Hillary Clinton sought to secure her Blackberry when she led the State Department, knowing the security risks posed by her extensive use of it, according to emails released on Wednesday.
The National Security Agency denied her request.
According to the documents, released by watchdog group Judicial Watch, the NSA told Clinton's team to "shut up and color" when they inquired about securing her device in a manner similar to the one used by President Obama.
"We began examining options for [Clinton] with respect to secure 'Blackberry-like' communications," State Department official Donald Reid wrote in a 2009 email. "The current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State, and is very expensive ... each time we asked … the question 'What was the solution for POTUS?' we were politely told to shut up and color."
The request was rejected, according to Judicial Watch, because of cost and security concerns. Prior to that time, classified information was not processed over mobile devices to the extent that it was during Clinton's tenure. The reason she insisted on using a Blackberry, Reid wrote in another email, was that she had become addicted to it during her 2008 presidential campaign.
"The issue here is one of personal comfort," Reid wrote in another message. "During the campaign she was urged to keep in contact with thousands via a BB ... once she got the hang of it she was hooked … now everyday, she feels hamstrung because she has to lock her BB up."
The takeaway, Judicial Watch argued, is that Clinton knew her information was not being handled securely. "These documents show that Hillary Clinton knew her Blackberry wasn't secure," said the group's president, Tom Fitton. "Then why did she use it to access classified information on her illicit email server?"
A review of Clinton's email over the past year revealed that it was subject to hacking attempts from at least China, Germany, Russia and South Korea. Clinton has said there is "no evidence" that any of the countries were successful. The potential for classified information to be compromised is one reason that Clinton's use of a personal server violated State Department rules, and is an issue that the FBI is still investigating.
The new documents were obtained as a result of a 2015 Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch. However, the group just released the emails on Wednesday.