Briefly noted in an earlier article about the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal email server was the existence of communications that pointed towards FOIA-dodging as a possible factor in her decision to set this up.
Emails released earlier had hinted at this. The FBI’s investigation documents contained part of an email from Colin Powell warning her that if it became public Clinton was using a personal BlackBerry, any communications on that device could become subject to FOIA requests. Powell also pointed out that he had routed around this during his years at the State Department by “not saying much” and “not using systems that captured the data.”
So, it’s not as though government officials need much help from people like Matt Yglesias in keeping more communications related to government work hidden from the public. They’ve always had plenty of options and appear to be keenly aware of which systems feed into FOIA-able areas.
The full email has now been released (h/t Rebecca Shabad and Steve Ragan) and the contents make it clear Powell had ways of routing around FOIA requirements while heading up the State Department. This appears to be the information Clinton was seeking — how to avoid having to use the systems the State Department already had or being blocked from using her personal BlackBerry while in office.
Clinton had noticed Powell used a personal BlackBerry and wanted to know what restrictions he ran into and whether he was allowed to use it while “on site” during his tenure as Secretary of State. She added that she was trying to “bring along” the State Department, presumably towards the private email server/personal device future Clinton envisioned.
Powell’s response begins with him pointing out he didn’t …