A week and one day after the New York Times first reported that Hillary Clinton used a private email address to conduct official business during her time as secretary of state, the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination revealed she has deleted half of those secret communications.
"We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department," Clinton said, referencing the thousands of pages of emails she turned over to officials last year. "At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails."
Clinton did not explain in any further detail how or by what standard a message was deemed to be personal or private, fueling questions about what was in the emails and why she chose to discard them.
"I didn't see any reason to keep them," Clinton said when pressed by reporters, who had been camped out in a United Nations hallway waiting for her to emerge from a speaking engagement. She said that the roughly 30,000 messages she turned over to the State Department last year represented half of the emails that had been sent or received through Clinton's private server during her four years as the nation's top diplomat.
The rest, Clinton said, are gone. And in their absence stretches a yawning void sure now to be filled by suspicion, innuendo and continued questions about what the public was never given the opportunity to see.
"The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server" — the "homebrew" computer system used to host the personal accounts — "will remain private," Clinton said.
Those "personal communications" included "detailed planning Chelsea's wedding or my mother's funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes," she explained.
Clinton's rare interaction with a press corps that has been tailing her for months followed an announcement by the State Department that it was reviewing the emails provided by Clinton after leaving office in 2013. That process, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, could take months, but would eventually lead to the online publication of all "work-related" email.
Clinton began her comments by making light of her initial decision, stating "I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails than two. I did it for convenience but now, looking back, think that it might have been smarter to have those two devices from the very beginning."
"No one wants their personal emails made public," Clinton said, "and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy."
Based on her comments Tuesday, Clinton is plainly very confident in that calculation.