WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday her use of a private email system at the State Department wasn’t the “best choice” and acknowledged she didn’t “stop and think” about her email set-up when she became President Barack Obama’s secretary of state in 2009.
The Democratic presidential front-runner said in an interview with NBC News that she was immediately confronted by a number of global hotspots after joining the new Obama administration as its top diplomat and didn’t think much about her email after arriving at her new job.
“You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world,” Clinton said. “I didn’t really stop and think what kind of email system will there be?”
But Clinton did not apologize for her decision when asked directly, “Are you sorry?” Instead, she again said she wishes she had “made a different choice” and that she takes responsibility for the decision to use a private email account and server based at her home in suburban New York.
She added it was a choice that should not raise questions about her judgment.
“I am very confident that by the time this campaign has run its course, people will know that what I’ve been saying is accurate,” Clinton said, adding: “They may disagree, as I now disagree, with the choice that I made. But the facts that I have put forth have remained the same.”
Clinton’s interview comes as current and former aides are testifying before a congressional panel investigating the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks, This committee has also delved into Clinton’s email practices at the State Department. She is scheduled to testify publicly before the panel next month.
Clinton in August handed over to the FBI her private server, which she used to send, receive and store emails during her four years as secretary of state. Clinton has said she set up her own system instead of using a State Department account for the convenience of using a single Blackberry device.
In the interview, Clinton said, as she has in the past, that she “should have had two accounts, one for personal and one for work-related.”
Thousands of pages of her emails publicly released in recent months have shown that Clinton received messages that were later determined to contain classified information, including some that contained material regarding the production and dissemination of U.S. intelligence.
But Clinton reiterated in the interview that she did not “send or receive any material marked classified. We dealt with classified material on a totally different system. I dealt with it in person.”