Reacting to news that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal email account to conduct official business and may have violated federal law by not preserving her correspondence, the White House said it's not responsible for ensuring that cabinet officials use government emails.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest, when asked whether top administration officials are using official email to conduct business, told reporters Tuesday that they would have to check with each of the cabinet agencies because they are the ones responsible for maintaining their own records and email policy.
"You will need to check with each of the cabinet agencies," Earnest said. "You'll have to ask the individual agencies themselves because they are responsible for maintaining the records and emails."
Earnest also asserted that, to his knowledge, all White House officials are conducting all official business on official government email accounts.
Asked if Clinton made a mistake by using a personal email address exclusively for State Department business, Earnest said State Department officials have handled the situation properly by asking Clinton to forward them any emails pertaining to official business so they can be archived.
"It's the responsibility of State Department officials to ensure they are in compliance with the Federal Records Act," he said. "What the State Department officials have done is to forward their personal email records that pertain to official government business. That's exactly what Secretary Clinton has done."
According to several media reports Tuesday, Clinton did not even have a government address during her time as America's top diplomat, from 2009 to 2013. The New York Times reported that her aides took no action to preserve her emails on department services, as required by the Federal Records Act.
To ensure that Clinton was following the law, the State Department would need to be certain that she has forwarded all of her personal emails dealing with official business to the proper archiving officials.
Instead, the Times reported that Clinton advisers selected which of her emails to turn over to the State Department for archival purposes after poring through tens of thousands of pages of correspondence. The State Department said late Monday that it had received 55,000 pages of Clinton's emails as part of a request made to former secretaries of state to hand over official documents they have in their person possession.