Hillary Clinton’s ‘Blackberry Blues’ Place National Security at Risk

Hillary Blackberry Elevator Getty
District of Columbia

There is no longer any question that Hillary Clinton’s email scheme jeopardized our national security. Look no further than what we revealed last week.

We released new documents containing email correspondence between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus, in which she had what she termed “blackberry blues” over her inability to use her BlackBerry inside her secure office. The FBI recovered these new emails from those not turned over by Hillary Clinton.

These emails are government documents and not personal emails, as Clinton claims in defending her decision to not turn over 30,000 emails sent or received by her as secretary of state.  The emails also show she knew about the security issues of her BlackBerry use (and yet denied recalling anything about it or refused to answer our questions).

In the newly obtained email exchanges, Clinton also told Petraeus, “If there is ever anything you need or want me to know, pls use this personal email address” – – when corresponding with her. Petraeus, at the time of the email from Clinton, was the Commander of the United States Central Command, overseeing U.S. military efforts in critical areas, stretching from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia, and including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Egypt.

The new documents were among the nearly 15,000 Clinton emails discovered by the FBI, and obtained in response to a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for State Department records about Clinton’s separate email system  (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00689)).

On January 28, 2008, only one week after becoming secretary of state, Clinton sent an email to Petraeus from her email account apologizing for her “tardy” response to his earlier email and blaming it on what she termed “blackberry blues”:

From: H []
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 9:33 PM
To: Petraeus, David H. GEN USA
Subject: Re: Follow up

David – Sorry to be so tardy in responding. I’ve had blackberry blues. I can’t use mine all day long since my whole office is a SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility]. I don’t yet have a computer and I had to change my address and lost some of my traffic.

(The State Department represented to a federal court that Hillary Clinton did not have a State Department computer.)

Shortly before taking office, Clinton emailed Petraeus asking that he use only her personal email account when contacting her. At the time, Petraeus was the Commander of the United States Central Command:

Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:57 PM
To: Petraeus, David H. GEN USA
Subject: Follow up

Dear Dave,

Thanks for giving me so much of your time the last two nights. I appreciated our conversations and enjoyed the chance to see you and Richard becoming acquainted. I’m looking forward to working w you both. If there is ever anything you need or want me to know, pls use this personal email address. All the best, Hillary.

Also included in the new emails is a response from Colin Powell to a January 23, 2009, message from Clinton detailing Powell’s warning to keep her BlackBerry use secret to circumvent federal records laws:

However there is real danger. If it is public that you have a BlackBerry and … you are using it, government or not to do business, it may become an official record and subject to the law….Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much …

(The Powell email had previously been released.)

Our lawyers specifically asked about Clinton’s BlackBerry use as part of the twenty-five questions submitted on August 30 to Clinton as ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (see especially her answers to questions 14, 15, and 16).

In December 2015, thanks to a federal court order, we released documents containing more than 50 State Department internal emails from 2009 and 2011 warning of serious security concerns involving the use by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff of “highly vulnerable” BlackBerrys in the executive offices of the Foggy Bottom headquarters.

The discussion included a March 2, 2009, internal memorandum from Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell in which he advised Clinton and her Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills of “the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of BlackBerrys in Mahogany Row [seventh floor executive offices] considerably outweigh their convenience.” Testimony by Cheryl Mills in separate Judicial Watch litigation suggests Clinton used her BlackBerry in her office’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), despite security rules prohibiting the use of such devices in secure areas.

These new emails show the truth that the separate email system was never a matter of “convenience” for Mrs. Clinton. She wanted to hide her emails from the American people.

And her request to Petraeus while he was the Commander of the United States Central Command to communicate with her solely at her unsecure email address shows Hillary Clinton’s willful negligence in handling national defense information.

It’s now clear why she deleted or withheld so many and why Mrs. Clinton didn’t recall or declined to answer our questions about her email security.