By Jesse Byrnes
Clinton-led State Dept. criticized US ambassador for using private email
While former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWhat does Bill think of Hillary's Chris Wallace interview? Trump tops Clinton on speech ratings GOP senator’s camp to woo Clinton fans MORE operated exclusively on personal email accounts, the State Department in 2012 issued a withering report on a U.S. ambassador in part over his use of private email.
The U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General report said Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration "willfully disregarded Department regulations on the use of commercial email for official government business," saying that his "greatest weakness is his reluctance to accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions."
Gration, a former Air Force major general, left his "dream job" at the State Department weeks before the report was released in 2012 over “differences with Washington regarding my leadership style and certain priorities," he told The Washington Post.
The report mentioned several items of concern regarding Gration, including his management skills and reluctance to read relevant classified messages, but also highlighted how shortly after arriving to the Nairobi embassy in May 2011, Gration had a commercial Internet connection installed so he could send private emails.
He also distributed a self-written policy allowing himself and others to use private email for official business, according to the inspector general report. Gration preferred using Gmail, according to The New Republic, and worked from a bathroom, which allowed for an unsecured network. Staffers sat on the toilet for meetings.
The inspector general report noted that the government's email system provides automatic security updates and maintains public records, while the ambassador's use of private email in the office and "his flouting of direct instructions" put his staff in a position of listening to their boss versus obeying agency policy.
"I did all my official business on the State Department communications system. I supplemented it with my personal e-mail, but it was never a security issue," Gration told Foreign Policy following the report's release in 2012.
"I have a background in secure communications. I know what is right and what is wrong. I did everything correctly, and I have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide," he added.
The report gains renewed attention this week after news emerged that Clinton exclusively operated on private email accounts during her four years as secretary of State, from 2009 to 2013.
Clinton has so far not directly addressed a growing number of questions regarding her email use, first reported by The New York Times, including concerns over the security of her private email system and maintenance of all public records.
President Obama appointed Gration as the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, where he served before working in Kenya.
Gration did not immediately return a request for comment, while a spokesman for the Inspector General said "the report speaks for itself" and offered no additional comment.
Asked about the report in light of news Clinton similarly used private email, a State Department official told The Hill that Gration offered his resignation shortly before the release of the report, which cited "several concerns with management and leadership at our embassy in Nairobi.”
This story was last updated at 5:46 p.m.