January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: Evidence suggests Clinton regularly keeps her BlackBerry stored inside a secure area against regulations, but she will later deny this.

While Clinton is secretary of state, she has an office on the seventh floor of State Department headquarters, in an area often referred to as “Mahogany Row.” Her office and the surrounding area is considered a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). Mobile devices such as BlackBerrys are not allowed in SCIF rooms, because they can be taken over by hackers and used to record audio and video.

But according to a September 2016 FBI report, “Interviews of three former DS [Diplomatic Security] agents revealed Clinton stored her personal BlackBerry in a desk drawer in a [Diplomatic Security] post which was located within the SCIF on Mahogany Row. State personnel were not authorized to bring their mobile devices into [the post], as it was located within the SCIF.”

A view from the 8th floor balcony at the State Department. (Credit: Thomas V. Dembski)

A view from the 8th floor balcony at the State Department. (Credit: Thomas V. Dembski)

However, according to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, Clinton would leave the SCIF to use her BlackBerry, often visiting the eighth floor balcony to do so. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell will later tell the FBI that he never received any complaints about Clinton using her BlackBerry inside the SCIF.

In contrast to the above evidence, in her July 2016 FBI interview, Clinton will claim that after her first month as secretary of state, she never brought her BlackBerry into the SCIF area at all, because she had been clearly told not to do that. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Around February 2009: Clinton allegedly wants to use a iPad in her office but is not allowed to do so; however the iPad won’t be released until one year later.

The first Apple iPad was released in January, 2010. (Credit: public domain)

The first Apple iPad (Credit: public domain)

Around February 2009, the NSA refuses to make a BlackBerry for Clinton that’s secure enough to use in SCIF rooms, citing security concerns. (Highly classified materials can only be read in SCIF rooms, and Clinton’s office in State Department headquarters is a SCIF room.)

According to a September 2016 FBI report, at roughly the same time, Clinton’s executive staff also ask about the possibility of Clinton using an iPad to read her emails in her office. But “this request was also denied due to restrictions associated with the Secretary’s office being in a SCIF.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

However, the FBI will fail to mention that the iPad won’t actually be announced by Apple until January 2010, and won’t be released until a couple of months after that, making the above claim impossible. (Apple.com, 1/27/2010)

Clinton will buy an iPad and begin using it a couple of months after it comes out, in July 2010.

Late February 2009: State Department security officials worry about Clinton’s BlackBerry use.

The US State Department headquarters in Washington, DC. "Mahogany Row" is on the top floor. (J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)

The US State Department headquarters in Washington, DC. “Mahogany Row” is on the top floor. (J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)

Few State Department officials appear to know that Clinton has a private email server in her house.

However, news about her frequent BlackBerry use soon spreads among the Department’s security officials. They are concerned about “Mahogany Row,” the seventh floor offices of Clinton and her top aides.

A decade earlier, Russian spies placed a listening device in a chair on that floor. Since then, on multiple occasions, hackers had breached computers in the State Department and other federal agencies.

State Department security officials are particularly concerned that Clinton’s BlackBerry could be compromised, and they worry that she could be setting a “bad example” for others in the department. They craft a memo that discusses the risks, which will be sent out on March 6. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

March 6, 2009—March 15, 2009: Clinton says she “gets it” about BlackBerry security concerns, but she keeps on using her BlackBerry.

Eric Boswell (Credit: public domain)

Eric Boswell (Credit: public domain)

On March 6, 2009, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell emails an internal State Department memo with the subject line “Use of BlackBerrys in Mahogany Row.” (“Mahogany Row” is where the seventh floor offices of Clinton and her top aides are.) The memo states, “Our review reaffirms our belief that the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of BlackBerrys in the Mahogany Row [redacted] considerably outweigh the convenience their use can add. … Any unclassified BlackBerry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails, and exploiting calendars.”

According to an email by another security official nine days later on March 15, Clinton tells Boswell that she read his memo and “gets it.” That email adds, “Her attention was drawn to the sentence that indicates (Diplomatic Security) have intelligence concerning this vulnerability during her recent trip to Asia.”

However, Clinton continues to use her BlackBerry and private server without any apparent changes. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)