By Julian Hattem – 05/26/16 02:14 PM EDT
A scathing inspector general report accusing Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFiorina goes after Clinton’s ‘lust for power’ Obama dodges on Clinton’s emails, paid speeches Trump: Vince Foster shouldn’t be a campaign issue MORE of violating State Department policies is part of a “learning experience” for the department, spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday.
“I hate to say it, but it’s a learning experience,” Toner told reporters during the department’s daily press briefing. “We have learned important lessons.“We’re not the only federal agency, frankly, that is also addressing these challenges, but we’re trying to move forward and we’re trying to address it.”
Toner’s comments on Thursday came as the department’s Office of the Inspector General published its report about Clinton’s use of a personal email account and private server throughout her time as secretary of State. The report, which was distributed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, accused Clinton of failing to comply with record-keeping rules and claimed she never sought approval for the setup.
The watchdog report’s criticism extended beyond Clinton and noted that other officials have used personal email addresses at some point while in office, too. Clinton is just the most extreme and visible piece in a larger pattern of poor record-keeping, the report indicated.
“What we’re taking away from it is a forward-looking attitude,” Toner said on Thursday.
However, Clinton was unique in her use of the private email server in addition to her personal account. The report cited officials who claimed they would not have approved her private system, partly on security grounds, had she asked for it.
The State Department has repeatedly said it has “discouraged” officials from using personal email accounts, but that it is allowed from time to time.
Toner seemed to indicate that Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal account might have fit within that gray area.
“I don’t know if it was specifically prohibited, but it was strongly discouraged to do so,” he said on Thursday. “We recognize that that was not communicated well in in-processing.”