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John Kerry asks investigator to review State Dept. email policy

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press with President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (not shown) at the US State Department February 27, 2015 in Washington, DC.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

In the wake of questions about the way former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preserved her professional emails, Secretary of State John Kerry is asking an investigator to review the way the State Department handles records management, including the archiving of emails.

"It is clear that putting the principles of preservation and transparency into practice is an evolving challenge, often hampered by resource constraints," Kerry wrote in a letter to State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. "The Department is working to improve, but I also know we can and must increase our efforts."

Kerry asked him a series of questions about the challenges the department faces in complying with transparency rules with respect to email archiving and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. For instance, he asks, "Are current training and instructions on preservation and responding to requests adequate and easy to follow?"

His letter to the inspector general does not mention the controversy over Clinton's emails, though it was clearly linked to it.

Earlier this month, Clinton revealed that she used a private server to store her emails while serving as secretary of state. She is making some of the emails she sent from that server public. However, Clinton has already permanently deleted about half of the emails on the server, arguing that they were private in nature. In mid-March, the Associated Press filed a lawsuit against the State Department to demand that they hand over records that were long ago requested via FOIA.