Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her unsecure Blackberry device during her tenure, even though she admittedly knew it was “against the advice” of people with the best knowledge of cybersecurity, according to documents released Thursday.
The legal complaint was in response to the federal agency’s lack of response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that sought, during a specific timeframe, “all emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin” that weren’t from a “state.gov email address.”
An email sent to Susan Kennedy, likely then-chief of staff of then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, reportedly reads: “Against the advice of the security hawks, I still do carry my blackberry but am prohibited from using it in my office, where I spend most of my time when I’m not on a plane or in a ‘no coverage’ country.”
Clinton appears to be insinuating that State Department staff told her not to use a BlackBerry device because it is very susceptible to espionage. Judicial Watch alleges that the email demonstrates that Clinton read, or was at least aware of, an information memo strongly stressing “that any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving email, and exploiting calendars.”
Clinton’s use of a private phone led to substantial amounts of criticism since personal mobile devices are not subjected to the same security protocol as government-sponsored electronics, and also because it was hooked up to her private email server. Thousands of messages contained classified information, and she used at least eight different mobile devices while in office (13 including out of office), according to the FBI’s email investigation report released in September.
“Mrs. Clinton seemingly ignored the advice of ‘security hawks’ and violated numerous laws related to the handling of classified material and government documents,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The State Department sat on this document for 18 months. It is a smoking gun that shows why she must held accountable under criminal and civil law.”
Judicial Watch submitted the new evidence to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who presided over the FOIA lawsuit. Sullivan originally argued that lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice were not sufficiently complying with public record laws.
“We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said, in an apparent reference to Clinton.
While not to the same extent, President Donald Trump was also admonished for his use of an unsecure phone.
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California called for an official investigation into Trump’s “reckless disregard for cybersecurity,” specifically his alleged use of two mobile phones.
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