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Kerry calls for review of State’s email practices

Secretary of State John Kerry is asking a government watchdog to review the department’s email policies, following the firestorm over his predecessor Hillary Clinton’s use of a private account.

“We must adapt our systems and policies to keep pace with changes in technology and the way our personnel work,” Kerry wrote to State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, in a letter released Friday requesting the review.

“I am pleased the Department has made strides to promote both preservation and transparency,” Kerry added, “there is still work to do.”

{mosads}In the letter, Kerry acknowledges that some employees may still be using personal accounts for official business.

“We are also facing challenges regarding our integration of recordkeeping technologies and the use of non-government systems by some Department personnel to conduct official business,” he wrote.

The State Department has faced a barrage of questions over its handling of public records after Clinton acknowledged this month she only used a private email account hosted on her own server for all work during her four years as secretary of State, ending in 2013. 

Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of documents for archiving, but admitted this month that her aides also deleted more than 30,000 emails she claims were “personal.” 

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the inspector general probe was not specifically related to Clinton’s use of email, according to Reuters.

Kerry asked the State Department watchdog to review and offer suggestions on his department’s response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, congressional inquiries and general archiving of public records, including emails.

The State Department faces more than 18,000 FOIA requests per year, Kerry noted, which “places a significant strain on existing resources” and takes personnel off their typical assignments.

“Although we are working to address the challenge, I am aware of recent reports that we are not there yet with respect to the FOIA,” Kerry said. 

“It is clear that putting the principles of preservation and transparency into practice is an evolving challenge, often hampered by resource constraints,” Kerry added.

Tags Hillary Clinton John Kerry State Department

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