NSA dismissed Clinton request for ‘secure’ BlackBerry

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Federal intelligence officials rebuffed an early effort by Hillary Clinton’s top aides to provide her with a “secure ‘BlackBerry-like’” device to use while serving as secretary of State, according to new emails released Wednesday.

Emails released as part of an open records lawsuit from conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch show that the National Security Agency (NSA) rebuffed requests from the State Department in February of 2009 to find a replacement for Clinton’s mobile device.

“[T]he current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State, and is very expensive,” Donald Reid, a top security official at the State Department, wrote in a Feb. 13, 2009, email.

{mosads}“[E]ach time we asked the question, ‘What was the solution for [the president]?’ we were politely told to shut up and color,” he added.

In another email, Reid described Clinton as being “hooked” on her BlackBerry following the 2008 presidential campaign. But she felt “hamstrung” when she had to lock it up before entering secure spaces at the State Department.

Clinton and her aides “are used to having the BB on their hip and staying closely in touch with developments during the day,” he wrote. 

It’s unclear from the emails how the matter was ultimately resolved.

The NSA appears not to have shut the State Department down entirely.

The agency “opened the door for us to establish requirements and they would try to help,” Reid wrote in the Feb. 13 message.

In a Feb. 18 email, Reid wrote that he and his staff would “be working with NSA on a set of possible options to meet [Clintons’] and others requirements.” 

In the same email, Reid noted that a briefing with officials from the NSA and Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s then-chief of staff, prompted NSA staffers to raise “a host of related issues” about what Clinton and her staff “have been briefed on with respect to travel and technology vulnerabilities.”

Clinton’s use of a private email server throughout her tenure as secretary of State has become a nagging political problem for her presidential campaign. Critics contend that it may have skirted federal recordkeeping laws and could also have jeopardized U.S. secrets.

Reid is the security coordinator for security infrastructure in the State Department’s diplomatic security bureau. Earlier this week, he and Mills was listed as two of eight people whom Judicial Watch wanted to testify about the setup of Clinton’s private email server, as part of a separate case. 

Tags Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Judicial Watch National Security Agency

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