WASHINGTON » The State Department was expected to publish today about 6,000 additional pages of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails, covering a period when U.S. diplomacy was rocked by the leaking of thousands of confidential cables by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and the outbreak of the Arab Spring.
The release is the latest in the agency’s rolling production of emails chronicling Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. All of the messages were written by Clinton or sent by others to the private email account she used while America’s top diplomat. That account and the homebrew server she maintained while in government have been a consistent issue for Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Once the documents are posted on the State Department’s website, 37 percent of Clinton’s work-related emails will be public. The State Department plans to release all of these by January. Clinton ordered the deletion of all private emails on her server before providing records to the department last year.
Clinton has faced increasing questions over whether her unusual email setup amounted to a proper form of secrecy protection and records retention, even if the emails themselves have provided no shocking disclosures thus far.
The former first lady and New York senator had maintained that nothing was classified in the correspondence, but the intelligence community has identified messages containing top secret information. Clinton had insisted that all of her work emails were being reviewed by the State Department, but Pentagon officials recently discovered a new chain of messages between Clinton and then-Gen. David Petraeus dating to her first days in office that she did not send to the State Department.
Wednesday’s installment will cover the periods of late 2010 and early 2011, when the State Department was beset by crises.
In November 2010, WikiLeaks began publishing the first of some 250,000 cables — many of them classified — that the website obtained from a U.S. Army intelligence analyst. The leak revealed the names of sources, provided embarrassing assessments of foreign leaders and severely frayed U.S. relations with a number of governments.
In the months afterward, protests across the Arab world undermined decades of U.S. foreign policy as presidents in Tunisia and Egypt were chased from power and large-scale civil wars erupted in Libya and Syria. The beginning of those conflicts and the differing U.S. responses are likely to be included in some of Wednesday’s emails.