Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was apparently so attached to her BlackBerry device that she sometimes was seen using it in the hallway outside her highly secure office, according to a State Department official. When Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, was the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, she used her own email address and a server in her home to conduct both government business and personal communications.
Clinton regrets the mistake
Clinton’s email set-up violated the department’s rules, and Clinton never sought permission for it, the inspector general of the State Department wrote in a report made public on Wednesday. Also the inspector general stated that permission would not have been granted even if Clinton had asked. The FBI is now examining whether classified information was illegally transmitted in her private emails.
In a deposition released Thursday by the conservative government transparency group Judicial Watch, the official, Lewis Lukens, said, “The crux of the issue was that BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the secretary’s office suite, so the question was: How is the secretary going to be able to check her e-mails if she’s not able to have the BlackBerry at her desk with her?”
On Thursday, Clinton told reporters that her email practices were allowed and that the rules have been clarified since she left. Clinton told reporters that it was a mistake, and if she could go back, then she would do it differently.
Clinton using BlackBerry to keep in touch with family?
Lukens, who was a deputy assistant secretary of state from 2008 to 2011 and helped supervise coordination among sections of the State Department, said his proposal was to set up a computer on her desk to check her e-mails. Clinton was using her email to stay in touch with friends and family, believed Lukens. As for a computer, Lukens wrote in an email cited in the deposition that Cheryl Mills, who was Clinton’s chief of staff, said that Clinton does not know how to use a computer to do email and knows only BB (BlackBerry).
The inspector general’s report showed that Clinton’s predecessors used private email as well, said Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Clinton, on Wednesday.
“Clinton took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records,” Fallon said.
Five other former Clinton aides, including Hume Abedin and former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, have also been listed by the Judicial Watch for deposition.