Secretary of State John Kerry has requested a review of all efforts underway to improve records management within the State Department, according to a letter he sent to the department’s inspector general.
In the letter written Wednesday and released Friday, Kerry asked Inspector General Steve Linick to look into whether additional improvements could be made in the way the department manages its voluminous set of records, including archiving of emails, and how it responds to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and inquiries from Congress.
The review will also focus on how the department may streamline and improve on the way it searches for and produces documents pertaining to such requests.
“I welcome your findings and commit the Department to cooperating fully with your review,” Kerry wrote in the letter. “Because of the importance of these issues, I ask you to consider an expedited review of these issues.”
The letter comes as the State Department continues a review of 55,000 pages of official emails from former Secretary of State Hillary that were kept on a private server – as opposed to being sent through her official State Department email address – during her tenure.
While the department said the request was not made to specifically look into Clinton’s management of records during her tenure, Kerry’s letter does refer to the “challenges regarding our integration of recordkeeping technologies and the use of non-government systems by some Department personnel to conduct official business.”
With over 18,000 requests per year under the Freedom of Information of Act alone, Kerry wrote of the “significant strain” such requests place on existing resources and asked Linick’s office to “recommend concrete ways we can improve” as a result of the review.
“This is focused on our systems and policies that are in place and reviewing those in light of changing technology and improving our archiving,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters Friday about the request from Kerry.
The State Department is currently reviewing all of the documents Clinton handed over from her private email pertaining to her role as Secretary of State to determine what might need to be redacted for security reasons.
While that review will likely take “several months” before the public sees the entire batch of documents, a smaller tranche of emails, already in the hands of a Congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, are likely to be released sooner.