On Wednesday during an Oversight Committee hearing with members of the State Department regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal e-mails, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) pressed for complete assurance that all information that is due to the public is now on record.
Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer Joyce A. Barr timidly stated that the department has been "assured" by Clinton that they now have everything and they are taking her word for it. After all, as Barr indicated, that is how it works with any federal employee.
Gowdy brilliantly used this defense against her asking if by chance there were other high-level cabinet members, also important and busy, who used personal e-mail servers:
Well, you mentioned other federal employees which got me wondering… Attorney General Holder -- did he have his own server? (Answer: No, he used official DoJ) How about new Attorney General Lynch? Does she have a personal server? (Answer: Same)
What about President Obama -- is there any indication -- because if you're going to pursue the theory of convenience, I can’t really imagine a busier person on the globe than President Obama. Did he have his own personal server? (Answer: also no)
Pressing harder, Gowdy told Barr that by no means are they treating Clinton the same as other federal employees because they are dealing with her personal attorney who is deciding what becomes part of the record, a convenience not afforded to other cabinet members. Gowdy then suggested having the U.S. inspector general take a non-partisan look through the documents to ensure the public information is rightfully separated from what is personal. To Barr, Gowdy said:
You have been put in the position of having to take a lawyer's word that you have all the public records. And perhaps it's just the cynicism of actually being a lawyer -- I'm just wondering who with the fiduciary duty to the public can make sure that the public record is complete. Instead of the former secretary hiring an attorney to do it, why can't the attorney that works for all of us -- why can't the inspector general do it?
Barr's answer: "I really can't speculate on that."
Video below via Roll Call: