Hillary Clinton aides worried about antiquated technology, use of personal email

Emails reveal concerns staffers could be at increased risk of attack

Senior aides to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state expressed concerns about the poor level of computer technology at the State Department and the use of personal email by staffers, according to emails released Wednesday.

In one email sent on June 3, 2011, a day after Google revealed its Gmail service had been targeted by hackers likely based in China, Anne Marie Slaughter expressed her frustration to Clinton about the State Department's IT system.

"It would be a great time for someone inside or outside [of the State Department] to make a statement/write an op-ed that points out that State's technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively," she wrote. "Further cuts to State's budget just makes matters much much worse. We actually need more funds to significantly upgrade our technology."

Slaughter was director for policy planning at the State Department under Clinton.

Clinton agreed, writing: "I think this makes good sense. How should we follow up?"

But Cheryl Mills, a former chief of staff for Clinton and long-time friend who was copied on the email chain, said she worried that widespread publicity about the poor IT systems would make the State Department more of a target for hackers.

"As someone who attempted to be hacked (yes I was one), I am not sure we want to telegraph how much folks do or don't do off state mail [because] it may encourage others who are out there," she wrote.

The correspondence was among roughly 6,000 emails published on Wednesday as part of an ongoing release by the State Department of messages kept on a private email server used by Clinton while she was Secretary of State.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that Clinton also received a number of phishing attempts disguised as parking tickets. The emails asked the recipient to print them out -- something that would have resulted in malware being downloaded.

It's impossible to tell from the emails whether Clinton opened the attachments.

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Martyn Williams

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