Three months into her term as secretary of state, two of Hillary Clinton’s top aides bluntly called her indiscriminate release of her private email address “outrageous” and “unbelievable,” according to an April 2009 email chain obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The email indicates that very early into her term as the country’s top diplomat, Clinton’s two closest aides were scandalized by their boss’ indifference towards email security.
“This is so unbelievable, she should not be giving her email to everyone,” said a frustrated Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills in an April 3, 2009, email exchange with Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin.
“Don’t get me started,” stated Abedin.“Personally, I think it’s outrageous.”
The blunt talk by her closest aides casts embarrassing new light on the issue of Clinton’s cavalier attitude about email and government information security in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey’s recent refusal to recommend an indictment.
Clinton’s presidential campaign has been plagued for more than a year by revelations of official Department of State meetings Clinton held with wealthy donors from the Clinton Foundation. Use of the private email system linked to the foundation server at her New York residence to facilitate the meetings is now fueling calls among some Democrats and influential liberal media outlets for the foundation to be shuttered if she becomes president.
Republicans, including Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, favor appointment of a special prosecutor.
Abedin also complained in the April email exchange that Clinton took her unsecured Blackberry cell phone everywhere. Abedin wanted an IT staffer to “fix” the automatic forwarding of her old Senate emails to her boss, but it would require the staff to get their hands on the “berry,” as it was known to Clinton’s inner circle.
The emails were obtained by the conservative group Citizens United in an Aug. 15 court-ordered release of Clinton’s communications with her staff, which were captured on her personal email server.
Clinton’s insistence on using a Blackberry caused a near rebellion by the National Security Administration and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They objected to her use of the unsecured cell phone within the confines of her highly secured office and within the State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
National Security Agency and FBI officials demanded a meeting in a February 2009 email chain released earlier this year by Judicial Watch.
“Why doesn’t she use her desktop when in the office,” asked Donald R. Reid, who is the State Department’s senior coordinator for security infrastructure for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
He noted Clinton’s displeasure with the current “No Blackberry in the SCIF” rule. SCIF refers to the secretary of state’s secured office.
A May 18, 2016, DCNF report on a deposition of a top Department of State official by Judicial Watch noted that Mills had said the problem “is HRC does not know how to use a computer to do emails — only Blackberry.” HRC refers to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Her aides also challenged Clinton’s judgment about appointing unqualified people to sensitive security posts. The trigger was an email sent to Clinton by an unnamed Department of State appointee she had sponsored for a security position. The appointee apparently failed the security tests and he directly appealed to the secretary of state for assistance.
Clinton instructed Abedin and Mills, “could you follow up on this?”
Abedin did not believe the staffer could be appointed to any vacant post. “HRC shared email with me the other day and asked if there was any way he could be steered to something else,” Abedin told Mills. “However, I still don’t know where you put him.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova told TheDCNF that the aides’ comments show “she started her carelessness early on … shows the reaction of her staff. They can’t believe she’s conducting herself this way.”
David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United, told TheDCNF, “this new email brings many troubling questions to mind. Just how easy was it to get access to Hillary Clinton’s email address.”
He also questioned the propriety of trying to place her person into the department’s security bureau, which has traditionally been staffed entirely with non-political career employees.
“Why was Secretary Clinton taking a personal interest in placing someone in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security,” Bossie asked.
A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.