Why Clinton camp is releasing personal server 5 months after e-mail flap emerged

Hillary Clinton has decided to cooperate with investigators after months of refusing to give up the personal server used to send e-mails during her tenure as secretary of State.

Brian Snyder/Reuters
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a question from the audience during a community forum about substance abuse in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton's attorney David Kendall has handed over thumb drives containing copies of roughly 30,000 e-mails sent to and from Ms. Clinton’s personal e-mail addresses via her private server to the FBI. The former secretary of State has also directed her staffers to release her server to federal investigators.

Ms. Clinton has drawn criticism for using a private server and personal e-mail to conduct government business during her tenure at the helm of the State Department. She has maintained that she never sent or stored any classified information on her personal server and account. However, since news that she had not been using a government-protected server broke in March, at least two e-mails have been deemed "Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information" – one of the government's highest classifications.

Top Republicans have pointed to the retroactive designation of those e-mails as classified as evidence that Clinton lied about not sending classified information over her personal server.

"Secretary Clinton's previous statements that she possessed no classified information were patently untrue," House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio said in a statement after the Clinton camp announced that it would hand over the data. "Her mishandling of classified information must be fully investigated."

Federal investigators are now searching for security breaches in Clinton’s personal e-mail setup amid speculation that other classified information may have been sent through the server. There has been no evidence that Clinton encrypted the account to prevent prying eyes from accessing the e-mails or her personal system.

Clinton has "pledged to cooperate with the government's security inquiry, and if there are more questions, we will continue to address them," campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said Tuesday.   

The decision to give up the server came after the FBI said Mr. Kendall was not permitted to possess classified information contained in some of the e-mails, said a US official who was not authorized to speak publicly. Clinton's attorney had already supplied the 30,000 e-mails contained on the thumb drives to investigators in December, but had retained copies of them on the thumb drives.

In March, Clinton said she exchanged nearly 60,000 e-mails during her four years in the Obama administration, half of which were personal and had been discarded. 

For months after The New York Times uncovered Clinton’s home-brew e-mail server, the Democratic candidate refused to hand it in. She claimed she used it out of convenience to limit the amount of electronic devices she had to carry.

While her use of a personal e-mail account and server did not break the rules at the time, no other secretary of State has exclusively done so.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

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