The Daily Caller has exclusively confirmed that a top aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed — but failed to honor — an official “separation agreement,” which required her to surrender all work-related documents when she left office.
That aide, Huma Abedin, maintained control of emails she sent and received through a personal email account hosted on Clinton’s private email server for nearly two-and-a-half years after she left the agency in Feb. 2013.
In signing the form — called the OF-109 — but failing to turn over State Department records, Abedin may have opened herself up to criminal charges.
“I have surrendered to responsible officials all classified or administratively controlled documents and material with which I was charged or which I had in my possession,” reads Abedin’s signed OF-109, which The Daily Caller obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on its behalf by the watchdog group Cause of Action.
“I am not retaining in my possession, custody, or control, documents or material containing classified or administratively controlled information furnished to me during the course of such employment or developed as a consequence thereof,” the form reads.
“I have surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents, and papers relating to the official business of the Government acquired by me while in the employ of the Department.”
In signing the form, outgoing employees acknowledge that they have been advised that “Section 1001 of Title 18, United States Code, provides criminal penalties for knowingly and willfully falsifying or concealing material fact in a statement or document submitted to any department or agency of the United States Government.”
It was recently reported that the FBI has expanded its investigation of Clinton’s home-brew email system. The agency is now looking at whether “materially false” statements were given to federal agents, Fox News reported on Thursday. It is unclear whether the probe is focusing on Abedin’s OF-109. (RELATED: Report: FBI Investigating Whether ‘Materially False’ Statements Given In Hillary Email Probe)
Abedin’s attorney, former State Department official Miguel Rodriguez, did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment. Nor did the Clinton campaign.
Abedin and other Clinton aides, including Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines, were ordered by a federal judge this summer to turn over all of the work-related emails they sent and received while in office.
TheDC also sued for Mills’ and Reines’ OF-109 forms, as well as for Clinton’s.
Abedin, who used the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, returned 6,714 emails in her possession in September. Mills and Reines, who used Yahoo and Google accounts, respectively, turned their emails over to the State Department in June. Clinton gave hers to the agency last December.
The records that the State Department provided to TheDC do not make it entirely clear if either Mills or Reines signed the OF-109.
An internal State Department memo included in the FOIA release states that the agency “has both an OF-109 and SF-312 for Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.”
But while one of the documents provided to TheDC is an OF-109 with Mills’ name typed on it, it does not bear her signature.
Reines was not serving in the secretary’s bureau when he stopped working at the State Department. “His separation documents may be found elsewhere,” the memo states.
A State Department official could neither explain the discrepancy nor confirm that Mills did not sign the agreement. If she did sign the form, she would come under the same scrutiny as Abedin. If she did not, that would raise questions over how and why the State Department allowed her to avoid such a routine measure.
State Department whistleblowers told TheDC in March that rank-and-file agency employees are required to sign the form. Failure to do so could result in the agency withholding benefits and conducting investigations into why the employees declined to sign the form, a whistle-blower said. (RELATED: Whistle-Blower: State Department Employees Who Don’t Sign Separation Agreement Face Dire Consequences)
As for Clinton, a memo provided in the FOIA release shows that she did not sign an OF-109. While the State Department has already stated that it had no record of Clinton having signed the document, the memo provides the agency’s rationale for why she didn’t.
“Departing secretaries of state do not complete an OF-109 due to their continued need for a security clearance after their resignation,” the memo reads.
On March 17, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the agency could find no record of Clinton having signed the OF-109.
“I think we’re fairly certain that she did not, we don’t have record of it,” Psaki said then.
The State Department declined to specifically address the significance of Abedin’s signing the OF-109.
“The State Department has undertaken great efforts to retrieve records from some individuals, including Huma Abedin. The State Department asked her to send any records in her possession and we’re doing due diligence to make sure that we’re retrieving all of them,” an official told TheDC.
Editor’s note: At the request of the State Department, The Daily Caller has agreed to redact the names of the interviewing officers, as well as the birth dates of both Abedin and Mills.
SEE THE DOCUMENTS: