Deleted--Hillary Clinton: 'I Chose Not to Keep My Personal E-mails'

Melanie Arter | March 10, 2015 | 4:18pm EDT
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Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

( – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a press conference Tuesday to address the controversy surrounding her use of a private e-mail account and server during her tenure at the State Department said she deleted personal e-mails and that she did not send any classified materials by e-mail.

“In the end, I chose not to keep my personal e-mails – e-mails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends, as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes. No one wants their personal e-mails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy,” said Clinton.

She said she “opted for convenience” by using her personal e-mail account, “which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and personal e-mails instead of two.”

“Looking back, it would have better if I simply used a second e-mail account and carried a second phone, but at the time this didn’t seem like an issue,” she added.

“The vast majority of my work e-mails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant, they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department,” Mrs. Clinton said.

E-mails sent to overseas email addresses or other federal employees who used personal e-mail accounts, however, would not have been “captured and preserved” in the same way.

When asked how she decided which personal e-mails to get rid of, how she got rid of them, and how she would respond to questions about her being the arbiter of what she released, Mrs. Clinton said, “In going through the e-mails, there were over 60,000 in total – sent and received. About half were work-related and went to the State Department, and about half were personal that were not in any way related to my work.

“I had no reason to save them, but that was my decision, because the federal guidelines were clear, and the State Department request was clear for any government employee – it is that employee’s responsibility to determine what’s personal and what’s work-related,” she said, adding that she was “very confident in the process and the emails that were produced.”

“I feel like once the American public begins to see the e-mails, they will have an unprecedented insight into a high-government official’s daily communications, which I think will be quite interesting,” she said.

“Did you or any of your aides delete any government-related e-mails from your personal account and what lengths are you willing to go to prove that you didn’t. Some people, including supporters of yours, have suggested having an independent arbiter look at your server for instance?” a reporter asked Mrs. Clinton.

“We did not. In fact, my direction to conduct the thorough investigation was to err on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work-related,” she said. “That doesn’t mean they will be by the State Department, once the State Department goes through them, but out of an abundance of caution and care, we wanted to send that message unequivocally.

“That is the responsibility of the individual, and I have fulfilled that responsibility, and I have no doubt that we’ve done exactly what we should have done. When the search was conducted, we were asking that any email be identified and preserved that could potentially be federal records, and that’s exactly what we did, and we went – as I said – beyond that, and the process produced over 30,000 work e-mails,” she added.

Mrs. Clinton said she “more than met the request from the State Department.”

“How can the public be assured that when you deleted e-mails that were personal in nature that you didn’t also delete e-mails that were professional but possibly unflattering, and what do you think about this Republican idea of having an independent third party come in and examine your e-mails?” a reporter asked the former first lady.

“First of all, you would have to ask that question to every single federal employee, because the way the system works, the federal employee, the individual – whether they have one device, two devices, three devices, how many addresses – they make the decision,” Mrs. Clinton said.

“So even if you have a work-related device with a work-related dot gov account, you choose what goes on that. That is the way our system works, and so we trust and count on the judgment of thousands maybe millions of people to make those decisions, and I feel that I did and even more – that I went above and beyond what I was requested to do, and again, those will be out in the public domain, and people will be able to judge for themselves,” she added.

When asked whether she was briefed on the security implications of using her own personal e-mail server and e-mail address, Mrs. Clinton said, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material, so I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

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