Hillary Clinton's use of a private server to process classified information was indistinguishable from sending it out over Twitter, a top GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee charged late on Wednesday.
"The underhanded and unserious way Secretary Clinton managed her communications as secretary of state began on her first day at the State Department," Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "She appears to have intentionally attempted to avoid federal record keeping requirements and … blithely allowed her closest advisors to pass highly classified information through an unsecured server based at her home."
"This almost certainly put the intelligence community's sources and methods, and the lives of Americans, into the hands of those who would seek to do them harm," Pompeo said.
Pompeo serves on the House Select Committee on Benghazi and has been one of Clinton's leading critics, but his latest statement contained some of his strongest criticisms to date. It followed a report published earlier in the day by the State Department Inspector General, which found that Clinton's use of a private server violated departmental procedures.
"We now know for certain that her home-brewed email server was not approved by the State Department, and never would have been for the same reason we don't put classified information on Twitter," Pompeo added. "Hillary Clinton violated the trust of the American people. This is unacceptable behavior for any high-ranking U.S. official, and Secretary Clinton ought to be held to account."
The legal question is whether Clinton violated the Federal Records Act, which governs the preservation of government files, and the Espionage Act, which prohibits the exposure of classified information. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said in a Wednesday statement that the report found her practices to be "consistent" with those of her predecessors, but did not acknowledge other findings, including the fact that preservation rules were updated in 2009.