Former State Dept. official: Despite warnings, Clinton and staff were ‘wedded to their BlackBerrys’

FPI / May 30, 2019

by Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch on May 29 released the deposition transcript of Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, in which he reveals that Clinton was warned twice against using unsecure BlackBerrys and personal emails to transmit classified material.

Boswell, who was responsible for securing classified and national security information, stated that Clinton and her staff were “wedded to their BlackBerrys.” Additionally, he stated that he and other former State Department employees “were surprised” that Clinton used to conduct official government business.

Hillary Clinton was warned in 2009 that ‘any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails and exploiting calendars.’

“Thanks to our court-ordered discovery, we now have confirmation that Hillary Clinton was warned by the top security official in the State Department that unsecure Blackberry and email use was a security risk, yet Hillary Clinton ignored these warnings,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered that the Boswell video be sealed.

In his deposition, Boswell stated:

  • Hillary Clinton and other Senior State Department officials were warned in 2009 that “any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails and exploiting calendars.”
  • Clinton was warned again in 2011 that “We also urge Department users to minimize the use of personal web email for business, as some compromised home systems have been reconfigured by these actors to automatically forward copies of all composed emails to an undisclosed recipient.”
  • Clinton assured him that she “gets it” when he informed her about dangers of Blackberrys.
  • Clinton and her staff were “wedded to their blackberries” and wanted to continue using them in secure areas even after the warning because it was a “convenience issue” to them.

Boswell was deposed as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by Lamberth in response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving Clinton’s unsecured, non-government email system.

Judicial Watch was granted both depositions and written questions under oath of former Clinton aides, State Department officials, and others, including:

  • Justin Cooper, a former aide to Bill Clinton who reportedly had no security clearance and is believed to have played a key role in setting up Hillary Clinton’s non-government email system.
  • John Hackett, a State Department records official “immediately responsible for responding to requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act”.
  • Jacob “Jake” Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff.
  • Sheryl Walter, former State Department Director of the Office of Information Programs and Services/Global Information Services.
  • Gene Smilansky, a State Department lawyer.
  • Monica Tillery, a State Department official.
  • Jonathon Wasser, who was a management analyst on the Executive Secretariat staff. Wasser worked for Deputy Director Clarence Finney and was the State Department employee who actually conducted the searches for records in response to FOIA requests to the Office of the Secretary.
  • Clarence Finney, the deputy director of the Executive Secretariat staff who was the principal advisor and records management expert in the Office of the Secretary responsible for control of all correspondence and records for Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials.
  • Heather Samuelson, the former State Department senior adviser who helped facilitate the State Department’s receipt and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
  • Monica Hanley, Hillary Clinton’s former confidential assistant at the State Department.
  • Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.
  • E.W. Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division who helped oversee both the Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.
  • Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s former UN ambassador who appeared on Sunday television news shows following the Benghazi attacks, blaming a “hateful video.” Rice was also Obama’s national security adviser involved in “unmasking” the identities of senior Trump officials caught up in the surveillance of foreign targets.
  • Ben Rhodes, an Obama-era White House deputy strategic communications adviser who attempted to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”

In June 2017, Judicial Watch submitted evidence showing that Clinton knowingly used an unsecure BlackBerry device despite being warned by “security hawks” against doing so.

In a related case, in 2016, Judicial Watch took depositions from Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Patrick Kennedy, Stephen Mull, Karin Lang and Bryan Pagliano in connection to Secretary Clinton’s private email system.

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