Remember when the State Department expressed surprise that its top official spent four years running the organization without ever getting her own official e-mail account? Good times, good times. Chuck Ross makes a good catch at the Daily Caller in finding an e-mail from Huma Abedin to State executive secretary Stephen Mull rejecting his proposal for an official Blackberry with a State e-mail account in the middle of a discussion about ongoing failures with Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server:
“We are working to provide the Secretary per her request a Department issued Blackberry to replaced her personal unit which is malfunctioning,” wrote Mull, noting that the device was malfunctioning “possibly because of [sic] her personal email server is down.”
He offered to prepare two Blackberries, one of which would include “an operating State Department email account.”
And curiously, Mull noted that the official version “would mask her identity” but “would also be subject to FOIA requests.”
Abedin’s response? “Let’s discuss the state blackberry, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” Interestingly, it would appear that this e-mail conversation took place on Abedin’s official State Department e-mail account, as well as Hillary’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, from the headers used:
What does this mean? Ross makes the point clear in his opening:
Bombshell emails from the State Department show that a top official at the agency suggested to Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, in Aug. 2011 that the then-secretary of state begin using a government email account to protect against unexpected outages of her private email server.
But as the emails show, Abedin pushed back on the suggestion, telling the official, Stephen D. Mull, then the executive secretary of the State Department, that a State-issued Blackberry equipped with a state.gov email address “doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Besides showing that Clinton’s top aides were against the idea of her using a state.gov email account, the emails show for the first time that top State Department officials were aware of Clinton’s private email server arrangement.
This is important for several reasons, but it might put State Department officials in some very hot water. The department’s officials repeatedly represented to courts in FOIA lawsuits that they had no responsive e-mails from Hillary Clinton or her aides. Later, after the secret e-mail system was discovered, State had to go back to court and agree to search her archives but still represented that they didn’t know about her personal system. This exchange, in which Mull, Mills, and Abedin discuss how to resolve ongoing failures in Hillary’s private e-mail server, might demonstrate that State obstructed justice in these FOIA cases.
It could create other problems at State as well. They were required to keep official communications archived under the Federal Records Act. As long as no one at State knew about the system, their response early last year to demand the records after the e-mail scheme was exposed would suffice to meet that legal obligation. Now, however, it appears that not only did State Department officials knew about the private server located at the private residence, they were committing in-house State resources to keeping it in operation. That would possibly involve conversion of government resources to private use, which would be a crime for officials at State … including Hillary Clinton herself, who had to be aware of the efforts, since the server was located in her house. And that might be one reason why Bryan Pagliano will take the Fifth, absent a deal.
Let’s not forget Mull’s warning about FOIA exposure, too. That would indicate that State Department officials were not the unknowing victims of Hillary’s scheme to hide her communications from Congress and the courts, but active participants in a conspiracy. Did Mull ever alert anyone — the Inspector General would have been the obvious choice — that Hillary et al was using a system that shielded her from FOIA demands? If not, why not?
Perhaps the FBI is already asking these questions. Let’s hope a prosecutor starts asking them soon.