After the NY Times reported Monday that Hillary Clinton used a private email account during her tenure at the State Department, her defenders were quick to claim no harm was done. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, told the Times Hillary had “every expectation they would be retained” because she was careful about emailing her subordinates using their official government accounts. Less than a day later, a report by Gawker suggests that may not be true.
“Her top staffers used those Clinton email addresses” at the agency, said the source, who has worked with Clinton in the past. The source named two staffers in particular, Philippe Reines and Huma Abedin, who are said to have used private email addresses in the course of their agency duties.
Gawker was able to verify that Huma Abedin had an account (firstname.lastname@example.org) which used the same private domain used by Hillary. Spokesman Nick Merrill, the same one who told the Times this was much ado about nothing, refused to reply to questions about Abedin’s use of the Clinton email system. He did, however, deny that Philippe Reines had ever had such an account, telling Gawker, “He has never had one, not for communicating with anyone about anything.”
Does that mean that Reines was using an official government account, and Hillary only emailed him at that account? Apparently not. When asked whether Reines had a private account (other than one ending in clintonemail.com), Merrill refused to say. So the fact that one of Clinton’s closest aides used a private account is confirmed, and her spokesman will not deny that another one did the same.
Obviously any official business sent to or from those private accounts would not be archived. There is no way to know what Hillary sent or received from those two accounts because her own staff—using a process of their own making—decided which emails to turn over for archiving.