No Secretary of State Ever Used a State.gov Email Account Until John Kerry

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Karin Lang, a State Department official responsible for records management, testified yesterday about Hillary Clinton’s email practices:

Lang, a career employee who in July 2015 became director of the Executive Secretariat staff, which is responsible for records management, said that while a unit responsible for FOIA requests was told that Clinton had no government email account when she took office in January 2009, no one in the unit ever asked whether she used a personal account to conduct business before she stepped down in 2013.

“Prior to Secretary Kerry, no secretary of state used a State.gov email address,” said Lang, supporting an explanation given by aides to the presumptive Democratic nominee for president that her email setup while at State was not unusual.

…Lang said that the FOIA office did not begin to search for records in response to Judicial Watch’s 2013 request for information concerning Abedin’s employment until after the group sued, and that at the unit chief’s direction, the FOIA office searched only human-resources records, not emails.

Apparently the head of State’s FOIA unit “grew curious” about Hillary’s email arrangement when that famous picture of her using a BlackBerry first appeared. It just goes to show that fame has both its ups and downs.

But now a question. This is probably going to expose an embarrassing lack of knowledge, but I finally have to ask. After Vice News1 filed its lawsuit against Hillary, a judge eventually ordered State to release every single email she had sent and received as secretary of state. Another judge recently ordered a similar broad release in a different case brought by the Republican National Committee.

What’s the deal with this? Has any cabinet officer ever been ordered to release the entirety of his or her correspondence—either hard copy or digital—before? Is a broad FOIA request all that’s required? Or does this kind of thing only happen to Hillary Clinton?

1Or Judicial Watch? Or someone else? I can’t keep all 35 suits demanding the release of Hillary’s emails straight.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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