- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

Even after the now-infamous photo of Hillary Clinton using a BlackBerry device appeared, the State Department didn’t try to figure out why none of her emails was showing up in their systems, a top official said in testimony released Thursday.

Karin Lang, the department’s designated expert on Mrs. Clinton’s email, said Clarence Finney, who ran the records office at the time, did ask Mrs. Clinton whether she was using an official state.gov account. When told she wasn’t, he let the issue drop rather than inquire about what account she was using and whether it was involved in official business, Ms. Lang testified.

“He did not see a direct connection between the photo and [open records] requests for Mrs. Clinton’s emails,” Ms. Lang said in testimony taken Wednesday and released Thursday by Judicial Watch.

Ms. Lang said the State Department never asked Mrs. Clinton to search her emails because the staffers in charge of handling open records requests never knew of her secret account. Meanwhile, her top aides who did know never got involved in the process — despite being alerted to questions surrounding her curious email practices.

Ms. Lang also punctured Mrs. Clinton’s excuse for her secret email, saying that even if the former secretary had forwarded all of her emails to a State Department staffer, they would have been hidden from the public because nobody would have known where to look for them.

“The department has 70,000 employees worldwide,” Ms. Lang said in the deposition.

Mrs. Clinton’s emails have become a major hurdle in her presidential campaign. The FBI is investigating her behavior, and an inspector general found she broke a number of department rules concerning cybersecurity, though Mrs. Clinton and President Obama both insist she is in no legal jeopardy.

Still, two federal judges have granted limited discovery powers allowing Judicial Watch to probe how and why Mrs. Clinton set up the secret server at her home in New York and how the department botched the handling of open records requests to see those messages.

Ms. Lang, whom the department tapped to answer all of the questions, sat for more than six hours in a session repeatedly interrupted by long breaks when she had to call her office to try to get more information. She had to revise her answers several times after making inaccurate statements.

What she did describe was a department where those in the know about Mrs. Clinton’s secret email didn’t talk and those who didn’t know were the ones handling the requests to see the messages.

Mrs. Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, testified in a deposition that Mrs. Clinton figured her work-related messages were being stored because she generally tried to email with employees on their official state.gov accounts. Ms. Mills said she never thought about what happened when Mrs. Clinton emailed people outside the department.

In fact, a Washington Times analysis found that in those instances Mrs. Clinton rarely forwarded the messages to official accounts, so they would not have been stored.

In any case, Ms. Lang said, it wouldn’t have mattered because the open records office wouldn’t have known where to look.

Ms. Lang said she can’t be sure whether Mrs. Clinton or her top personal aide, Huma Abedin, turned over all of their emails that related to government business.

In a written set of answers, Ms. Lang said the State Department cannot say whether any other employees used Mrs. Clinton’s secret server.

“This is the agency’s witness, so the testimony is worth a careful review,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.

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