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Watchdog explores email issues during Powell, Rice tenures

Revelations about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server have followed her presidential campaign

Published: Updated:

The State Department watchdog has found that former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the immediate staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also received classified national security information on their personal email accounts, a top Democrat in the House of Representatives said Thursday.

Revelations about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server have followed her presidential campaign. Now, the State Department inspector general has told Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on a House oversight committee, that it has determined that two emails sent to Powell and 10 others sent to Rice’s staff also contained classified national security information.

“My concern has been that Republicans are spending millions of taxpayer dollars singling out Secretary Clinton because she is running for president - often leaking inaccurate information - while at the same time disregarding the actions of Republican secretaries of state,” Cummings said in a statement.

Clinton is facing new scrutiny from congressional Republicans as a fourth committee is pressing for information about the handling of government documents, use of personal emails and the response to Freedom of Information requests during her tenure at the State Department.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a Jan. 19 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for information and documents, citing the panel’s jurisdiction over implementation of FOIA requests. His request included material from the tenures of current and former secretaries of State.

Three other committees are already focused on the former secretary of state and her tenure: the special House panel on the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Cummings has written Kerry seeking more information about the latest revelations about emails from Powell and Rice’s tenure at the State Department.

According to Cummings’ letter to Kerry, the State Department inspector general is reviewing the records preservation practices of five former secretaries of state and their immediate staffs. The IG said the 12 emails were sent between February 2003 and June 2008. None were marked classified, but the State Department has advised the inspector general that the 12 contained classified national security information.