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3 000 pages of Clinton e-mails to be released

01 July 2015, 09:32

Washington - About 3 000 pages of Hillary Clinton's e-mails from her time as top US diplomat will be made public online on Tuesday by the State Department, following the orders of a federal judge.

Clinton's electronic correspondence has been the focus of controversy since her admission in March that she had used a private account for all her email correspondence while secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.

Republican rivals contend that Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, used the private account in order to keep it out of the public record.

But she has argued that as of late 2014 she had sent 55 000 printed pages from roughly 30 000 e-mails to officials who will archive the data and make it available to the public, as is required under US law.

The remainder of the messages were deemed personal by Clinton and were deleted from her family's private server, she and her lawyers have said.

The State Department announced it intended to make the entirety of the Clinton archive public after purging it of classified or confidential information, a move backed by Clinton who vowed transparency in the process after stressing she chose to use a private account for reasons of practicality and not obfuscation.

In May, a judge ordered the process accelerated. The State Department's release on Tuesday would bring the number of published e-mails to 7% of the total, as required by the judge.

Half of the e-mails should be released by October 31, and the entirety of the archive screened and released by January 20 2016.

The project is daunting, because officials will need to carefully review each document and redact sensitive data as necessary.

Republicans have seized on the e-mail controversy as they press their case that President Barack Obama's administration was unprepared for the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador.

Several administrative and congressional investigations have highlighted security vulnerabilities at the US mission in Libya while Clinton was secretary of state.

Republicans, insisting that the Obama administration sought to conceal the terrorist nature of the attack, have created a special Benghazi committee in the House of Representatives.

The panel has been criticised by Clinton allies as a political tool to trip up the candidate on her quest for the White House.

Fuelling Republican suspicions, the State Department acknowledged that 15 messages sent or received by Clinton and gathered independently by the agency were not included in the tranche delivered by her team. Nearly 300 Libya-related e-mails were made public in late May.

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