Newly released emails show that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin was aware of risks associated with using BlackBerry devices during a State Department visit to Russia in 2009.
The emails, which were provided to Fox News by the watchdog group Citizens United, show that Abedin was aware of security concerns surrounding the use of BlackBerries on trips to hostile nations. But that precaution stands in stark contrast to evidence showing that Clinton often used her non-government-issued BlackBerry in foreign nations with sophisticated spy agencies.
“Want to make sure DC is aware that those of us in the Russia traveling party will be leaving blackberries on the airplane once we touch down in moscow tonite,” Abedin wrote in an Oct. 12, 2009 email sent to a group of State Department officials.
Abedin forwarded that same email to several Bill Clinton aides, including Clinton Foundation adviser Doug Band.
Abedin and other Clinton aides used State Department-issued BlackBerries while Clinton used a personal device.
Clinton made that decision after she asked the National Security Agency to build a super-secure BlackBerry for her similar to one that the agency made for President Obama. When NSA officials rejected the idea, Clinton continued to use her personal PDA to send and receive emails, many of which contained classified information. (RELATED: INVESTIGATION: Hillary Sent Dozens Of Emails On Her BlackBerry From China And Russia)
The FBI, in its months-long investigation of Clinton’s email practices, did find evidence that Clinton used her personal BlackBerry in nations with advanced intelligence bureaus.
“She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries,” FBI director James Comey said on July 5.
“Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account,” he added.
Comey said that Clinton’s email practices in general were “extremely careless” and that while there was no “direct evidence” that her email server was successfully breached, it would be difficult for U.S. counterespionage analysts to detect a hack if it was carried out by advanced spy agencies.
There is other evidence that Clinton was not as pre-cautious as Abedin about using a BlackBerry overseas.
The Daily Caller reported earlier this year that Clinton appears to have sent and received emails on her personal BlackBerry while on trips to Russia, China, Vietnam and numerous other countries.
A cross-check of Clinton’s travel dates with her State Department emails shows that she emailed from China in Nov. 2009, May 2010, Oct. 2010 and during two trips to the communist nation in 2012. Clinton also appears to have sent and received emails from her BlackBerry while visiting Russia in June and September 2012.
Russia and China are considered the first and second greatest threats to U.S. cybersecurity, respectively. Russian spies are suspected of being behind a series of email hacks of the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic party organizations.
“This email about the Russia trip certainly raises more questions about what they knew about security concerns and when they knew it. I truly hope the FBI was aware of this email and asked the appropriate questions during the interview process,” Citizens United president David Bossie told The Daily Caller in a statement.
The State Department has in the past declined to tell TheDC whether Clinton used her BlackBerry on those overseas trips. The agency did say that diplomatic security staff altered its precautions “routinely from place to place.”