Clinton, in 2011, Responded to an Email About 'Hacking' Concerns and 'Woeful' State Dep't. Technology

Susan Jones | March 17, 2016 | 10:19am EDT
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Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, checks her cellphone after her address at a United Nations meeting in 2012.

( - Midway through her term as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton received an email from a former State Department aide about "Google email hacking and woeful state of civilian technology."

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning at the State Department, wrote to Hillary on June 3, 2011:

Subject:  Google email hacking and woeful state of civilian technology
I'm sure you've thought of this, but it would be a great time for someone inside or outside to make a statement/ write an op-ed that points out that State's technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively. Further cuts to State's budget just makes matters much much worse. We actually need more funds to significantly upgrade our technology. AM

Hillary Clinton replied to Slaughter:

AM--I think this makes good sense. How should we follow up?

At the time, Clinton was violating State Department policy by using a address hosted by a private server set up in her home. (The FBI is now investigating whether she broke the law by mishandling information that was later deemed classified or top secret.)

Clinton's top aides Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jacob Sullivan were copied on the Slaughter-Clinton email chain.

Mills, responding to Clinton's question about follow-up, wrote:

I think this is easier to do as a former employee rather than current; second and more significantly,- as someone who attempted to be hacked (yes I was one), I am not sure we want to telegraph how much folks do or don't do off state mail b/c it may encourage others who are out there.

 Slaughter, a former employee, wrote back to Mills:

I take this point —Jake also has concerns. Perhaps a better approach is to make the point more quietly to legislators through H. AM

President Obama, who exchanged at least 18 emails with Clinton (none of them released by the State Department), said on March 7, 2015 that he did not know she was using a private server for official business until he read about it in news reports.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" seven months later, Obama repeated that he did not know about Clinton's use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.

Obama told Steve Kroft, "I don't think it posed a national security problem. I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged and--you know, as a general proposition, when we're in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data.

"And, you know, she made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that the way it's been ginned-up is in part because of-- in part-- because of politics. And I think she'd be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly."

Obama told Kroft he doesn't think that Clinton was using a private server "to hide something or to squirrel away information."

The FBI is now investigating whether Clinton broke the law by sending, receiving and storing sensitive government information on an unauthorized server. Some of the emails found on her private server were even more sensitive than top secret, according to tjhe inspector general for the Intelligence Community.

As recently as this month, Clinton brushed aside concerns that she may be indicted. She says she never sent any material marked classified, noting that the State Department retroactively classified the emails in question.

The State Department has now released more than 52,000 of Clinton's emails, many of them heavily redacted. And the State Department itself is conducting an investigation into how classified and secret information wasn't marked as such at the time it was sent.

The June 2011 email chain referenced above was released by the State Department as part of its September document dump:

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