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'Texts from Hillary' photo raised questions about Clinton's email habits at State Department

AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque

In 2012, the "texts from Hillary" photo, which shows Hillary Clinton soberly checking her BlackBerry, was everywhere, as speculation about what the Secretary of State could be writing launched a popular Tumblr. According to testimony released yesterday as part of a lawsuit, at one point the photo even caught the eye of public records officials in the State Department.

Deposition made as part of a public records lawsuit

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is currently suing for access to documents. As part of that suit, the group posted a deposition (flagged by Politico), in which a State Department official, Karin Lang, testified that a photo once briefly raised questions about Clinton's email habits.

Public records officials in the State Department knew that Clinton was not using a email address, Lang said. But after the now-famous photo began appearing in the media, it prompted another official named Clarence Finney, who worked on Freedom of Information Act searches, to ask whether that was still the case. (Lang did not directly mention "texts from Hillary" or BlackBerry, and did not remember the timeframe, although it's extremely likely the popular photo is being referenced.)

"In — when Mrs. Clinton's photo appeared in the media with her using — appearing to use some sort of a mobile device, Clarence Finney checked... to confirm whether or not she still — whether the answer was still that she did not have a e-mail account," the staffer said in the deposition.

The answer came back: Clinton still didn't have a account. It wasn't seen as a particularly concerning moment; Clinton wasn't the first official to not use a account, although most of her recent predecessors simply did not use email at all, and none set up their own email servers. Still, it wasn't until last year that the full extent of Clinton's email use was publicly revealed.