Records Management

Help desk at State pinged Clinton's private email address

E-mail circling the globe

An IT worker deep in the bowels of the State Department's Information Resource Management organization stumbled on Hillary Clinton's private email address by accident. He even wrote a note to Clinton about a possible tech glitch, without ever knowing the identity of the famous recipient.

The story is a little two-day hiccup amid the thousands of communications released in an Aug. 31 dump of material from Clinton's private email server.

On Feb. 26, 2010, Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills noticed that messages to the secretary’s private email address -- HDR22@clintonemail.com -- were bouncing back from State's systems. In a note to Clinton, Mills forwarded two error messages from postmaster@state.gov that recorded a temporary failure to send a message to Clinton.

The next day, Clinton herself received an email from Christopher H. Butzgy, who identified himself as a help desk analyst at State. "It has come to my attention that one of our customers has been receiving permanent fatal errors from this address, can you please confirm if you receive this message," he wrote.

Clinton did not reply herself, but forwarded the request to senior aide Huma Abedin, asking, "Do you know what this is?"

It turned out that Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A. McHale had received error messages after sending emails to Clinton, and informed the help desk. Abedin hypothesized that McHale didn't know that Clinton maintained an email address outside the official State system. The email from the help desk apparently was a friendly heads up done at the urging of the very senior McHale.

"They had no idea it was YOU, just some random address so they emailed. Sorry about that. But regardless, means ur email must be back!" Abedin wrote. "R u getting other messages?" she added.

Clinton replied, "I've gotten some messages from yesterday--how about you?"

"Nothing," was Abedin's reply.

It's not clear how widespread Clinton's email problem was. There is no record in the emails around the time of the problem of any effort made on Clinton's part to contact the tech support staff that managed Clinton's email server.

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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