Hillary Clinton's unseemly decision to forgo using an official government email account while she was secretary of state may not have violated federal rules on records preservation, but it was a mistake.
A very likely 2016 presidential candidate, Clinton exclusively used a private account hosted by a private computer server to shield her correspondence, both official and personal. As secretary, she wasn't required to use the government account, and it was not out of the ordinary for cabinet members and other elected officials to sometimes use private accounts. Why Clinton took the risky step of doing so, especially while in a position that involved access to sensitive and classified information, is unknown. Not using the .gov email was a troubling lack of judgment that she needs to address.
In October, the State Department asked former secretaries of state to provide their private email exchanges about official business to comply with new rules that they be preserved in the National Archives. Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of emails from an unknown total that had been scrutinized by her aides. Then a few minutes before midnight on Wednesday, as the controversy bubbled and the Benghazi brigade of Republicans in Congress fired off new subpoenas, Clinton tweeted that she wants the State Department to make those 55,000 pages of emails public. That's a process that could take months.CartoonsCartoonists on Hillary ClintonCartoonMatt Davies' latest cartoon: HourglassCommentSubmit your letter
It's a start to repair the damage, but it's not going to be enough. We don't know what criteria her aides used to determine what to hand over. Clinton should make the private servers containing all the correspondence, even deleted emails, available to the State Department for an independent review. This way we'll know that every email relevant to the historical record, even if embarrassing, will be preserved.