Records Management

As secretary, Clinton turned to top aides for tech support

Associated Press image (by Kevin Lamarque): Hillary Clinton on a plane to Libya.

Newly released emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private server reveal a reluctance to go through regular channels to get tech assistance. (Kevin Lamarque / Associated Press)

The operation of a fax machine proved a key challenge to Hillary Clinton in her first year as Secretary of State, according to emails released June 30 from Clinton's collection of departmental emails sent and received via her personal account.

Clinton apparently didn't seek assistance from the State Department's tech support staff, but relied on her closest aides to handle her tech problems.

In an exchange from July 2009, Clinton needed help receiving a document from aide Lissa Muscatine. "My fax is broken! So Huma [Abedin] is coming to print for me," Clinton wrote.

Muscatine offered to drive the document to Clinton. "I could be there in 10 minutes," she wrote.

In a set of emails from December 2009, a frustrated Clinton sought help with a broken fax from Huma Abedin. The tone of the exchange should be familiar to anyone who has ever been baffled to the point of exasperation by a piece of technology, and the "have-you-restarted-your-computer" school of tech support.

Abedin: Can you hang up the fax line, they will call again and try fax.

Clinton: I thought it was supposed to be off the hook to work?

Abedin: Yes but hang up one more time so they can reestablish the line.

Clinton: I did

Abedin: Just pick up phone and hang it up. And leave it hung up.

Clinton: I've done it twice now.

The documents, totaling about 3,000 pages, were the second tranche of emails to be released under a federal judge’s order. More emails from Clinton's personal server, on which she conducted official State Department business rather than use government email, will be released in batches monthly through January 2016.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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