Internal investigators at the State Department say workers at that agency are not making the needed effort to preserve emails for historic records, as a new report says that’s happening in part because employees don’t want their electronic messages to be read by others.
“Some employees do not create record emails because they do not want to make the email available in searches or fear that this availability would inhibit debate about pending decisions,” read a report from the State Department Inspector General.
The new report, which was released in the midst of a heated debate about the email procedures of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, can be found here.
The inspector general report found that in 2011, more than one billion emails were sent by State Department employees, but only a little more than 61,000 were preserved for the public record.
In 2013, the number of emails saved for the record had dropped to 41,749.
While the report laid some of the blame on “inadequate technical training,” investigators zeroed in on a desire to keep their electronic messages away from others.
“The OIG team found instances where employees did not want to use record email because the messages would become accessible to persons conducting searches, not just the intended recipient,” the report stated.
In 2013, the office of the Secretary of State saved only 7 emails for the public record.
The report was issued just as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if the Obama Administration was really “the most transparent” in U.S. history, as officials often say.
“Yes,” Earnest said, arguing “there are a large number of ways in which reporters and the public have access to the adminstration’s decisions.”