State Department likely destroyed BlackBerries used by top Clinton aides

The State Department said in a court filing yesterday that the government-issued BlackBerries used by Hillary Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were likely destroyed after those staffers left their positions.  The court filing was mandated by the judge in the Judicial Watch FOIA request regarding the nature of Abedin's employment by both the State Department and a private business.

The Hill:

Mills and Abedin “were each issued BlackBerry devices,” department Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote in the filing.

The department, however, “has not located any such device,” and believes that they would have been destroyed or removed from the department's control.

“Because the devices issues 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 Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed,” Macmanus added.

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed later on Wednesday afternoon that the two former officials’ devices were returned to the department after they left office.

“They belong to the United States government, and when you leave an agency you just turn it in,” Kirby said. “So yes, they were turned in. Where they are now I couldn’t begin to tell you.

“It’s also likely, because this was a while ago, that those devices may have been destroyed,” he added. “I don’t have the records of it because they were old and outmoded and often times we purchase new devices” in those circumstances.

In the same court filing, the State Department confirmed its previous claim that Clinton used a personal BlackBerry during her time in office that was not issued by the federal government.

The State 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 at the department,” Macmanus wrote.

News of the Clinton aides’ devices adds to the growing scrutiny on the Democratic presidential front-runner and two of her top advisors, both of whom have been drawn into the fire surrounding the Clinton email furor.

The criticism has been a major drag on Clinton’s presidential campaign, and has provided a nearly endless supply of ammunition to her critics — including some Democrats

I have no doubt that the State Department takes back such devices from appointees and other temporary employees, but their explanation for destroying them is absurd.  They were perfectly good devices, capable of being used again.  Sounds like more scrubbing being done by the State Department, who have been running interference for Hillary ever since this email scandal began.

Abedin's status as both aide to Hillary Clinton and consultant for a firm with close ties to the Clinton Foundation at the same time screams conflict of interest.  And along with other problems being experienced by Huma, this "arrangement" may indeed land her in jail.

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