National Security

Email: Clinton aide rejected idea of government email


A former top aide to Hillary Clinton rejected the prospect of having the former secretary of State switch from her private email setup to one managed by the State Department, according to a new email released this week.

In 2011, then-State Department executive secretary Stephen Mull told Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin that he was working on a replacement Blackberry when Clinton’s began to malfunction, possibly as a result of problems with her personal email server. 

{mosads}“We will prepare two versions for her to use — one with an operating State Department email account (which would mask her identity, but which would also be subject to [Freedom of Information Act] requests), and another which would just have phone and internet capability,” he wrote in the Aug. 30, 2011, email.

“We’re working with Monica [Hanley] to hammer out the details of what will best meet the Secretary’s needs,” he added, referring to another Clinton aide.

Mull’s suggestion came at Clinton’s request, he wrote, indicating that the former secretary of State had asked for a State Department-issued Blackberry.

However, Abedin dismissed the idea of using a Blackberry with a email address.

The suggestion “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” she wrote, without further explanation.

The email was obtained by the Daily Caller through a FOIA lawsuit launched by conservative legal watchdog Cause of Action. 

The message appears to be the clearest indication that Clinton’s unusual use of a personal email address and private server was at least somewhat well known throughout the State Department during her time in office. The department has previously danced around the question of who, precisely, authorized Clinton to use the unconventional setup.

In a statement, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the department “is not going to speak to past email practices.” 

“There are reviews and inquiries underway and we are not going to get ahead of then,” he added. “We are releasing approximately 55,000 pages of former Secretary Clinton’s emails through our monthly FOIA process.”

“Secretary Kerry asked the Inspector General to look into these matters last March. We have worked closely with the OIG [office of inspector general] on his review and we look forward to his findings.”

Clinton’s email practices have followed her presidential campaign. Critics worry that the personal setup allowed her to avoid transparency laws and may have made secret government information vulnerable to foreign hackers. 

In the initial email, Mull said that the State Department was working on “an enhanced package of capabilities and equipment” that Clinton could use “for when local infrastructure fails” due to hurricanes, power outages or other “unexpected” events that threaten to knock out her communications.

The email chain was sent around the time that Hurricane Irene battered the Eastern seaboard, knocking out electricity for roughly 7 million people. The new email appears to suggest that Clinton’s email server was also affected in the storm. 

However, the outage of Clinton’s personal machine was not alone, Abedin appeared to respond.

“[A]s even the white house attested, this was a pretty wide spread problem, not just affecting us,” Abedin wrote. “So we should bear that in mind.”

“Thanks for reminding all of this very helpful context!!!!” Mull responded. 

This story was updated at 12:15 p.m.

Tags Huma Abedin Stephen Mull
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