Statement from the National Archives: Update on NARA’s Activities and Communications Related to Email Management at the Department of State
Press Release · Monday, December 7, 2015
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is providing an update to information previously released on April 9, 2015 [www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2015/nr15-65.html], and June 5, 2015 [www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2015/nr15-86.html], describing activities and communication between NARA and the Department of State related to the email messages of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Since NARA first became aware of this issue in March 2015, NARA has been in regular communication with Department of State officials to obtain information that will inform NARA of the actions taken by the Department and the former Secretary with regard to her email messages. NARA evaluates this information within the context of its regulatory authority in 36 CFR Part 1230. NARA remains in communication with the Department while a separate review and investigation are currently in progress involving the Department’s Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), respectively.
- On April 24 and 28, 2015, at the State Department’s request, NARA reviewed a hard copy collection of email messages of the former Secretary identified by the Department as personal materials. We determined that there were 1,261 email messages correctly identified as personal, and that could be returned to the former Secretary. In October 2015, after completing a final quality control check on the hard copy personal correspondence collection, it was determined that the correct number of personal email messages is 1,258.
- On July 2, 2015, NARA contacted the Department to request additional information on procedures, training, and other controls related to the management of email and other electronic records of senior agency officials. In addition, NARA requested that the Department inquire with the representatives of former Secretary Clinton to obtain the native electronic versions of the email messages provided to the Department in hard copy.
- Through regular contacts, the Department of State apprised NARA of efforts it was undertaking and, by letter dated November 6, 2015, provided a summary of activities undertaken by the Department that are responsive to NARA’s request. These include the appointment by Secretary Kerry of a senior level Transparency Coordinator who is charged with following up on the review conducted by the Department’s Inspector General. The Department also provided information about the Department’s Electronic Records Management Working Group, which the Department of State indicates will help ensure that the Department is in compliance with the requirement under the OMB/NARA Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) for all departments and agencies to manage all email messages electronically by December 2016. The State Department’s reply also described efforts to recover any additional email records from former Secretaries Clinton and Powell, and from former aides to Secretary Clinton. Finally, the Department of State also informed NARA in the reply that it had contacted the FBI to request an electronic copy of Secretary Clinton’s records and asked the FBI in a September 14, 2015, letter to preserve any recoverable media and content obtained from former Secretary Clinton.
- On September 28, 2015, the Archivist of the United States responded to a September 4, 2015, letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley that asked a series of questions concerning records management practices at the Department of State (attachments).
- Subsequently, on November 6, 2015, the Archivist responded to an October 22, 2015, follow-up letter from Chairman Grassley.
Addressing the difficult challenge of managing email records across the government is one of NARA’s highest priorities. By the end of 2016, NARA is expecting that all Executive branch agencies will have electronic records management systems in place for their email records, as required by the 2012 OMB/NARA Managing Government Records Directive.
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