While testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on open records laws, Joyce Barr, the State Department’s chief freedom of information officer, said that it was “not acceptable” for an agency employee to conduct government business on a private email server.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas described Hillary’s attempt to avoid the open records laws as “premeditated and deliberate.”
“Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said that anyone who took such an approach should be fired, and asked Barr whether it would be considered acceptable.” Barr said that she was unaware that Clinton was using a homebrewed email server, but now the agency has told employees that it would be unacceptable to use one. Even if she knew Hillary was using her own server, what could she have done about it? Probably nothing.
“I think that the actions that we’ve taken in the course of recovering these emails have made it very clear what people’s responsibilities are with regard to record-keeping,” she said. “We continue to do training, we’ve sent department notices, telegrams, we’ve talked to directors and I think the message is loud and clear that that is not acceptable.”
Among the other issues that were deemed “unacceptable” was the backlog of 18,000 records requests. So much for transparency.
Karen Kaiser, general counsel at The Associated Press, testified that despite promises of greater transparency by the Obama administration, most agencies are not abiding by their legal obligations under open records laws. “We are witnessing a breakdown in the system,” she said in prepared testimony.
The State Department is not the only agency with a problem responding to open records requests.