Americans will have to wait until President Obama leaves office to
see his email exchanges with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But a new batch of State Department emails from when Clinton ran the
agency reveals the breadth of her personal network — from Lady Gaga to
then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The 7,000 emails released Friday show her Rolodex included powerful
celebrities, CEOs, political advisers and politicians that she’s now
tapping for her Democratic presidential campaign.
The release, the largest since the State Department began posting the
records in May, show Clinton and her aides balanced requests from a
long list of boldface names.
Lady Gaga complimented her, Blair praised her for doing the “Lord’s
Work,” Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked for
technology help and former President Jimmy Carter pitched in on
negotiations with North Korea.
But as with prior releases, any communication between Obama and Clinton was absent.
An administration official told Fox News there is a “small number” of
such exchanges and described them as “mostly non-substantive” because
the two leaders conducted most their discussions in person or by phone.
The White House position is that the president’s communications are
not subject to public record requests under the Freedom of Information
Act and can be withheld until he leaves office in 2007.
The George W. Bush White House likewise held that his correspondence
would not be released until he left office, while the Clinton campaign
has pledged to make her records public.
Meanwhile, the State Department plans to release a total of 55,000
emails handed over by Clinton, who was using a private email address and
server during her tenure as secretary of state, from 2009 to 2013.
A State Department spokesman said the latest batch contains 200-300
emails with information that has since been deemed classified.
Heavily redacted exchanges regarding Burma, Iran, Iraq, Syria and
Yemen are among the retroactively classified emails in the batch.
Clinton has faced questions about whether her unusual email setup,
which involved a private server located at her New York home, was
sufficient to ensure the security of government information and
retention of records.
At least two Senate committees are still investigating her email
arrangement and seeking the release of correspondence from her top
aides. The FBI is also investigating the security of Clinton’s private
Clinton has maintained all along that she had never received or sent any classified documents under the setup.
Republicans and others investigating the 2012 terror attacks on a
U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, have shown that Ambassador Chris
Stevens, who died in the strikes, made numerous official requests for
additional security. However, he did not appear to have Clinton’s
private email address.
Unclassified exchanges include an email from close adviser Sidney
Blumenthal, who refers to Obama’s faltering poll numbers, calling it the
“vulnerability of charisma.” Blumenthal has been a frequent name among
the thousands of emails already released, often offering the
then-secretary advice and gossip on foreign policy flashpoints,
including the run-up to the intervention in Libya.
Though past email releases showed Blumenthal offering advice mostly
on Libya, this batch showed him also writing to Clinton about Syria and
Some communications even pertained to the use of personal email.
A June 2011 email from senior official Anne-Marie Slaughter to
Clinton advised “it would be a great time for someone inside or outside
to make a statement/ write an op-ed that points out that State’s
technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and
even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to
be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.”
Republicans zeroed in on the fact that hundreds more emails contained retroactively classified material.
“This court-ordered email release is another reminder of why Hillary
Clinton cannot be trusted in the White House,” Republican National
Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
While Clinton’s private email address was unknown to much of official
Washington, at least one Hollywood celebrity wrote to her there. Actor
Ben Affleck, a longtime Clinton supporter, urged her in April 2012 to
review a draft of a report about security problems in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
Roughly half of Clinton’s 30,000 work-related emails are now public,
and the State Department’s effort to release the rest will linger into
next year. Most of the correspondence made public to date involves the
mundane workings of government — scheduling meetings, organizing secure
phone lines and booking flights.
A few of them hint at the ways Clinton maintained her network of
campaign donors, even while serving in a position at a distance from
electoral politics. In a June 2011 message, an aide informs Clinton that
longtime donor Susie Buell contributed $200,000 toward a summit at
which Clinton was scheduled to speak.
“She wants it to be wonderful for you,” wrote Clinton aide Melanne Verveer.
Other emails highlight the struggles of her daily life at the State Department.
In April 2011, daughter Chelsea Clinton, using the email alias Diane
Reynolds, emailed her mother a link to a Wall Street Journal story
headlined “The Sleepless Elite: Why Some People Can Run on Little Sleep
and Get So Much Done.”