Iconic Clinton BlackBerry photo prompted State Department question

In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya.
Kevin Lamarque | AP

An iconic photo of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checking her BlackBerry spurred a State Department official to check whether Clinton had been assigned a government email address.

In a deposition held Wednesday, Karin Lang, director of the department's executive secretariat staff, said that, "When Mrs. Clinton's photo appeared in the media with her using — appearing to use some sort of a mobile device," it prompted another official to check with the Office of Information Resources Management to see whether Clinton still "did not have a State.gov email account."

The official who raised the question was Clarence Finney, currently the department's deputy director for correspondence, records and staffing. Lang said that at the beginning of Clinton's tenure at the State Department, "the question was raised would she have a State.gov email account."

"The transition team advised that she would not. Like her predecessor, she would not have an email account," Lang added.

The image, from 2011 of Clinton wearing sunglasses and checking her BlackBerry while on a plane, went viral and spurred a number of memes under the hashtag #TextsFromHillary.

Lang's sworn testimony took place as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch against the State Department seeking records from Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's top aides both at the State Department and now on the campaign trail.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.