How many countries have you visited?
For Secretary of State Hillary Clinton circa July 2012 the answer was: not enough.
Seven months before Clinton left office, a top aide suggested to her that she still had “plenty of time” to “run up the score on total countries” and set a globe-trotting goal of 110 countries, according to an e-mail released Monday.
The e-mail, sent by Clinton press aide Philippe Reines three years ago, casts a political light on one of Clinton’s core talking points as a candidate for president: that she was a nonpolitical and hard-working secretary of state, who, as she frequently notes, visited 112 countries.
He wrote in the e-mail that “110 is a reasonable goal” for total number of countries visited. The e-mail was sent to Clinton’s private account, and also to her top political aides including chief of staff Cheryl Mills, deputy chiefs of staff Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, and scheduler Lona Valmoro.
The subject line for the e-mail is: “100 and counting . . .”; Reines included a list of 94 countries that Clinton hadn’t yet visited for her to “choose from,” as he put it. Some of the countries had asterisks by them.
“Asterisks appear next to countries you visited prior to becoming SecState, but not since — so they would count,” Reines wrote.
Clinton replied to the e-mail by asking one of her staff members to print it out for her — her standard response to messages she deemed important.
Clinton’s campaign didn’t immediately respond Monday to questions about the e-mail.
The e-mail is among 7,825 pages of new documents released Monday under the order of a federal judge as part of a batch of 30,000 e-mails that will be released, stemming from controversy involving her use of a private server while secretary of state . So far the State Department has released about two-thirds of the e-mail messages from Clinton’s private e-mail account that she deemed to be work-related.
Roughly 1,000 of the e-mails have been redacted because they contain material that the intelligence community considers classified, according to the State Department. More than 300 of the documents released Monday included portions blocked from view for that reason.
Clinton has said she never sent or received material marked classified via her personal e-mail account — and her campaign has noted that information is frequently upgraded to classified after the fact.
The highly unusual setup has exposed her campaign to a barrage of criticism, and Clinton has repeatedly said she regrets the decision to circumvent the normal government account.
The messages have also provided a rare window into how official Washington works and the political considerations that the country’s top officials make when they don’t believe anyone is watching.
The July 2012 e-mail to Clinton is a prime example: Reines appeared to be suggesting that the secretary of state of the United States should visit additional countries merely to increase the total number of places where she had touched down on the job.
In the months after the e-mail was sent, Clinton visited at least seven of the countries on the list, according to a Globe review of her travel schedule.
She became the first US secretary of state in 57 years to visit Laos, part of a July 2012 trip the State Department touted as a “groundbreaking visit.” On that trip she also visited Mongolia by stopping in the city of Ulaanbaatar briefly to “talk about deepening economic relations,” according to a State Department briefing.
Her next trip — to Africa — included stops in Benin, South Sudan, and Senegal, three additional countries listed by her aide.
Then in September 2012, she hit two more.
She visited Brunei, and Clinton became the first US secretary of state to set foot in Timor-Leste, where she “emphasized US support for the young democracy,” according to a State Department briefing.
The July 2012 e-mail message, and subsequent travel to places on the list, plays into a narrative Republicans are pushing that Clinton’s actions as secretary of state were motivated by politics, and fits with a line that GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina likes to use against Clinton.
“Flying and traveling is an activity; it’s not an accomplishment,” Fiorina frequently says.
Other Republicans pounced on the e-mail as evidence that Clinton was using her time as secretary of state as a political steppingstone for a future job.
“Given her constant blurring of ethical lines, it’s not terribly surprising that Secretary Clinton was trying to use the State Department to bolster her future political campaign,” said Colin Reed, the executive director of America Rising, a Republican super PAC. “Her State Department tenure was supposed to be her campaign’s greatest asset — instead it has become a giant albatross.”
Read the e-mail: