A former top adviser to Hillary Clinton admitted that a non-government email system was used to conduct State Department business, but said it wasn’t his “job” to worry about it.
A court-ordered deposition of Jacob Sullivan, senior adviser and deputy chief of staff for the former secretary of state, revealed that both he and Clinton had used an unauthorized email server while conducting official business for the State Department, according to Judicial Watch.
The conservative watchdog group released the transcript Wednesday of a deposition of Sullivan from a court-ordered discovery related to whether “Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.”
During questioning, Sullivan admitted that an unsecured, unauthorized email server was used at times but said he had not worried about, or even thought about, the implications at the time as Clinton’s emails did not fall under his job responsibilities.
“Like Secretary Clinton has said herself, I wish she had used a State Department account,” Sullivan said on April 19, according to the transcript.
“It wasn’t really part of my job to be thinking about Secretary Clinton’s emails so I don’t think I sort of fell down directly in my job,” he added. “But do I wish I had thought of it during the time we were at State. Of course. I mean, what human being at this point wouldn’t have thought of that?”
And while he acknowledged that he, at times, had used his personal Gmail account for State Department business, Sullivan denied that he ever sent classified information to Clinton’s unsecured personal system which was located in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
A classified email that Sullivan sent on Jan. 26, with the subject line “call sheet,” was pointed out by Judicial Watch but Clinton’s former top aide said he did not think it was classified at the time.
“When I sent this email, my best judgment was that none of the material in it was classified, and I felt comfortable sending the email on an unclassified system,” Sullivan testified.
“The material has subsequently been upclassified, but at the time that I sent it, I did not believe that it was classified,” he explained.
Sullivan was asked to respond to questions from Judicial Watch as part of an order from United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth which also included other senior officials such as former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former deputy of national security for President Obama, Ben Rhodes, and FBI official E.W. Priestap.
The “Justice Department and State Department, which opposed any discovery, objected to” the public release of video of Sullivan’s deposition which is under seal, according to Judicial Watch.
“[T]he Court does not foreclose future releases of audiovisual recordings – in this or other cases. Judicial Watch may move to unseal portions of these recordings relied upon in future court filings. So too may it use the video recordings at trial, consistent with the Federal Rules of Evidence,” the court ruled.
Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit was filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a FOIA request on May 13, 2014.
In that request, the watchdog group sought:
Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
“A federal court wants answers on the Clinton email scandal and Mr. Sullivan is one of many witnesses Judicial Watch will question under oath,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time. “It is shameful that the Justice and State Departments continue to try to protect Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration on the email scandal.”
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