State Dept posts 7th batch of Clinton emails

Washington (AFP) - The State Department released a new tranche of about 5,000 emails sent or received by Hillary Clinton when she served as top US diplomat and controversially used a private email server.

The equivalent of 7,800 pages of messages, mostly from 2012 and 2013, were checked for classified information and then made public on a department website:

Among the emails was apparent acknowledgement from Clinton, perhaps the world's most important diplomat at the time, that her email and Blackberry device were down for two weeks following Hurricane Sandy, which slammed the northeast coast in October 2012.

"Between losing my internet/berry service for two weeks during Sandy and jet lagging around the world, I'm not sure what I never received but am trying to crawl out from under the ones that are piled up in my in box," Clinton wrote longtime friend Betsy Ebeling on November 14, 2012 during a trip to Australia.

The exact location of Clinton's server has been a mystery, but Clinton's main residence is in Chappaqua, New York. According to reports at the time, power was out in parts of Chappaqua for two weeks after Sandy.

In total, 66 percent of Clinton's archived official correspondence has now been made public, the State Department said.

The disclosures are required under an earlier court order that demanded all 55,000 pages of Clinton's work-related emails be released by January 20, 2016.

Clinton says she deleted her personal, non-work emails.

The period notably includes December 2012, when Clinton suffered a head injury that forced her to rest for a few weeks. She received several emails of encouragement during that time.

"What did we do before twitter??" Clinton mused weeks later in January 2013, after she was sent an email of tweets hailing her impressive performance at a Senate hearing.

Clinton acknowledged in March that she exclusively used a private email account and private server from 2009 to 2013 while secretary of state, opting against a government account despite official recommendations.

The issue erupted into a scandal as she was preparing to kick off her 2016 presidential campaign, and remained a Republican talking point for months as they sought to knock down the Democratic frontrunner.

Clinton insisted she operated legally, but she eventually apologized in September, amid an erosion of voter confidence.

After a marathon congressional hearing in October, Clinton seemed to regain the advantage against Republicans, who had accused her of seeking to keep crucial communications out of the official archive, and sending classified information through a network susceptible to hackers.

Republicans have expressed alarm that some of the emails have been retroactively classified.

But the classification criteria were under dispute, and the Clinton team maintains she posted no emails with data marked classified at the time.

One of the emails released Monday, about the pending release of thousands of diplomatic cables by transparency organization WikiLeaks in November 2010, had been flagged as classified earlier this year.

But State Department officials said that after further review it was cleared for release.