WASHINGTON, D.C.: The State Department released nearly 2,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s time as top US diplomat late Tuesday, following orders from a federal judge.
The large tranche of emails, mainly from 2009, was made public shortly before 9:00 pm (0100 GMT Wednesday) on the State Department’s Freedom of Information Act website.
At first glance, the 3,000-some pages of exchanges contain schedules, communications with staffers and advisor Sidney Blumenthal, cables about China and concern over late Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi’s 2009 US stay.
Clinton’s electronic correspondence has been the focus of controversy since her admission in March that she had used a private account for all her email correspondence while secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.
Republican rivals contend that Clinton, frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, used the private account in order to keep it out of the public record.
But she has argued that as of late 2014, she had sent 55,000 printed pages from roughly 30,000 emails to officials who will archive the data and make it available to the public, as is required by law.
The remainder of the messages were deemed personal by Clinton and were deleted from her private server, she and her lawyers have said.
The State Department announced it intended to make the entirety of the archive public after purging it of classified or confidential information.
Clinton has backed the move, vowing transparency in the process after stressing she chose to use a private account for reasons of practicality and not obfuscation.
Several of the emails were partially redacted, including one on July 11, 2009 from “Jimmy,” presumably former US president Jimmy Carter, about the prospects of him traveling to North Korea in 2009 to seek the release of two American women, journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.“Hillary: As I explained to you on the phone, I don’t think it is appropriate to tell them that I will come only if they agree in advance to release the women,” the email said.
“Your response was, in effect, ‘They have already agreed.’ Is this correct? If not, I will go, by commercial airline if necessary, representing The Carter Center, and try to induce them to approve the release. JC.”
In the end, it was another ex-president, Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton, who traveled to the hermit state to secure the women’s freedom.
The State Department’s latest release brings the amount of published emails to seven percent of the total, as required by the judge, State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
Half of the emails should be released by October 31, and the entire archive released by January 20.
The project is daunting, because officials will need to carefully review each document and redact sensitive data as necessary.
Speaking of the “enormity of the task,” Kirby stressed that officials were “working right up to the deadline.”
A first tranche of nearly 300 Libya-related emails was put out in late May.
Republicans have seized on the email controversy in pressing their case that President Barack Obama’s administration was unprepared for the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador.
Administrative and congressional investigations have highlighted security vulnerabilities at the US mission in Libya while Clinton was secretary of state.
Republicans, insisting that the Obama administration sought to conceal the terrorist nature of the attack, have created a special Benghazi committee in the House of Representatives.
Clinton allies have criticized the panel as a political tool to trip up the candidate on her White House quest.
Fueling Republican suspicions, the State Department acknowledged that 15 messages sent or received by Clinton and gathered independently by the agency were not included in the tranche delivered by her team.