WASHINGTON — Despite the high-profile release of Hillary Clinton’s emails each month, voters are unlikely to get a chance to read all of her correspondence.
That’s because Clinton failed to hand over all her work emails, despite being asked to do so repeatedly, and the State Department is not searching for them elsewhere.
The Democratic front-runner for president said she is unable to access emails she sent or received in her first two months as secretary of state in 2009 because her emails were not yet being captured on her private computer server.
The Defense Department in the fall gave the State Department a chain of emails between Clinton and former Army Gen. David Petraeus, who at the time headed the military’s U.S. Central Command, responsible for running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clinton had not turned those emails over.
But other federal agencies have not been asked to search their archives for Clinton emails, according to a McClatchy survey of more than a dozen agencies with which Clinton was most likely to interact. Some, including the Energy Department and the Defense Intelligence Agency, said they had not received requests. Others, including the Interior and Justice departments, declined to speak on the record and referred questions to State.
It’s unclear how the Defense Department determined it had the Clinton emails and why it turned them over. Defense and State officials declined to comment.
Clinton has been under fire for months for exclusively using personal email routed through a private server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat. The FBI launched an inquiry into the handling of sensitive information after classified information was found in some.
At least 999 emails that Clinton sent or received, out of 34,626 pages of emails released so far, contained classified material, according to the State Department’s latest update from its ongoing review of more than 30,000 emails. Her aides also sent and received classified information.
In response to a public records lawsuit, the State Department is releasing Clinton’s emails at the end of each month, including a new batch Thursday, after partially or entirely redacting any containing sensitive U.S. or foreign government information.
In early October, the State Department asked that Clinton again turn over the emails from the first two months of her tenure. But Clinton attorney David Kendall said that Clinton could not access the missing documents.
The State Department did not explain why it hadn’t asked federal agencies for help, saying only that it tried to get the missing emails by asking Clinton.
“In an October letter to her representatives, the State Department made an additional request for any records that former Secretary Clinton may have in her possession,” State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach said. “In response, her counsel informed the Department that all records in her custody were already provided ‘regardless of their format or the domain’ they were created on and that she does not have custody of emails ‘sent or received in the first few weeks of her tenure.’ “
Clinton gave 30,490 work emails to the State Department, the earliest dated March 18, 2009, the day she began using a personal account routed through a private server.
But between Jan. 21, the day she was sworn in, and March 18, Clinton said she continued using an existing AT&T Blackberry account whose emails were not captured on her private server.
Federal law requires government employees to preserve work-related records. Clinton said most of her emails were to or from government employees with government accounts, which she thought would have been automatically retained. She said she deleted another 31,830 personal emails.
In September, the Defense Department sent the chain of emails between Clinton and Petraeus to the State Department. The emails, dating from Jan. 10, 2009, to Feb. 1, 2009, mostly relate to personnel matters, officials said.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said the department has asked its inspector general to include the emails in an ongoing review into the email practices of the nation’s most recent top diplomats.
Defense Department spokesman Joe Sowers said the request for the emails came from the State Department Inspector General’s Office.
Inspector general spokesman Douglas Welty confirmed his office sent a formal request to the Defense Department for those emails on Sept. 11. But he said that his office has not asked other agencies for additional emails because the entire issue has been referred to the FBI.
Greg Gordon of the Washington Bureau contributed.
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