-By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began planning use of her secret email address even before she took office in January 2009, top aide Huma Abedin said in sworn testimony this week, raising questions about why no emails from her first few months in office were part of the set she returned to the government.
Ms. Abedin said “technical difficulties” forced Mrs. Clinton to give up the AT&T account she used as a senator, but said her boss’ choice to use her own personal BlackBerry connected to a server she kept at her home in New York was based on convenience, not an effort to thwart open records laws.
Ms. Abedin, who was a deputy chief of staff for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department, testified for several hours, detailing her own use of an account on Mrs. Clinton’s secret server and her subsequent efforts to get right with laws requiring all official business to be stored in department records.
“I assumed it was OK to use it. I wasn’t told that I couldn’t use it,” Ms. Abedin said under questioning from Judicial Watch, a conservative law firm that has been pursuing several cases over the Clinton emails. The deposition took place Tuesday, and Judicial Watch released a transcript Wednesday.
She said she asked former President Clinton’s tech staffer for a personal account at the end of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, when both her campaign and Senate email addresses were disappearing. The staffer, Justin Cooper, said he was already setting up an account for Mrs. Clinton and offered an email address to Ms. Abedin as well.
Ms. Abedin said she couldn’t recall being briefed on the Freedom of Information Act, either coming into office or when she left.