State: Clinton Emails Could Reveal Rule-Breaking
Ambassador was told off in 2012 for using personal email
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2015 3:23 AM CST
Scott Gration stepped down as ambassador to Kenya before the release of a report strongly criticizing his email use.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton didn't automatically break the rules by using a personal email account at the State Department, according to a senior department official—but it's possible that a review of the 55,000 pages of emails she now wants released to the public could uncover violations of security policies. "We are not going to prejudge the outcome of the review of Secretary Clinton's 55,000 pages of emails," the official tells the Washington Post, which notes that this is the first time the department has sounded unsure whether she may have violated rules on the sending of sensitive information. In other developments:

  • While Clinton was secretary of state in 2012, the department slammed Scott Gration, the US ambassador to Kenya, for using private email for official business, the Hill reports. Gration "willfully disregarded Department regulations on the use of commercial email for official government business," according to a department report that said his "greatest weakness is his reluctance to accept clear-cut US Government decisions." Gration stepped down before the report, citing "differences with Washington regarding my leadership style and certain priorities."

  • But while the Gration report describes the policy on personal email introduced in 2005 as "clear-cut," the department now says it's a little more complicated than that. The policy states "sensitive but unclassified information should be handled on a system with certain security requirements except in certain circumstances," a State official tells Politico, explaining that it's possible the review will find no such "SBU" information in Clinton's emails.
  • Don't expect any quick answers on whether rules were broken: "The review is likely to take several months given the sheer volume of the document set," a department official tells Reuters.
  • It's not clear what impact the email issue will have on Clinton's 2016 hopes—especially since there is a shortage of strong Democratic challengers—but analysts say it's clear that any chance of a smooth campaign launch has evaporated. "A crucial part of a campaign of a successful campaign rollout is momentum," GOP strategist Kevin Madden tells CNN. "This reminds the public of Clinton hangovers they had, or every scandal that has been litigated. It is just drama after drama with them."