POLITICS

The White House Knew About Hillary Clinton's Private Emails In August: Report

03/06/2015 12:41 pm ET | Updated Mar 06, 2015

The White House was alerted in August 2014 to the potential problem of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state, Politico reported Friday.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Clinton exclusively used a personal email to conduct State Department business, potentially in violation of federal regulations. A subsequent report by the Associated Press detailed how the email was hosted by a server located at her family's home in Chappaqua, New York. While some have pointed out that rules against using personal email for official business were not relayed to officials until 2014, the potential 2016 presidential candidate has faced criticism over the perceived lack of transparency. Clinton has since asked the State Department to make the private emails publicly available.

According to the Politico report, President Barack Obama's administration has been aware of the potential controversy since last summer, when a House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi requested documents from the State Department. Officials in Foggy Bottom noticed that the documents included Clinton's private address.

State Department officials noticed that some of the 15,000 pages of documents included a personal email address for Clinton, and State and White House officials conferred on how to handle the revelation, which they expected the committee to notice. But they felt that Clinton’s personal staff should take the lead, since she was no longer in government, and Clinton aides decided to wait and see.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said aides believed the former secretary’s email practices broke no rules and were no cause for concern.

An earlier report by the Associated Press said White House counsel was unaware of Clinton's use of a private account until the Benghazi investigation.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has acknowledged that everyone in the administration is under "specific guidance" to keep records of their emails, but has stopped short of saying whether Clinton violated regulations with the private account.

“Very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees in the Obama administration should use their official email accounts when they’re conducting official government business,” Earnest said. “However, when there are situations where personal email accounts are used, it is important for those records to be preserved, consistent with the Federal Records Act."

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett offered a similar assessment in a Friday interview with Bloomberg.

"The president has a very firm policy that email should be kept on government systems," Jarrett said. "He believes in transparency. And I know that the State Department is currently working with the National Archives to make sure that all of Secretary Clinton's emails are captured."

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