Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s most trusted confidante, is a central figure in the email scandal that may take Clinton out of the presidential race. Republicans and federal judges want access to Abedin’s emails while Clinton was running the State Department.
The 2016 Democratic front-runner on Monday told a federal judge that Abedin — long considered her boss’s keeper and even dubbed her “shadow” — had her own email account on Clinton’s now infamous home-brewed server, “which was used at times for government business,” Clinton acknowledged. That’s an unusual arrangement, even for top brass at the State Department.
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Abedin has hired a team of lawyers, one of whom is a former Clinton aide, who are responding to information requests from the courts and State. They’ve denied any wrongdoing on the part of their client and said Abedin is cooperating with requests for official emails in her possession, aiming to turn over all her correspondence by the end of August.
But her lawyers — Karen Dunn and Miguel Rodriguez — didn’t respond to questions about emails on Clinton’s separate server. Dunn is a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and she served as a senior advisor to Clinton when she was in the Senate.
After an inspector general found that Clinton had at least two “top secret” emails stored on her unsecured computer network, Abedin is likely to face more questions from congressional investigators, and perhaps others, about her access to Clinton’s system.
Abedin had been granted “special government employee” status, allowing her to work both for Clinton and the private sector — and it’s unclear if she continued using the server that appears to have held classified information following her departure from her full-time State gig.
On Wednesday, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill waved off questions about how the two issues — the email server and Abedin’s unusual work arrangement — may or may not have overlapped, accusing the right of playing politics with this line of inquiry.
“It’s election season, and congressional Republicans are running the same series of plays, just on a different field,” Merrill said in an email, later adding that Abedin maintained her security clearance while she worked as a State contractor.
Merrill said SGEs often have clearance and there’s nothing unusual about her having such access. He also said that many government workers take on such contractor status, adding that Abedin had a green-light from State’s legal and human resources departments to do so.
But Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ project on government secrecy, said any former employee’s potential access to secret materials could be problematic after they leave the government.
“What happens if [a former government employee] still retains access through a prior server, to information that was justified by a previous position? That’s not supposed to happen — and that’s one of the anomalies that are created by the private server,” Aftergood said.
Classified materials with national security implications are supposed to be stored in a place where no one can gain access to them unless they have special clearance.
The FBI is currently probing Clinton’s email arrangement, whereby the former secretary of state used her own technology based out of her New York home instead of an official government address that is required by transparency rules. A State inspector general, who is also looking at the matter, said top Clinton aides would likely also be questioned, though he wouldn’t say who exactly.
Read the full story at Politico