Watchdog: New Emails Show Clinton Knew About Security Risks of Private BlackBerry

'No blackberry contact permitted in my office'

May 12, 2016

Emails obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch indicate that Hillary Clinton was aware of the security risks of communicating over a private BlackBerry, the organization said on Thursday.

Judicial Watch released nearly 300 pages of State Department records on Thursday, including an email that showed Clinton acknowledging security restrictions on her BlackBerry use and another in which Clinton declined to use a secure line to talk to an aide.

In a Feb. 27, 2009, email from Clinton to Dr. Mark Hyman, a health care advocate, the secretary of state told him that she had not replied to a prior email because she was not allowed to use her BlackBerry in her State Department office.

"I'm so sorry but I'm just seeing this (no blackberry contact permitted in my office)," wrote Clinton.

Unsecured cell phone use is not permitted in certain areas of the State Department where classified information is discussed, including Clinton’s office on "Mahogany Row." Clinton reportedly continued to use her unsecured BlackBerry after she started at the State Department in early 2009, while her aides unsuccessfully lobbied to get her a secure BlackBerry-like device.

In another Feb. 22, 2009, email, State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills told Clinton she was having trouble reaching her over a secure phone line.

"I just tried [your secure line] but only got a long high-pitched whining sound," Mills wrote.

"I give up," replied Clinton. "Call me on my home #."

According to Judicial Watch, which obtained the documents as part of a public records lawsuit against the State Department, the emails raise further questions about the security of Clinton’s communications at the State Department.

"This drip, drip of new Clinton emails show Hillary Clinton could not care less about the security of her communications," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton in a statement. "How many other smoking gun emails are Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators in the Obama administration hiding from the American people?"

The new release also includes emails from Clinton from January 2009, according to Judicial Watch. Clinton has said she did not start using her private email server until March 2009, and the earliest email she turned over to the State Department was from March 18, 2009.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents after requesting emails "received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from Jan. 1, 2009, through Feb. 1, 2013" from an unofficial email address.

Two federal judges have granted Judicial Watch discovery in separate lawsuits, to determine whether State Department officials properly complied with public records laws.