The Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed Friday that President Barack Obama used a private email address and pseudonym to communicate with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary R. Clinton and her own private email account as early as June 2012.
Posted at the FBI’s Vault site, the revelation was part of a 189-page document dump of interview notes from conversations its agents conducted about how Clinton handled classified electronic correspondence, other documents, and her private email scheme during her tenure as secretary of State.
Clinton confidante Huma Abedin was interviewed April 5, 2016 in a meeting in the FBI’s Washington field office with FBI agents, her attorneys, and a representative from the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Office.
Abedin told the FBI she had no idea who the email’s sender was and when agents told her it was the president’s pseudonym, she exclaimed: “How is this not classified?”
The confidante also told the agents that the president’s official email account had filters, so that certain emails could not get through to him–which came to her attention because when the former first lady changed private email accounts, her emails were bounced from the president’s official email account.
In addition to the news that the president, like many other members of his administration, used a fake name and his own private email account, it also means that Obama’s public statements about Clinton’s email arrangement were contrary to his own working knowledge and experience.
Obama told CBS News March 7, 2015 that he did not know about Clinton’s private email while she was his secretary of state from Jan. 21, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2013.
Q: Mr. President, when did you first learn that Hillary Clinton used an email system outside the U.S. government for official business while she was secretary of state?
Obama: The same time everybody else learned it through news reports.
In March 2013, The Smoking Gun website posted an article describing Clinton’s private email scheme, but it was not until The New York Times reported March 2, 2015 a full description of how Clinton used not only a private email address, but also a private server, and used this setup for all of her official electronic correspondence when she led State.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest walked back the president’s outright denial March 9:
The president was referring specifically to the arrangement associated with Secretary Clinton’s email. Yes, the president was aware of her email address. He traded emails with her. That shouldn’t be a surprise that the president of the United States is going to trade emails with the secretary of state. But the president was not aware of the fact that this was a personal email server and that this was the email address that she was using exclusively for all her business. The president was not aware of that until that had been more widely reported.