Bradley K. Sperman
2018-02-12 04:06:50 UTC
A senior State Department official who oversaw executive
operations during Hillary Clintons tenure as secretary from
2009 to 2013 told lawyers in a civil lawsuit that he was aware
of her private email server, but had no reason to think it was
used for government business, according to a transcript released
Your question is based on the assumption that I knew that
someone was conducting government business, and I -- I dont
have a basis to make such a judgment, Stephen D. Mull, said in
a sworn deposition. Mull was executive secretary of the
department from June 2010 to 2012 and since September is its
lead implementation coordinator for the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal.
Mull also told lawyers for the conservative group Judicial Watch
that he did not recall informing top Clinton aides in August
2011 that emails sent from a department-issued Blackberry would
be subject to public records requests.
Mull joined a list of top State officials who have shed little
new light on the workings of Clintons email set-up which is the
subject of a Judicial Watch lawsuit into whether it thwarted
federal open records law.
Mull, an ambassador to Poland from 2012 to 2015 who played a key
role in early negotiations with Iran, expressed no opinion on
whether it was a mistake by the department to let Clinton and
top aides leave office in early 2013 without preserving more
than 30,000 government-related emails. They and their lawyers
later reviewed and selected the emails to be returned after the
existence of Clintons private server was reported last year.
If I were aware that any Secretary of State while I was serving
as Executive Secretary were not aware of [record-preservation]
responsibilities, I -- I would have taken steps within my power
to inform them of that, Mull said in his deposition.
But, he added, I think its difficult with hindsight to say
something was a mistake, if a person didnt have the knowledge
at the time of what was going on.
Mull answered questions for more than three hours Friday at a
deposition attended by eight lawyers for the government and
Judicial Watch, days after deposition appearances by former
Clinton chief of staff Cheryl D. Mills and Lewis A. Lukens, a
former administrative official.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan last month allowed
depositions of a half-dozen officials in a lawsuit over Judicial
Watchs request for information about Abedins employment
arrangement. Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy and Clinton aide
Huma C. Abedin, now vice chair of Clintons presidential
campaign are set to appear at the end of June.
Sullivan postponed Mondays scheduled deposition of a former
State and Clinton-campaign staffer who helped set up the server,
Bryan Pagliano, while the judge seeks more information about the
aides immunity agreement with federal prosecutors in a criminal
investigation into the handling of classified information.
In the civil suit, Sullivan has focused the inquiry on whether
the departments failure to preserve official agency records on
Clintons server was evidence of bad faith in complying with the
federal Freedom of Information Act known as FOIA.
The picture emerging from transcripts posted publicly so far is
Last week, Mills said during her deposition that she did not
recall any discussion either of Clinton possibly using a State
Department account or her emails availability under FOIA, but
that she believed Clintons emails would be subject to the law
because they would be retained by recipients who used official
Mills said she did not think about emails that were sent to non-
government addresses not being retained, but regretted it and
wish I had.
Still, Mills said she did not recall ever discussing FOIA
requirements, even when shown the August 2011 email chain from
Mull, concerning his response to reports of Clintons
communications problems, including possibly because of her
personal server is down[sic].
We will prepare two versions for her to use, one with operating
State Department email account which would mask her identity but
which would also be subject to FOIA requests, Mull wrote.
Mull said he not recall the communication, or the circumstances
So you dont recall why you wrote this sentence? Judicial
Watch lawyer Michael Bekesha asked.
Today I dont, no, Mull said.
Mull said he could not recall any conversations about Clintons
server during his time as executive secretary, nor any
conversations or concerns that her emails were not being
searched in FOIA requests.
Mull said if he had discussions regarding Clintons use of a
Blackberry, it would have been with his administrative and
logistics units mobile solutions technical support team.