State Dept. Says BlackBerries Issued to Clinton Aides Were Probably ‘Destroyed or Excessed’

AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda

The latest development in the lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch to examine the highly unusual terms of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s employment at the State Department is a federal court filing in which State says the secure BlackBerry phones issued to Abedin and another Clinton aide, Cheryl Mills, have most likely been destroyed, or at least wiped clean and reissued to other employees.

That’s an oddly ambiguous answer, isn’t it? We’re talking about the highly secure device Hillary Clinton thought it would be too difficult and inconvenient for her imperial self to use. Can’t the State Department instantly determine the current disposition of every such device? The tools owned by the average small contracting company are tracked more carefully than secure phones issued by a Cabinet agency that deals with sensitive intelligence?

What State actually delivered to the court of U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, as reported by Politico, reads more like a general statement of principle than a precise answer to the question of what happened to Abedin and Mills’ phones:

BlackBerry devices the State Department issued to former Hillary Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin have likely been destroyed or sold off as surplus, a State official said in a court filing Wednesday.

The secretary of state’s information technology office “believes that Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin were each issued BlackBerry devices,” State Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote in a declaration submitted to a federal court in Washington (and posted here). The office, referred to as S/ES-IRM in agency parlance, “has not located any such device at the department” and “standard procedure upon return of such devices is to perform a factory reset (which removes any user settings or configurations) and then to reissue the device to another employee, to destroy it, or to excess it,” he added.

“Because the devices issued to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed. As stated above, the email accounts themselves are generally housed on the Department’s servers,” Macmanus said.

The State Department believes Mills and Abedin were issued phones, but they haven’t found them lying around the office anywhere, so let’s just run through what the standard procedures would have been to satisfy the judge…

For good measure, our almighty mega-government does not believe it ever gave a secure BlackBerry to Secretary Clinton herself… which is funny, because she ostentatiously had herself photographed using one. In her autobiography, and in correspondence with the State Department’s IT personnel, she expressed her strong preference for Apple products, but somehow got herself photographed using a BlackBerry, and now the department says it doesn’t think it ever issued her one of the specially-modified devices it prepares, but it’s not really sure, because it doesn’t keep very careful track of them, it just trashes or reissues secure phones without filing any serialized paperwork…

Is anybody really buying this? Anyone at all?

“The questions just keep popping up,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, clearly not buying it. “Every time the State Department tries to justify its stonewalling, one more bit of information arises.”

Incidentally, Abedin and Mills still haven’t submitted sworn declarations to the court that they have turned over all official records, as directed by the court, because court orders are mere suggestions when you’re a top aide to Democrat royalty.


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