The FBI is scheduling interviews with Hillary Clinton's senior aides when she was secretary of state, signaling that the Justice Department's inquiries into Clinton's use of a private email server is "moving into its final phases," the Los Angeles Times reports. The FBI has reportedly concluded its background work and needs to speak with Clinton's inner circle, and perhaps Clinton herself, to figure out what the Clinton team was thinking. And while Clinton "faces little risk of being prosecuted," the Times reports, the email flap will "continue to dog Clinton's presidential campaign" and "could cause some political heartburn when the aides are questioned."
It turns out "Clinton's email problems began in her first days as secretary of state," The Washington Post reports in a long look at what, in fact, Clinton and her team appeared to be thinking. Clinton didn't use a desktop computer and wanted to continue using her BlackBerry, but the diplomatic security corps did not want her to use it in her secure office suite, known as Mahogany Row, out of concern that it could be hacked and used as a listening device, The Post said, citing Clinton's trove of released emails and dozens of interviews:
On Feb. 17, 2009, less than a month into Clinton's tenure, the issue came to a head. Department security, intelligence and technology specialists, along with five officials from the National Security Agency, gathered in a Mahogany Row conference room. They explained the risks to Cheryl Mills, Clinton's chief of staff, while also seeking "mitigation options" that would accommodate Clinton's wishes. "The issue here is one of personal comfort," one of the participants in that meeting, Donald Reid, the department's senior coordinator for security infrastructure, wrote afterward in an email that described Clinton's inner circle of advisers as "dedicated [BlackBerry] addicts." [The Washington Post]
In an email Reid sent five days before the meeting, he indicated that the NSA had signaled they would not set Clinton up with a secure "BlackBerry-like" device, because it would be expensive and "not too user friendly," adding: "Each time we asked the question 'What was the solution for POTUS?' we were politely told to shut up and color." You can read the entire deep dig into the origins of Clinton's email scandal at The Washington Post.