WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton directed aides to delete some 30,000 emails from her personal server after determining that they were not related to work, the former secretary of state disclosed at a news conference Tuesday.
After turning over to the State Department last year all the emails from her four years in office that were related to work, "I chose not to keep my private, personal emails," she told reporters.
"No one wants their personal emails made public," Clinton said, adding that the personal messages included matters such as the wedding of her daughter, Chelsea, in 2010 and the funeral of her mother, Dorothy Rodham, in 2011.
In the 20-minute news conference, held at United Nations headquarters, where she had just delivered a speech about women's empowerment, Clinton said that she had complied with all federal regulations governing her use of email.
She had chosen to use a personal email account as a matter of "convenience," she said, to avoid having to carry two phones — one for personal use and one for official use.
"Looking back, it would have been better for me to use two separate phones," she said.
At the time, she thought that using one device would be "simpler," she said. "It hasn't worked out that way."
Her predecessors as secretary of state had used private emails for at least some of their correspondence, Clinton said, a point that State Department officials have confirmed.
Clinton's exclusive use of private email during her four years as the nation's chief diplomat has drawn criticism on several grounds. A major issue has been whether doing so allowed her to bypass laws designed to ensure that the public and members of Congress can obtain records of public business.
Clinton said that her emails complied with government record-keeping and archiving regulations because she sent most of her work-related emails to government employees on their government accounts. Those emails would have been "captured and preserved" on the recipients' systems, she said.
She implicitly confirmed, however, that at least some emails had not been preserved that way, saying that the State Department already had "the vast majority" of the emails she turned over to them last year.
When her staff reviewed the emails last year, she said, she had instructed her attorney, who was running the process, to err on the side of turning over anything that might be considered work-related.
But since Clinton and her aides were the sole judge of that, her statement did not satisfy congressional Republicans, who have demanded more information about her electronic correspondence.
Clinton's comments also appeared unlikely to quell efforts by GOP lawmakers to use the matter to bolster their investigation into the deaths of four Americans during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. After the news conference, Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican leading the committee, said he planned to call Clinton to testify at least twice.
"Regrettably we are left with more questions than answers," Gowdy said.
In a statement, Gowdy said "there remain serious questions about the security of the system she employed from a national security standpoint, who authorized this exclusive use of personal email despite guidance to the contrary from both her State Department and the White House, who had access to the server from the time Secretary Clinton left office until the time — almost two years later — the State Department asked for these public records back, and who culled through the records to determine which were personal and which were public."
"There is no way to accept State's or Secretary Clinton's certification she has turned over all documents that rightfully belong to the American people," Gowdy said.
"That is why I see no choice but for Secretary Clinton to turn her server over to a neutral, detached third-party arbiter who can determine which documents should be public and which should remain private. Secretary Clinton alone created this predicament, but she alone does not get to determine its outcome."
Clinton rejected that idea in the news conference, saying the server contains "personal communications" from both her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
"The server will remain private," she said.
She denied that the use of the private computer server, kept at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., created any security problem.
"The system we used was set up for President Clinton's office," she said, adding that it had "numerous safeguards," including being located in a home that was guarded by the Secret Service.
"There were no security breaches," she said.
Clinton has provided the State Department with 55,000 printed pages of emails from her private account. Those amounted to about half the emails stored on the personal server that she used, she said.
State Department officials are reviewing the emails to see whether they contain sensitive material. Those that do not will be released to the public on a website, department officials said Tuesday.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.