It was June 2009, and Hillary Rodham Clinton was concerned she was missing out.
“I heard on the radio that there is a Cabinet mtg this am,” the secretary of state wrote to aides in an e-mail. “Is there? Can I go? If not, who are we sending?”
That meeting turned out to be for lower-level staff members. But several days later, Clinton had another scheduling mix-up when she showed up for a morning meeting at the White House and it was canceled. “This is the second time this has happened,” she wrote. “What’s up???”
The snippets of bureaucratic frustration are part of a trove of e-mails released late Tuesday by the State Department, the first in a series of releases scheduled for coming months that provide a glimpse into Clinton’s activities while serving as President Obama’s top diplomat.
Clinton kept up a varied correspondence with staff members and contacts — from celebrities to former president Jimmy Carter — during her first year at the State Department, including a request with the subject line “Don’t Laugh” asking for details about fancy rugs she had seen during a meeting with the Chinese president, according to records released Tuesday night.
“Can you contact your protocol friend in China and ask him if I could get photos of the carpets of the rooms I met in w POTUS during the recent trip?” Clinton wrote to an aide after a trip to China with Obama — or POTUS, for president of the United States.
She added that she “loved their designs and the way they appeared carved. Any chance we can get this?”
In a separate exchange, Carter makes clear that he wants to go to North Korea to try to secure the release of jailed Americans, despite the administration’s objections.
The mundane, sometimes funny correspondence was a fraction of the 55,000 pages Clinton, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, turned over to the State Department after she left office. The e-mails had been stored on a privately owned computer server in Clinton’s New York home. They were not provided in total to government record-keepers until last year, when the State Department asked Clinton and other former secretaries of state to turn over records in their possession.
Clinton has said she handed over about half the records she held and destroyed the others, which she deemed personal and irrelevant to her government work.
The State Department went through the trove Clinton produced and initially turned over about 900 pages to the Republican-led committee investigating the September 2012 killings of four Americans at U.S. government compounds in Benghazi, Libya.
After the department said it would take until January to publicly release redacted versions of the remaining 55,000 pages, a federal court ordered faster production on a rolling, monthly basis
The 1,925 additional documents released Tuesday, totaling 3,095 pages, are from 2009, the first year Clinton served as secretary of state. A scan of the material revealed Clinton’s widely varied interests and contacts, and her penchant to read material in paper form. Several of the e-mails simply direct aides to “please print.”
Clinton’s correspondence shows that people with financial or other interests related to U.S. foreign policy sought Clinton’s help directly. Correspondents included longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal, as well as Cherie Blair, the wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, who wrote to try to set up a meeting between Clinton and a member of the Qatari royal family.
Top Obama aides David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel requested and received permission from Clinton to have her personal e-mail address. After Clinton suffered a fall in June 2009, Axelrod sent her a fawning get-well-soon message calling her an “all-star player” they needed for “the long-run.”