Clinton BlackBerry photo prompted questions about email setup

Clinton BlackBerry photo prompted questions about email setup
© Hillary Clinton twitter account

An official speaking on behalf of the State Department said under oath this week that officials within the department responsible for processing open records requests were unaware that former Secretary Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump 'lynching' firestorm is sign of things to come Hillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Nielsen on leaving Trump administration: 'Saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough' MORE was using email of any kind while she was in office.   

Officials did begin to suspect she might be using some type of email account after they saw a picture of her on her mobile device, Karin Lang said during a deposition at the State Department on Wednesday. The picture seems to be the widely spread image of Clinton looking at her phone through sunglasses that became popular through its use on a Tumblr blog in 2012. 

But even then, State's IT office said only that she did not use an official state.gov email account. No one had ever asked whether she might be using a personal account.

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Clarence Finney, who at the time was the head of the office responsible for processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests dealing with the secretary of State, “was not aware of e-mail usage by the former secretary,” Lang said in sworn testimony.

“When Mrs. Clinton's photo appeared in the media with her using — appearing to use some sort of a mobile device, Clarence Finney checked with [the IT office] to confirm whether the answer was still that she did not have a state.gov e-mail account,” she said.

Because Clinton exclusively used a personal email account housed on a private server kept in the basement of her New York home, the answer was still no.

Lang was deposed about Clinton’s email behavior and the State Department’s record-keeping as part of a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog that has been given permission to interview multiple former Clinton aides. Lang, the director of the executive secretariat staff at the State Department, gave an official response on behalf of the department.

Lewis Lukens, another State Department official, has previously testified that he believed Clinton had explored accessing email at the office to communicate with “family and friends,” but not for work. 

During the interview this week, Lang confirmed that the department is depending on the word of Clinton and longtime aide Huma Abedin that all of their work-related emails have been turned over. It does not know for sure.

“The department is relying on the representations of these former employees,” Lang said.