The day before Huma Abedin appears before the House Benghazi Panel (well staffers at least) it turns out she used ANOTHER private email address to do State Department business. Citizens United ended up finding an email with the redacted address, then put it up online. The email is probably from the list of redacted emails from Hillary Clinton’s clintonmail.com server and has to do with Cornell’s invite to get Clinton to speak at commencement in 2013. Here’s a screencap of the email in question.
Obviously we don’t know if Abedin was sent any classified documents or even used it on a regular basis to do State Department business. But it definitely shows lax security on the part of Clinton and her top aides, if they were willing to use other email accounts which weren’t either clintonemail.com (which was never secure) or state.gov. It also shows how possible State Department business could have ended up getting grabbed by hackers if they knew where to look. Russian hackers were after Clinton’s server at least five times and who knows if they decided to go after the private email accounts of Abedin and Cheryl Mills. This goes along with what Washington Times reported back in August on the suit between Judicial Watch and the State Department.
John F. Hackett, the top open-records official at the department, said they have officially concluded that Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills “used personal email accounts located on commercial servers at times for government business.” Ms. Abedin, meanwhile, had an account at clintonemail.com, the domain tied to the Clinton home server.
Mr. Hackett also said he has no way of knowing what else might be out there, and has to trust the two women and their lawyers to turn over what they have.
“The department is not in a position to attest to non-department servers, accounts, hard drives or other devices that may contain responsive information,” Mr. Hackett said in a declaration filed with Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in a case brought by Judicial Watch, which is seeking records from Mrs. Clinton’s aides.
The thing which doesn’t make sense to me is WHY the State Department and the White House allowed this to happen. Did they think protocol didn’t matter because it was Clinton? Ex-Justice Department lawyer Shannen W. Coffin certainly thinks so. He wrote in National Review back in March how it appears State didn’t even bother following protocol when it came to record-keeping protocol.
First, the governing rules. The State Department Foreign Affairs Manual and Foreign Affairs Handbooks, which set forth the Department’s internal operating procedures and guidelines for the day-to-day operations of the Department, plainly require that all departing employees sign a separation statement. Department management is responsible under those procedures for “reminding all employees who are about to leave the Department . . . of the laws and regulations pertaining to the disposition of personal papers and official records” and for “ensuring that . . . [the] Separation Statement [is] executed for each departing employee.” Elsewhere, the same department rulebook, addressing termination of an employee, provides that a “separation statement will be completed whenever an employee is terminating employment…”
More importantly, while the failure to follow those guidelines alone is not a crime, any willful evasion by Mrs. Clinton of the obligation imposed on every other State Department to sign the form might be evidence that she sought to hide the existence of the 30,000 or more e-mails on her home server. The willful concealment of those records could, as discussed here, violate federal criminal statutes prohibiting destruction or concealment of official records by their custodian. And, as discussed by Professor Ron Rotunda in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, it might also evidence a violation of federal statutes (enacted with the support of then-Senator Hillary Clinton) prohibiting such concealment or destruction of any records (official or personal) for the purpose of frustrating an existing or even contemplated federal investigation.
When you read it that way it sure seems like Clinton broke the law. Abedin’s interview today isn’t a deposition and isn’t in front of any members of the Benghazi committee. But National Review reported yesterday the newest private account isn’t going to be brought up.
A Benghazi Committee aide said in a statement sent to reporters this afternoon that Abedin “will be questioned about issues pertaining to the committee’s charter,” specifically the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya and the Obama administration’s subsequent response. It appears she will not be subject to questioning on Teneo or the Clinton Foundation.
If the private account was used on Benghazi then I’m sure it would have been brought up, and it makes sense for the staffers to just focus on Benghazi. If she were called to actually testify in front of the committee that might make things a little different. But it still shows a lack of foresight by the Clinton and the Clintonistas to actually bother with national security. If the server wasn’t secure (and it’s obvious it wasn’t) what secrets may have slipped out which the State Department, before and after Clinton, didn’t bother worrying about?