton speaks at Carnegie Mellon University on a campaign stop, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a sign during a campaign event featuring Clinton at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 06: Supporters look on as democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally on May 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in California ahead of the State's presidential primary on June 7th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Planned Parenthood and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supporters looks to the stage during the National Anthem during a Clinton campaign event at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes photos with supporters in the audience after speaking during a campaign event at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Monday, March 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 2: A members of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) and Hillary Clinton supporters outside Hillary Clinton rally at the Jacob Davits Center in New York, New York on March 2, 2016. Photo Credit: Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX
Supporters cheer for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while she speaks at a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters after a town hall meeting at Cumberland United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners