FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: State Department FOIA staff was aware that Clinton did not use government e-mail address

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Clinton BlackBerry photo led to State official’s query about email account

By Josh Gerstein, Politico, June 9, 2016

An iconic photograph of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton using her BlackBerry while wearing sunglasses on a military plane in 2011 prompted a recordkeeping official in her office to inquire about whether Clinton had been assigned a State.gov email address, the State Department disclosed this week.

Clarence Finney, who oversaw an office responsible for Freedom of Information Act searches, raised the question about an official account after seeing the photo in the media, according to testimony at a deposition held Wednesday and released Thursday. The image went viral on social media in 2012, prompting a "Texts from Hillary" meme.

"When Mrs. Clinton's photo appeared in the media with her using — appearing to use some sort of a mobile device, Clarence Finney checked with [information management staff] to confirm ... whether the answer was still that she did not have a State.gov e-mail account," State Director of Executive Secretariat Staff Karin Lang said.

Lang said Finney was told at the outset of Clinton's tenure as secretary that, "like her predecessor, [Clinton] would not use an official account." The follow-up question prompted by the photo elicited the same answer, that Clinton "still did not have a State.gov account," Lang added.

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