As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton skipped a special cyber security briefing set up by the State Department’s security team that would have dealt with risks associated with her use of a personal email account and private server.
Congressional investigators told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge that cyber threats became so worrisome in 2011 that the State Department scheduled the briefing for Clinton, whose off-the-books email system included a personal email account, a personal BlackBerry, and a private email server.
It is unclear why Clinton skipped the briefing, but it comes as no surprise. The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Richard Pollock reported on Thursday that Clinton received training on the handling of classified documents just one time during her entire four year stint at the State Department. (RELATED: Clinton Received Training On Classified Docs Just ONCE In Three Years At State)
A former State Department official told Pollock that Clinton should have received training each and every year while she was in office and that there should be documentation of the sessions.
The State Department has claimed that all of its employees undergo recurring training dealing with cyber security and the handling of classified information.
“We all have to undergo that, and it’s considered mandatory,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said of cyber security briefings during a daily press briefing on Thursday.
He was not able to say what punishments are doled out for failure to comply.
During a Senate hearing earlier this month, Heather Higginbottom, who serves as deputy assistant secretary for management and resources at the State Department, said that the agency has “robust” and recurring security training sessions for all employees.
“We do have robust training, both when someone enters the department, just so they understand the type of information they’ll see and why that might be of interest to an adversary or someone with an interest that’s not in the in the United States’ interest,” Higginbottom testified.
She also gave an example of how the mandatory training would be enforced.
“I get locked out of my computer, as does every other State Department employee, if I don’t take an annual cybersecurity awareness course. I literally can’t get on, I have to take — it takes a few hours,” she said.
That would have done next to nothing to ensure that Clinton took her training sessions, though. The Democratic presidential candidate only used a BlackBerry to send and receive emails. And while Clinton was provided an account on the State Department’s classified communications network, she never used it. (RELATED: State Dept. Has Had ‘Robust’ Classified Info Training For A Long Time)
While Clinton’s server has been at the center of intense intrigue over the past year, her BlackBerry has recently emerged as another item of interest.
Emails released by the watchdog group Judicial Watch over the past two weeks show that Clinton and her top aide, Cheryl Mills, were made aware of the security risks associated with using a BlackBerry. Days into her term as secretary of state in Jan. 2009, Clinton asked the National Security Agency for a special BlackBerry similar to the one that President Obama had been provided.
The NSA denied the request, however. And though emails show that State Department officials told Clinton of the risks associated with using a BlackBerry, she continued to use one anyway. She also likely raised her risk profile by using a personal BlackBerry and not one issued by the State Department.
A recent Daily Caller investigation revealed that Clinton used her BlackBerry during several trips to countries like Russia and China, which are known for spying on foreign officials and hacking their communications devices.