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[WASHINGTON] Piling on more embarrassment for Hillary Clinton amid a row about her emails, US officials revealed Thursday that during her time as secretary of state she had eschewed a government-issued cell phone.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Mrs Clinton was "not issued a State Department BlackBerry, and that wasn't a requirement - no one is required to be issued a State Department BlackBerry."
The revelation is likely to raise more concerns about national security as well as speculation that the former first lady may have been hiding information that could embarrass her in her presidential campaign.
Mrs Clinton is at the center of a political firestorm about her use of a private email account during her four years as secretary of state, and her attempt earlier this week to douse the flames left many questions unanswered.
Mrs Clinton said Tuesday she had used her private account as "a matter of convenience" and that she did not want to carry multiple devices.
She insisted the private computer server that hosted her 60,000-plus emails during her tenure - half of which she deemed to be official government business - would not be handed over to the State Department or an independent body for review.
The State Department is trawling through those emails she has submitted to see which ones can be released to the public.
Mrs Clinton was famous, however, for using her Blackberry while on the road to the record-breaking 112 countries she visited.
A black-and-white shot of her consulting her smartphone while sitting in the bowels of a C17-military plane went viral when it was turned into a popular Tumblr meme dubbed "Texts from Hillary." The series included an imagined exchange between her and US President Barack Obama, asking "Hey Hil, Whatcu' doing?" Mrs Clinton's reply? "Running the world."
Mrs Clinton, who is widely believed to be preparing to announce in the coming months that she will run for the White House in the 2016 elections, insists she has done nothing wrong and has turned over all the emails related to government business during her time in office.
But the controversy will only further fuel suspicions among her detractors that she - and her husband former president Bill Clinton - have deliberately sought to hide information from the American public.
Ms Psaki meanwhile offered assurances that as well as using an official state.gov email, Clinton's successor John Kerry also has a State Department issued Blackberry.