09:53 GMT19 September 2020
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    Hillary Clinton has reacted to a House Select Committee request to hand over the private servers she used to maintain correspondence on matters of official State Department business, by deleting everything she had on her server.

    A lawyer for Hillary Clinton has told the congressional panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks that the server she used at home to conduct government and personal business, instead of an official State Department account, has been wiped clean and therefore is of no use to their investigation into the events surrounding the attack.

    "We learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server. While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department," said Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, the Committee Chairman, in a statement on Friday.

    "Not only was the Secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest."

    Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, told the Committee that Clinton did not comply with the subpoena issued last week for her to hand over the server to a third party, because emails relating to her role as head of the State Department from 2009 to 2013 had already been handed over to the Committee, and that Clinton "chose not to keep her non-record personal emails."

    "Thus, there are no hdr22@clintonemail.com emails [the account used by Clinton] from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized," wrote Kendall. The lawyer added that the Commission should turn to the State Department for more emails to add to the 30,000 which Clinton chose to release to the enquiry, stating the Department is "uniquely positioned" to fulfil a request for more information. 

    In 2013 the emails of Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton loyalist, surfaced on the internet which appeared to have been send to Hillary's account during 2011-2013 and which contain information on a range of topics including the political and military situation in Libya. One email sent to Clinton on August 23, 2012, less than three weeks before the terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post and CIA annex in Benghazi, relayed information from "an extremely sensitive source" that drew attention to a spate of bombings and kidnappings of foreign workers in Libya's three largest cities.

    Other emails sent by Blumenthal to the hdr22@clintonemail.com account cover a subjects ranging from "Sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt," to Angela Merkel's opinions on Francois Hollande. Many emails were marked in capital letters with such warnings as "THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES."

    Earlier this month it emerged that as well as receiving emails from Blumenthal, whose appointment to a State Department post was blocked in 2009 by senior figures in the Obama administration, Clinton was able to use her secret server to communicate with top aides who also had addresses on the server, concealing their work from the public record.


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