Hillary Clinton requested a secure smartphone in 2009 during the early days of tenure as Secretary of State but the National Security Agency (NSA) rejected the request, according to emails released this week.
The emails, released after a legal battle between conservative group Judicial Watch and the State Department, show that Clinton began using her private email address on her Blackberry a month after to communicate with top aides.
The newly-released emails suggest that providing Clinton with a secure device ranked high among the early priorities of her top aides. Clinton preferred checking messages on a personal device rather than using a desktop or laptop computer, according to the emails. The NSA said providing a secure device would be too costly.
"We were politely told to shut up and color," said Donald R. Reid, the State Department's assistant director for security infrastructure, in one of the emails.
Clinton—the frontrunner in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary—has come under fire for using a private email server for official business. The former Secretary of State has apologized for using a private server, but she has insisted that it was never used to send classified information.