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FOIA News: Clinton aides said she had no duty to preserve Sidney Blumenthal emails

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

Clinton aides said she had no duty to preserve Sidney Blumenthal emails

By Josh Gerstein, Politico, Oct. 14, 2016

Aides to Hillary Clinton asserted she had no legal duty to preserve her email exchanges with longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal, according to hacked email messages released Friday by WikiLeaks.

The claim — disputed by some government records experts — came after Blumenthal turned over to the House Benghazi Committee 16 Libya-related messages the pair apparently exchanged that Clinton never turned over to the State Department.

In a set of draft talking points from June 2015, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon wrote: "She would have been under no obligation to preserve them since Blumenthal wasn't a government employee."

Eventually, longtime Clinton and aide lawyer Cheryl Mills chimed in.

"I think the point can be made via noting that Sid was not a federal employee as needed (which as FYI means his emails only b/came federal records if used in the course of Dept business - so some were if forwarded and acted on and some weren't if nothing was done with them). But not sure it is worth the technical debate," Mills wrote.

However, a former Justice Department official expressed strong disagreement with that position Friday.

"That's wrong....grossly incorrect," said Dan Metcalfe, former director of Justice's Office of Information and Privacy. "It's not what she does with that message that answers the question of whether it's a federal record. It's the character of the email that already exists."

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