Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton's correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.
While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton's correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.
They show that Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a message sent in September 2011 by adviser Huma Abedin to Clinton's personal email account, which contained an AP story about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations.
"I like the idea of these," she wrote to Abedin. "How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I'd prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?"
Abedin replied, "Did u mean to send to me?" To which Clinton wrote, "No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I'm not sure replies go thru."
The other emails between Clinton and her advisers provided by the State Department contained a summary of a 2011 meeting between Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and senior Egyptian officials in Cairo. It was uncensored and did not appear to contain sensitive information. That email was forwarded to Clinton's private account from Abedin's government email address.
In another note, Clinton expressed apparent dismay at leaks of classified U.S. government information to the media. Referencing a CNN story, which described "loose lips" in the Obama administration, she asked two officials if she should comment on the matter as had Leon Panetta, the former Central Intelligence Agency director.
"I think this is both dishonorable and dangerous and want to find way to say it," she wrote.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said early Tuesday that the secretary used her iPad from time to time, primarily to read news clippings.
At the United Nations earlier this month, Clinton said she chose a personal account over a government one out of convenience, describing it as a way to carry a single device, rather than one for work emails and another for personal messages.
"Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices," Clinton said. Her office that day released a statement saying she "wanted the simplicity of using one device."
Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, a year before Apple Inc. released the iPad. Clinton at that time could have potentially split her accounts, reverting to an official State.gov email account and BlackBerry for work and leaving her personal email on her iPad.
Clinton has said she exchanged about 60,000 emails in her four years in the Obama administration, about half of which were work-related. She said none contained classified information, and that her private email system did not suffer any security breaches.
The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email server gave Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination should she run as expected, complete control over access to her message archives.
Clinton said she deleted emails — some 30,000 in total — that she described as personal in nature, such as yoga routines, plans for her mother's funeral or her daughter's wedding. It's not clear how Clinton handled emails that mixed personal and official business, such as the exchange with Abedin.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks, said Clinton wiped her email server "clean," permanently deleting all emails from it and has declined to relinquish her server to a third party for an independent review.
Clinton's attorney said she had turned over to the State Department all work-related emails sent or received during her tenure and it would make no sense to turn over her server, since "no emails ... reside on the server or on any backup systems associated with the server."
The emails obtained by AP stem from several public-records requests filed with the State Department, starting in 2010. Most were unfulfilled until this week, when the State Department said it could find only four messages that met the search terms of one such request.
Earlier this month, AP sued the department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, including those provided by the department this week.
The FOIA requests and federal lawsuit sought materials related to Clinton's public and private calendars; correspondence involving aides likely to play important roles in her expected campaign for president; and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and controversial U.S. surveillance practices.