White House won't release Obama-Clinton e-mails

WASHINGTON • The White House will not allow the immediate release of e-mails exchanged between President Barack Obama and Mrs Hillary Clinton from when she was secretary of state, a senior administration official has said.

The e-mails may be withheld until after Mr Obama leaves office under the Presidential Records Act, which governs public access to the president's records. The White House said Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate, exchanged e-mails "on occasion".

A federal judge has ordered the State Department to publicly release all of Mrs Clinton's e-mails from her four years as the nation's top diplomat between 2009 and 2013 after a Vice News reporter sued the department under freedom of information laws.

The State Department is releasing them in monthly batches through to next January; another 4,400 were released on Friday. They range from scheduling matters to information that the government has redacted from release because it is classified.

Mr Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, said that "e-mail messages to the president are potentially exempt" from release under freedom of information laws. However, federal judges have occasionally ruled against this exemption, Mr Aftergood said.

Mrs Clinton has spent months defending her decision to use only a private e-mail account connected to a server in her New York home for her work as secretary of state, an arrangement that first came to light in March.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 01, 2015, with the headline 'White House won't release Obama-Clinton e-mails'. Print Edition | Subscribe