Over a five-year span, senior officials at the National Archives and Records Administrations (NARA) voiced growing alarm about Hillary Clinton’s record-keeping practices as secretary of state, according to internal documents shared with Fox News.
During Clinton’s final days in office, Paul Wester, the director of Modern Records Programs at NARA – essentially the agency’s chief records custodian – privately emailed five NARA colleagues to confide his fear that Clinton would take her official records with her when she left office, in violation of federal statutes.
Referring to a colleague whose full name is unknown, Wester wrote on December 11, 2012: “Tom heard (or thought he heard) from the Clinton Library Director that there are or may be plans afoot for taking her records from State to Little Rock.” That was a reference to the possibility that Clinton might seek to house her records at the Clinton Presidential Center, which was largely funded by the Clinton Foundation.
“[W]e need to discuss what we know, and how we should delicately go about learning more about…the transition plans for Secretary Clinton’s departure from State,” Wester added. He did not specify why the situation required “delicate” handling, but added that colleagues had “continued to invoke the specter of the Henry Kissinger experience vis-à-vis Hilary [sic] Clinton.”
That was a reference to how the secretary of state during the Nixon and Ford administrations, preparing to leave office in January 1977, stashed large segments of his classified papers on the upstate New York estate of his friend, Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller. It wasn’t until 2001 that Kissinger relented to demands from scholars and the U.S. government and made the documents available for research.
Under the Federal Records Act, NARA is entrusted with official oversight of Executive Branch agencies and their employees, aimed at ensuring that the records they generate in the discharge of their official duties are being properly preserved and stored.
The Wester email and 72 other internal documents released by NARA and the State Department earlier this month show NARA officers repeatedly expressed concerns that Clinton and her office were not observing the federal laws and regulations that govern recordkeeping – but that NARA never did much about it.
The 73 documents from NARA and State were turned over to Cause of Action, a non-partisan government accountability watchdog that had filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March, after the New York Times revealed that Clinton had exclusively used a private email server and domain name during her tenure as secretary of state. Cause of Action shared the documentswith Fox News on an exclusive basis, ahead of Senate testimony by the group’s executive director, Daniel Epstein.
“Given NARA’s stated concerns,” Epstein said in written testimony submitted this week to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, “it either was aware of the failure to preserve Mrs. Clinton’s emails or was extremely negligent in its efforts to monitor [the preservation of] senior officials’ emails.”
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Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.