State Department officials told a federal court today that the BlackBerry devices belonging to former Hillary Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin have likely been destroyed or sold off as surplus.
Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the State Department to file a reply to Judicial Watch’s August 17, 2015, response no later than 12:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Judge Sullivan yesterday issued a court order granting Judicial Watch’s request for a hearing this Thursday where State Department officials will have to explain what steps they’ve taken to track down Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and what electronic devices she and two of her closest advisors may have used to send them.
Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, has sued to get a look at the emails of Mrs. Clinton and two top aides at State: Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
All three used email accounts not issued by the State Department to conduct government business, and all three are now under court orders to return those documents to the department to belatedly comply with open-records laws.
After Mrs. Clinton said she had deleted messages from her server, Judicial Watch prodded the State Department to try to dig up her electronic devices to see if any messages could be recovered.
State, on Wednesday, said that was impossible.
“[The department] does not believe that any personal computing device was issued by the department to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has not located any such device,” administration officials said.
State Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote that Mills and Abedin were issued BlackBerry devices, but those were likely turned in at the end of their service.
“Because the devices issued to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed,” Macmanus said
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said that “the questions just keep popping up.”
“Every time the State Department tries to justify its stonewalling, one more bit of information arises. If the State Department was not providing secure email devices to Mrs. Clinton, who was? Best Buy? Target? Mrs. Clinton clearly did whatever she wanted, without regard to national security or federal records keeping laws.”