Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal cell phone while Secretary of State is prompting more questions regarding personal emails and her private server.
Non-profit government watchdog Judicial Watch is in a tug-of-war over information from the State Department through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. So far, the State Department stands by the statement that it did not give Clinton a secured smartphone while she headed the department for five years.
Revelations about Clinton’s personal smartphone came out after Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking information about Clinton’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin’s employment. The case, Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State, was reopened after the FBI began investigating Clinton’s email records kept on her private server.
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There is a court hearing scheduled in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 20 to review the status of the lawsuit. The State Department issued a status report on Aug. 14 and Judicial Watch replied Aug. 17. The department was ordered to file an additional reply by noon on Aug. 19.
“The questions just keep popping up. Every time the State Department tries to justify its stonewalling, one more bit of information arises,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a press release. “If the State Department was not providing secure email devices to Mrs. Clinton, who was? Best Buy? Target? Mrs. Clinton clearly did whatever she wanted, without regard to national security or federal records keeping laws.”
The State Department has responded that it gave secured Blackberry devices to others under Clinton’s leadership, including Cheryl Mills and Abedin. Those phones can’t be located and are believed to have been destroyed since they were older models. A department spokesperson said the two women turned in their phones when they left their jobs.
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The department also said Mills and Abedin, along with two other former officials under Clinton, used government email addresses while Clinton did not. The fact that Clinton was using a personal cell phone and did not use a government email address is fueling speculation that more of the government’s business was done on unsecured, personal servers than was first speculated.
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