BlackBerries used by Clinton aides likely gone or destroyed, State Department official says

BlackBerry devices used by two former Hillary Clinton aides during her time as Secretary of State have most likely been destroyed or sold off by the agency, a State Department official said in a court filing Wednesday.

The devices, used by Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, have not been located by the agency, State Department Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote in a filing submitted in a Washington federal court, adding that the agency’s “standard procedure upon return of such devices is to perform a factory reset (which removes any user settings or configurations)  and then to re-issue the device  to another employee, to destroy it, or to excess it.”

“Because the devices issued to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed,” Macmanus wrote.

He also said that Clinton did not have a BlackBerry from the State Department or any other device. “SES/IRM (Two State Department offices) does not believe that any personal computing device was issued by the Department to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and has not located any such device at the Department,” Macmanus wrote.

Wednesday’s court filing came amid a lawsuit by the group Judicial Watch, which is seeking records over the employment status of Huma Abedin, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The filing also follows a recent court order granting Judicial Watch’s request for a hearing  Thursday, August 20, at 12:00 p.m., which had previously been scheduled for September. The State Department recently sought a one-week extension from the court, which was denied by a judge who only pushed it back to 1 p.m.

“The questions just keep popping up. Every time the State Department tries to justify its stonewalling, one more bit of information arises,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement. “If the State Department was not providing secure email devices to Mrs. Clinton, who was? Best Buy? Target? Mrs. Clinton clearly did whatever she wanted, without regard to national security or federal records keeping laws.”

The lawsuit over Abedin’s employment was reopened amid new revelations of Clinton’s email records.