Hot off the presses: FBI agreed to destroy Hillary Clinton’s aides’ laptops after concluding their search!
According to today’s letter from House Judiciary Committee to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, among other revelations discovered by members of congress through examination of the immunity agreements, FBI agreed to destroy the laptops which were used for sorting Hillary Clinton emails in 2014, belonging to Hillary Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson. Link to the letter .
What a week has it been!
Watch Donald ask Hillary during last Monday’s debate about the deleted emails.
During her tenure as Secretary of State (2009-2013) Hillary Clinton eschewed the secure government network and instead settled on the use of a non-secure private server in the basement of her Chappaqua, NY, suburban home. There is probably no one in the United States who has not heard about Hillary’s emails by now but since new evidence is coming to light weekly and the controversy is not going away before the November election I suggest we review the timeline and various associated issues such as:
- whether setting up the server violated State Department rules
- what was the intent behind eschewing the normal government channels (was it perhaps to keep official government business communication from the reach of FOIA requests?)
- was there classified information on the un-secure server
- whether there was improper handling of classified information
- did Secretary Clinton complete required security training
- was there improper (unsecured) use and disposal of mobile devices
- was there defiance of federal record-keeping rules
- was the existence of the private server improperly concealed for years from members of congress who repeatedly requested Secretary Clinton’s emails from the State Department
- were Hillary Clinton and her surrogates truthful towards the public about the email controversy, including during her current presidential candidacy
- finally, does the content of the released emails reveal a discrepancy between what Secretary Clinton claimed in public and what she was working on behind the scenes
Even in the time since I started putting the timeline together following the Monday debate, our understanding of the case was expanded by last Wednesday’s testimony of the FBI Director James Comey at the House Oversight Committee. Link to the full hearing here.
Jim Jordan (R) Ohio asking questions of FBI Director James Comey during Wednesday’s hearing about the Platt River Networks’ employee handling of government data from Secretary Clinton’s server
- After the Clintons bought the house in the suburban community of Chappaqua, New York (in September 1999, during Hillary’s campaign for the New York senatorship seat) ex-president Bill Clinton has a private server installed there by his aide, Justin Cooper.
- During the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign a bigger server is bought and installed in the basement of the Chappaqua house. The IT for the campaign is handled by Bryan Pagliano.
- In the fall of 2008, as it’s speculated that Hillary Clinton might be offered the job of Secretary of State, as well as after the job is offered and after she accepts it, there are objections raised in the media based on perceived conflict of interest with the Clinton Foundation. In the clip below this is discussed on Hardball with Chris Mathews by renowned journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has since passed away, and Peter Beinart, who was then associated with Time magazine. In the end, Hillary Clinton agrees to president Obama’s conditions limiting Clinton Foundation’s foreign donations. These issues have resurfaced recently with the release, in August 2016, of a batch of Hillary Clinton calendars, which show that more than half of the private citizens she met or communicated with as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation donors. More on the subject in the chapter “The contents of Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal a pattern of discrepancy between what is presented to the public and what is happening behind the closed doors.”
- In January 2009, when Hillary Clinton begins her tenure as Secretary of State, she decides to use her private server in the Chappaqua home and one email address (ending in @clintonemail.com instead of @state.gov) both for her private emails and for official government business. The server is used by 3 accounts only, out of which only two have been identified to the public: Hillary Clinton and her Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin. Bryan Pagliano continues on as Hillary Clinton’s IT specialist as if no change in Hillary Clinton’s status occurred. Pagliano does not become an employee of the State Department and does not receive security clearance. No email correspondence between Hillary Clinton and Pagliano has survived the 2014-2015 “non-work related” email purge by Hillary Clinton’s lawyers and employees, making inquiry into the question of possible security breaches by hostile actors (in other words, hackers) difficult. Pagliano has since pled the 5th twice, spoke with the FBI on condition of immunity, and did not show up for the September 5, 2016, Oversight Committee hearing. At least two other people have access to the server, ex-president’s Bill Clinton’s aide Justine Cooper, who never had a security clearance, and a yet unidentified to the public State Department IT employee who works on the server remotely in collaboration with Bryan Pagliano. Recently the “basement server ” set-up was described by Politifact this way:
The State Department’s policy as of 2005 is that all day-to-day operations are to be conducted on the official State Department information channel, which Clinton never used. She was also obligated to discuss her setup with several internal offices and demonstrate that it was properly secure, yet she did not. Some of those officers told the State Department Inspector General that they never would have allowed the private email setup had she asked. Clinton did not ensure that her work-related emails were preserved on the State Department system in real time, nor did she surrender them immediately when she left office. This made her virtually impervious to Freedom of Information Act requests for her emails while in office and beyond.
- January 2009- February 2013. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s “official government business” emails, as later determined by the FBI investigation, include 110 classified emails in 52 chains, out of which 8 chains contain top secret information at the time they were sent. 36 chains contain information classified as secret at the time and 8 contain confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. For comparison, none of the information allegedly submitted to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning has been classified above the confidential level of classification.
- On September 20, 2012, following Benghazi, the House Oversight Committee sends a request to Hillary Clinton, in her capacity as Secretary of State, asking the department to produce all documents relevant to Benghazi. The State Department never submits any emails from Clinton. This September 6, 2016, letter by Jason Chaffetz, chairman of House Oversight Committee, usefully includes copies of all previous house requests for documents starting with the copy of the September 20, 2012, request.
- In October 2012 conservative watchdog Judicial Watch requests (through Freedom of Information Act form) “any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or related to the talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.” It leads to a lawsuit against the State Department filed the same month. Judicial Watch has filed more than 20 lawsuits connected to EmailGate as of today.
- In December 2012 Secretary Clinton faints and suffers a concussion, her appearance before Senate’s Foreign Relations committee on Benghazi is rescheduled.
- On January 23, 2013, Secretary Clinton appears in front of Senate’s Foreign Relations committee on Benghazi. Link to video.
- On February 1, 2013, Hillary Clinton resigns her position as Secretary of State. She leaves without submitting her work-related emails as is required by the State Department rules.
- The first week of March 2013 the email account of Sidney Blumenthal, former president Bill Clinton’s aide and Hillary Clinton’s frequent email correspondent, is hacked by a Romanian hacker “Guccifer.” The hacker sends around the emails Blumenthal sent to Clinton in reference to the situation in Libya while she was Secretary of State.
* Side note. The significance of this discovery has to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton supposedly wanted to give Sidney Blumenthal a position on her staff at State Department but was blocked by Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, as described at the time in The New York Times. Blumenthal was employed by the Clintons via a salary at the Clinton Foundation. The communication between Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal takes on a color of possible insubordination to the president in form of using the Clinton Foundation to privately employ Sidney Blumenthal as an advisor for Hilary Clinton instead of relying on people approved by president Obama. There have been a lot of articles in right-wing press (so to be taken as possibly only politically motivated) in which security experts claim that the information in Sidney Blumenthal’s emails to secretary Clinton must have come from top secret documents. That would suggest that someone was sharing these documents with him. Nothing was ever proven.
- In May 2013 the Clintons employ Platt River Networks, a small Colorado firm with no security clearance, to manage their IT needs. The server which contains the most recent emails from her time as Secretary of State is transported to New Jersey and later to Platt River Networks premises. The contents of the old server are transferred to the new server, which has been submitted in 2013 and 2014 to at least three documented attempted security breaches by hostile actors from China and Russia.
- By May 2013 four different house committees are investigating Benghazi: the Armed Services Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Intelligence Committee, and Oversight and Government Reform Committee .
- August 1, 2013, House Oversight Committee issues a subpoena for the documents they requested from State Department in September 2012 but never received.
- Early 2014, Hillary Clinton’s assistant Monica Hanley requests that Platt River Networks employee wipes the emails off Hillary Clinton’s laptop after the transfer of data to a new server is completed, but the employee forgets to do it. The laptop is subsequently lost in the mail.
- In April 2014 Judicial Watch obtains, through Freedom of Information Act request, emails pertaining to Benghazi, which was not previously released to any of the congressional committees. This discovery results in a renewed flurry of House Republican activity regarding Benghazi.
- May 8th, 2014, House Select Committee on Benghazi is formed with Trey Gowdy, (R) South Carolina, as chairman.
- July 23, 2014, State Department agrees to supply the missing documents to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
- In July 2014, Clinton aid and lawyer Cheryl Mills starts the process of sorting Hillary Clinton’s work-related emails out of approximately 60,000 emails that were still in existence at that time.
- On July 24, 2014, Reddit user “stonetear” (it is speculated that “stonetear” is Platt River Networks employee Paul Combetta) posts a question about stripping “a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived emails.” and states “Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone.” It is speculated the post on Reddit refers to Hillary Clinton’s emails.
- The first Benghazi hearing is held on September 17, 2014.
- In October 2014 State Department sends formal letters to previous Secretaries of State to submit their private emails “to preserve the historical record and assist in responding to records requests.”
- In December 2014 Hilary Clinton submits 30 thousand work-related emails (in form of 55 thousand printed pages) which were selected by her lawyers and aides from all her emails using search words in title fields.
*Question to readers: do you think the congressmen who investigated what happened in Benghazi (no matter what you think about them) and the citizens who filed FOIA forms with the State Department should have to have waited 26 months for the State Department to come into possession of the materials that should have been at State Department’s fingertips? Not to mention that it took many more months for the State Department to make the records available to the congress and to the public. And we still don’t have full access, as many emails have been irretrievably destroyed.
- Also in December 2014, after supposedly all work-related emails have been printed out and submitted to the State Department, Cheryl Mills and another Clinton aide, Heather Samuelson, request that their computers, which were used for sorting the emails, be wiped out by Platt River Networks using BleachBit.
- Platt River Networks employee Paul Combetta remembers (in recently revealed FBI case notes) receiving around the same time an instruction from a Clinton staff member to remove archives of Clinton emails from Platt River Networks server.
- February 8, 2015, FBI confirms it is conducting an investigation into Secretary Clinton’s private email server. The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General at an undisclosed time.
- February 25, 2015, Washington Post breaks a story on multi-million dollar foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation during the time Hillary served as Secretary of State.
- On March 2, 2015, the public learns that Secretary Clinton used a private server via a New York Times article.
- On March 4, 2015, House Select Committee on Benghazi issues a subpoena to Hillary Clinton covering all emails from her personal servers.
- March 4-Mach 9, 2015, Judicial Watch files 10 Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the State Department.
- On March 10, 2015, Hillary Clinton address the email controversy publically for the first time during a press conference at the United Nations building in New York. The contents of her various statements on the subject are gathered together in a chapter below.
- Mar 25, 2015, there is a conference call between ex-president Clinton’s staff and Platt River Networks.
- Mar 25-31, 2015, Platt River Networks employee Paul Combetta has an “oh shit” moment and realizes he forgot to wipe Hillary’s email archive with BleachBit from the server when it was requested by Clinton staff a few months ago. He proceeds with the removal. After given immunity, in the second interview with the FBI, Combetta admits he knew the government files he was deleting were under subpoena.
- On April 12 Hillary Clinton declares her candidacy for the Democratic party presidential nomination.
- In April 2015 Office of State Department’s Inspector General initiates an evaluation later entitled “Office of the Secretary: Evaluation of Email Records Management and Cybersecurity Requirements,” which will cause a sensation when it is published during the heated primary contest between Clinton and Sanders in May 2016.
- May 8, 2015, Trey Gowdy, in the interim progress report on House Select Benghazi Committee, mentions as one of the achievements: “Bringing to light that former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had employed a private email account to conduct official State Department business.”
- May 22, 2015, State Department releases the first batch of emails, on Benghazi. This is the link to the State Department page where you can find links to all the emails released.
- June 2015, Sidney Blumenthal, the former aide to ex-president Bill Clinton and author of the emails on Libya addressed to Secretary Clinton released two years earlier by the hacker Guccifer, testifies behind closed doors in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The gist of the hearing is described later here during Hillary Clinton’s hearing in front of the same committee in October 2016.
- June 30, 2015, State Department releases the second batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- August 9, 2015, as part of Judicial Watch case brought against her, Clinton signs a statement “under penalty of perjury” stating that she turned over all work-related emails.
- July 31, 2015, State Department releases the third batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- August 31, 2015, State Department releases the fourth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- September 30, 2015, State Department releases the fifth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- October 13, 2015, the first Democratic debate on CNN featuring 5 candidates, among them Secretary Hillary Clinton and her chief rival in the primaries, Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders famously said to Clinton: “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” The media play the clip over and over and present Sanders’ words as a condemnation of all the investigations and public scrutiny of Clinton’s email practices while serving as Secretary of State.
- October 22, 2015, Hillary Clinton testifies in front of House Select Committee on Benghazi.
- October 30, 2015, State Department releases the sixth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State
- November 4, 2015, The Wall Street Journal publishes an interview with Bernie Sanders in which he clarifies that his comments during the first debate did not mean he was endorsing Hillary Clinton’s use of private server: “You get 12 seconds to say these things,” he said. “There’s an investigation going on right now. I did not say, ‘End the investigation.’ That’s silly.…Let the investigation proceed unimpeded.” Sanders receives a lot of criticism from the Democrats for what is perceived as “change of opinion” on the email controversy.
- November 30, 2015, State Department releases the seventh batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- December 31, 2015, State Department releases the eighth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- January 7, 2016, State Department releases the ninth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State
- January 29, 2016, State Department releases the tenth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State. This batch famously discloses that there were (at least) 22 top secret emails among those stored/sent/received using Hillary CLinton’s non-secure server. You can read about the public’s knowledge about the controversy here. It was not clear at the time whether these emails were “born classified” or classified retroactively.
- February 1, 2016, Iowa caucus, the first contest of 2016 presidential primary election.
- February 13, 2016, State Department releases the eleventh batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- February 19, 2016, State Department releases the twelfth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- February 26, 2016, State Department releases the thirteenth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State. This batch famously includes Hillary’s statements on the Colombia Trade agreement that go against her publically stated position. Read about it here.
- Also on February 26, 2016, federal judge rules that Judicial Watch can interrogate Hillary’s top aides on the subject of the emails.
- February 29, 2016, State Department releases the fourteenth batch of Hillary Clinton emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
- On March 16, 2016, WikiLeaks launches a searchable archive for 30,322 emails & email attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Overview of Clinton statements on the emails
This video was recorded on March 10, 2015, at the UN. She talks about the e-mails at 3:05
- Clinton maintained since the first statement on March 10, 2015, at the UN (the video clip above) that the private server was allowed & “above board.”
- That she never sent or received and classified information on her private server, eg. “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified materials” on March 10, 2010, “I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time” on July 25, 2015, and “I had not sent classified material nor received anything marked classified” on August 18, 2015.
- That she used one system for private and public communication for convenience (to avoid carrying multiple devices), likewise on March 10, 2015.
- And that FBI is not investigating her, only conducting a “security inquiry/review” of the server. You can find a composite video of Hillary stating this here. Even the press made sure to communicate to the voters that Hillary Clinton was not under investigation. I recommend you watch the short clip about Hillary’s email controversy, which is embedded in this Washington Post article from the Summer of 2015. It seems extremely foolhardy now, to what lengths Clinton campaign and even the media went to hide the simple fact that she was investigated by the FBI.
The lies begin to unravel:
May 11, 2016 – FBI Director Comey acknowledges that Hillary Clinton is under investigation
On May 11th FBI Director Comey stated in response to a question about security review of Clinton: “I don’t know what that means. We’re conducting an investigation. That’s the bureau’s business. That’s what we do.”
This is a good segment from The Young Turks from the time when the news came out. Note that Cenk Uygur is convinced at the time, as are the rest of us, that all of the classified emails among the emails submitted by Clinton have been classified retroactively, so she couldn’t have known at the time that they would be classified. (which later FBI investigation proved was untrue).
May 25, 2016 – Report by State Department’s Inspector General
Full report title: “Office of the Secretary: Evaluation of Email Records Management and Cybersecurity Requirements”
Link to the full report via The New York Times page
May 26, 2016, MSNBC “Morning Joe”, segment on the OIG report
Mika Brzezinski : “Yesterday the inspector general’s office of the State Department issued a report that concluded that Hillary Clinton violated the federal records act by not turning over all official e-mails before she left office. The report also found that there was no evidence she has requested or received approval to use her personal account for official business. Clinton all along has maintained the use of her server was allowed.”
Andrea Mitchell: “I don’t see how this is anything but devastating.”
Chuck Todd: “Because of this breach (…) I don’t think she could get confirmed, for instance, to be Attorney General.”
Mika Brzezinski: “I really don’t want to be the one delivering this, but I’ve got to tell you, this is really hard to believe. It feels like she’s lying straight out.”
Chuck Todd: “The most logical explanation is that she wanted to make it harder for the press and Congress to see her correspondence. So they made the FOIA requests more difficult by doing what? Making sure it wasn’t on a government server, putting it on a private server.”
June 27, 2016 – Ex-president Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch privately meet on the tarmac in Phoenix, AZ
The meeting between ex-president Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whose Justice Department was at the time still investigating Hillary Clinton for her use of private server, was described as accidental. His plane was about to take off when he was informed that Lynch’s plane was going to land soon. He decided to wait and when her plane landed, walked over to meet her. Both later said that Hillary Clinton’s investigation was not discussed. It is worth noting, that as a result of the meeting, Loretta Lynch later recused herself from making the final decision whether to pursue an indictment against Hillary Clinton, instead promising to rely on FBI’s recommendation.
*Side note. As a president Bill Clinton jump started the career of Loretta Lynch by nominating her to the position of U.S. Attorney for teh Eastern District of New York. Her name is currently floated as possible Supreme Court nomination by Hillary Clinton if she wins the presidency.
July 5, 2016 – FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Hillary Clinton email investigation
“The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server during her time as Secretary of State. The referral focused on whether classified information was transmitted on that personal system. Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”
“From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.”
“With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. There were no additional Top Secret e-mails found. (…) I should add here that we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.(…)Because she was not using a government account—or even a commercial account like Gmail—there was no archiving at all of her e-mails, so it is not surprising that we discovered e-mails that were not on Secretary Clinton’s system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 e-mails to the State Department.”
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. (…) None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.(…) But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.“
“We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”
“In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. (…)To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”
The next day, July 6, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces the Justice Department will not pursue an indictment against Hillary Clinton.
July 7, 2016 – FBI Director James Comey testifying in front of House Oversight Committee
FBI Director James Comey questioned by Rep. Will Hurd (R)Texas, during the House Oversight Committee hearing on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers
Link to the entire video on C-SPAN here.
Transcript from C-SPAN with my highlights
“OFFENDED. I’M OFFENDED BY MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE POLITICAL AISLE SAYING THIS IS POLITICAL THEATER. THIS IS NOT POLITICAL THEATER. FOR ME, THIS IS SERIOUS. I SPENT NINE AND A HALF YEARS AS AN UNDERCOVER OFFICER IN THE CIA. I WAS THE GUY IN THE BACK ALLEY COLLECTING INTELLIGENCE, PASSING IT TO LAWMAKERS. I HAVE SEEN MY FRIENDS KILLED, I HAVE SEEN ASSETS PUTTING THEMSELF IN HARM’S WAY. IT’S ABOUT PROTECTING INFORMATION, THE MOST SENSITIVE INFORMATION THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAS, AND I WISH MY COLLEAGUES WOULD TAKE THIS MORE SERIOUSLY. MR. COMEY, DIRECTOR COMEY, YOU ALLUDED THAT INCLUDES FBI INFORMATION. DOES SCI INFORMATION INCLUDE HUMANS? >> YES. >> HUMAN INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM PEOPLE PUTTING THEMSELVES IN HARM’S WAY TO GIVE US INFORMATION TO DRIVE FOREIGN POLICY. SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE, SOME OF THE MOST SENSITIVE THINGS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT AL QAEDA IS DOING, WHAT ISIS IS DOING. SO, THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE HAD AN UNAUTHORIZED SERVER. THOSE ARE YOUR WORDS. IN HER BASEMENT, CORRECT? >> CORRECT. >> WHO WAS PROTECTING THAT INFORMATION? WHO WAS PROTECTING THAT SERVER? >> WELL, NOT MUCH. THERE WAS A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE WHO WERE ASSIGNED AS ADMINISTRATORS OF THE SERVER. >> AND AT LEAST SEVEN E-MAIL CHAINS OR EIGHT THAT WAS CLASSIFIED AS TSSCI. >> CORRECT. >> SO THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, ONE OF THE PRESIDENT’S MOST IMPORTANT ADVISERS ON FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY, HAD A SERVER IN HER BASEMENT THAT HAD INFORMATION THAT WAS COLLECTED FROM OUR MOST SENSITIVE ASSETS, AND IT WAS NOT PROTECTED BY ANYONE. AND THAT’S NOT A CRIME? THAT’S OUTRAGEOUS. PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED. WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR SOMEONE TO MISUSE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND GET IN TROUBLE FOR IT? >> IT TAKES MISHANDLING IT AND CRIMINAL INTENT. >> AND SO AN UNAUTHORIZED SERVER IN THE BASEMENT IS NOT MISHANDLING? >> NO, THERE IS EVIDENCE OF MISHANDLING HERE. THIS WHOLE INVESTIGATION IS FOCUSED ON IS THERE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE OF INTENT. >> WAS THIS UNANIMOUS OPINION WITHIN THE FBI ON YOUR DECISION? >> THE WHOLE FBI WASN’T INVOLVED, BUT THE TEAM OF AGENTS, INVESTIGATORS, ANALYSTS, TECHNOLOGISTS, YES. >> DID YOU TAKE INTO ANY CONSIDERATION THE IMPACT THAT THIS PRECEDENCE CAN SET ON OUR ABILITY TO COLLECT INTELLIGENCE OVERSEAS? >> YES. MY PRIMARY CONCERN IS THE IMPACT ON WHAT OTHER EMPLOYEES MIGHT THINK IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. >> AND YOU DON’T THINK THIS SENDS A MESSAGE TO OTHER EMPLOYEES THAT IF A FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE CAN HAVE AN UNAUTHORIZED SERVER IN THEIR BASEMENT THAT TRANSMITS TOP-SECRET INFORMATION, THAT THAT’S NOT A PROBLEM? >> OH, I WORRY VERY MUCH ABOUT IT. I TALKED ABOUT IT IN MY STATEMENT, BECAUSE AN FBI EMPLOYEE MIGHT FACE SEVERE DISCIPLINE, AND I WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT THOSE CONSEQUENCES ARE STILL GOING TO BE THERE. >> DIRECTOR COMEY, DO YOU HAVE A SERVER IN YOUR BASEMENT? >> I DO NOT. >> DOES ANYBODY IN THE FBI HAVE A SERVER IN THEIR BASEMENT? OR IN THEIR HOUSE? >> I DON’T KNOW. NOT TO MY KNOWLEDGE. >> DO YOU THINK IT’S LIKELY? >> I THINK IT’S UNLIKELY. >> I WOULD THINK SO TOO. I WAS PROUD TO SERVE ALONGSIDE THE MEN AND WOMEN YOU REPRESENT. SO THERE WAS NO DISSENTING OPINION WHEN YOU MAKE THIS DECISION. IT’S YOUR JOB TO BE INVOLVED IN COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AS WELL. >> YES. >> SO THAT MEANS PROTECTING OUR SECRETS FROM FOREIGN ADVERSARIES COLLECTING THEM. IS THAT CORRECT? >> CORRECT. >> DID THIS ACTIVITY YOU INVESTIGATED MAKE AMERICA’S SECRETS VULNERABLE TO HOSTILE ELEMENTS? >> YES. >> DO YOU THINK THAT PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR WOULD CONTINUE? >> I’M SORRY? DO YOU THINK THAT PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR WOULD CONTINUE? >> WOULD CONTINUE — >> BY OUR FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE? >> I’M NOT FOLLOWING YOU. YOU MEAN IF THIS HAD NOT COME TO LIGHT? >> RIGHT NOW. BASED ON WHAT WE SEE, DO YOU THINK THERE’S GOING TO BE OTHER ELEMENTS WITHIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT THINK IT’S OKAY TO HAVE AN UNAUTHORIZED SERVER IN THEIR BASEMENT? >> THEY BETTER NOT. THAT’S ONE OF THE REASONS I’M TALKING ABOUT IT. >> WHAT IS THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THEM DOING THAT? HOW IS THERE GOING TO BE ANY CONSEQUENCES LEVERED IF IT’S NOT LEVERED HERE? BECAUSE INDEED, YOU’RE SETTING A PRESIDENT. >> THE PRECEDENT. I WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, AGAIN, I ONLY AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FBI. THAT THERE WILL BE DISCIPLINE FROM TERMINATION TO REPRIMAND, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, FOR PEOPLE WHO MISHANDLE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. >> DIRECTOR COMEY, I’M NOT A LAWYER, SO I MAY MISSTATE THIS. IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A CASE OF FIRST IMPRESSION AND WHY WAS THIS NOT POSSIBLY ONE OF THOSE. >> THERE IS SUCH A THING, WHICH MEANS THE FIRST TIME YOU DO SOMETHING. THE REASON THIS ISN’T ONE OF THOSE IS THAT’S NOT FAIR. THAT WOULD BE TREATING SOMEBODY DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE OF THEIR EXCELLENT STAT CELEBRITY STATUS OR SOME OTHER FACTOR. WE HAVE TO TREAT PEOPLE — THE BEDROCK OF OUR JUSTICE, WE TREAT PEOPLE FAIRLY, THE SAME. >> AND THAT PERSON FAIRLY, WE TREAT THEM THE SAME — >> AND THAT PERSON MISHANDLING THE MOST SENSITIVE INFORMATION THAT THIS GOVERNMENT CAN COLLECT IS NOT FAIR? IT IS NOT FAIR TO PUNISH SOMEONE WHO DID THAT? >> NOT ON THESE FACTS. IF THAT PERSON WORKED FOR ME, IT WOULD BE FAIR TO HAVE A ROWBUST DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING. I WOULD NOT PROSECUTE ON THESE FACTS. >> “
Back to the Timeline
- July 8, 2016, House Select Committee on Benghazi releases their final report .
- July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release 20 thousand internal DNC emails disclosing deep institutional bias against one of their own candidates, Senator Bernie Sanders.
- July 25, 2016, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns over the DNC leak scandal.
- July 25-July 28, 2016, during the National Convention of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton becomes the party’s presidential nominee despite the DNC leaks scandal which created an unbridgeable divide in the party.
- July 31, 2016, Hillary Clinton, in a conversation with Chris Wallace states that: “Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails,” Compare with two James Comey videos above.
- August 8, 2016, Judicial Watch releases a batch of emails, which prove that a top Clinton Foundation official asked Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides for favors for Clinton Foundation donors. Read more here.
- August 10, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch rejects FBI request to investigate Clinton Foundation based on the fact that a year ago Department of Justice decided there was not enough evidence. Contrast that with her decision from the previous month not to pursue the indictment of Hillary Clinton based on the recommendation of the same FBI.
- August 12, Bill Clinton in Las Vegas, at Asian American Pacific Islander Journalism and Voter Advocacy Groups Forum, is making light of James Comey’s statement on July 5th and is misrepresenting Comey’s testimony in front of House Oversight Committee on June 7th. Compare what Clinton says with the two James Comey videos above.
- August 22, 2016, a new batch of Hillary emails is released by Judicial Watch, described here .
- Also on August 22, 2016, it is disclosed that FBI has recovered over 14 thousand e-mails more than the original 30 thousand submitted by Hillary Clinton to the State Department in December of 2014. Federal judge presses the State Department starts releasing them.
- August 23, 2016, AP breaks a story based on half of Hillary Clinton’s calendars released to them by State Department in fulfillment of an FOIA lawsuit. AP journalists discover that during her tenure as Secretary of State, majority of people Hillary Clinton saw and/or spoke by phone with were Clinton Foundation donors.
- August 25, 2016, State Department reveals Benghazi emails among those 14,900 recovered by FBI that were not turned over by Hillary Clinton with the 30 thousand other work-related emails.
- August 26, 2016, a federal judge refuses AP formal requests that the remaining Hillary Clinton State Department documents, including her calendars, be released on October 15. AP previously requested Clinton’s calendars in 2010 and 2013.
- August 30, 2016, a federal judge grants Judicial Watch the right to question Hillary Clinton in writing on the subject of emails and orders Clinton to respond by September 29. Link to their press release.
- August 31, 2016, State Department releases a new batch of redacted emails from among the emails recovered by the FBI.
- September 2, 2016, FBI releases a 57-page report : redacted investigation summaries and redacted July 2 FBI interview with Clinton. More is shared with Congress, albeit with still with redactions. Rep. Trey Gowdy immediately calls for making the entire report public.
Among new revelations: the story of the laptop full of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails (which , as we know now, included top secret information) which was lost in the mail sometime at the beginning of 2014, the number of work-related emails Clinton withheld form the State Department is even higher than admitted before – over 17 thousand work related e-mails, that Hillary Clinton used 13 mobile devices during her tenure as SOS, that she told investigators 26 times that she could not remember.
- September 6, 2016, House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz sends a letter to DC prosecutor requesting an investigation to determine whether Secretary Hillary Clinton and her employees, including Platt River Networks, obstructed justice and destroyed evidence.
- September 8, 2016, it is revealed by The New York Times, that Paul Combetta, the Platt River Networks employee who used BleachBit to delete the email archive from the server was granted immunity by the Department of Justice.
- September 12, 2016, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz
subpoenaed full FBI file on Hillary Clinton emails. “It’s ‘trust, but verify’ is how it works,” Chaffetz told FBI acting legislative affairs chief Jason Herring. “You don’t get to decide what I get to see. I get to see it all.” according to Politico article.
- September 16, 2016,State Department releases a second batch of redacted emails from among the emails recovered by the FBI.
- September 19, 2016, the Reddit community discloses, that they have found a 2-year-old post by a user “stonetear,” which very likely pertains to Hillary Clinton’s emails. If proven that “stonetear” is the Platt River Networks employee Paul Combetta, this could be the proof that the destruction of federal records was done intentionally, of course, if Combetta testified he was instructed to do so by Clinton’s staff.
- September 23, 2016, House Republicans disclose that three additional Clinton aides during her time as Secretary of State had received immunity agreements from the Justice Department: Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson and John Bentel, bringing the total number of people given immunity agreements by the Justice Department to 5 (including IT personnel Bryan Pagliano and Paul Combetta).
- September 23, 2016, FBI releases an 189-page report. Download it through here. This article gives a good overlook of new information eg. a thumb drive with copies of e-mails is also lost.
- September 23, 2016, federal judge rules that State Department is allowed to make most emails available after the November election. Article here .
- September 23. 2016, State Department releases the third batch of redacted emails from among the emails recovered by the FBI.
- September 26, 2016, the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump takes place at Hofstra University, NY.
- September 28,2016, Director of FBI, James Comey testifies in front of House Oversight Committee.
- October 3, 2016, House Judiciary Committee sends a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting answers to new questions about the email case which arose from a recent examination of the immunity agreements with Hillary Clinton’s aides by members of Congress.
The contents of Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal a pattern of discrepancy between what is presented to the public and what is happening behind the closed doors
- February 26, 2016, it is discovered through the released emails that although Clinton publicly opposed a controversial Colombian trade deal during her 2008 presidential run, she was secretly lobbying for the agreement. She is on record saying: “I oppose the deal. I have spoken out against the deal, I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.” The 2011 email exchanges with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Clinton aide Robert Hormats show she was seeking support for the deal from Democratic congressmen. In the exchange, Hormats thanked her for her “help and support.”
- July 25, 2016, on “Democracy Now” Julian Assange said:
So, those Hillary Clinton emails, they connect together with the cables that we have published of Hillary Clinton, creating a rich picture of how Hillary Clinton performs in office, but, more broadly, how the U.S. Department of State operates. So, for example, the disastrous, absolutely disastrous intervention in Libya, the destruction of the Gaddafi government, which led to the occupation of ISIS of large segments of that country, weapons flows going over to Syria, being pushed by Hillary Clinton, into jihadists within Syria, including ISIS, that’s there in those emails.There’s more than 1,700 emails in Hillary Clinton’s collection, that we have released, just about Libya alone.
Compare Assange’s statement (you might, of course, prefer to search WikiLeaks searchable archive of Hillary Clinton’s emails yourself here) to Secretary Clinton claiming ignorance of any weapons shipments out of Libya during the Senate’s Foreign Relation Committee on Benghazi on January 23, 2013.
- August 23, 2016, Associated Press article Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State makes it clear those who worried about the conflict of interest with the Clinton Foundation in 2008 before Hillary Clinton accepted President-elect Obama’s offer of Secretary of State position were well justified. See the Hardball with Chris Mathews video clip at the top of this article.
“At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.”
- House Oversight Committee hearings will continue until further notice.
- State Department releasing of Secretary Clinton’s emails and calendars in batches, as they redact information, will continue. Significantly, the emails pertaining to TPP and Beacon Global are scheduled for release after the November election.
- Deadline for court ordered Hillary Clinton answers to discovery questions by Judicial Watch has just passed on September 29. Reportedly she has received a 2-week extension.
- WikiLeaks promises a surprise release before the November election.
The first thing that anyone probably notices about this story is the incredible amount of lies told by Hillary Clinton herself, her surrogates and staffers. But I will not spend much time criticizing it. Since the 1990s Clintons have conditioned their followers to believe that in order to fight with the right wing they need to become like right-wing politicians: take huge amounts of money from corporations, play dirty and even pass right wing policies. Only that way we can get in some incremental progress. A few weeks ago I came across a cartoon in which the author told a story of discrimination she met with in school as a girl and she finished with an emphatic statement that she “doesn’t mind that Hillary Clinton is shady.” I heard that sentiment expressed over and over by Clinton female admirers, they don’t mind, because they believe that Clinton has to lie in order to win and that she wants to win to help all women. The more proof one has that Clinton is lying the prouder they are of their hero.
Whether I agree or disagree with FBI Director Comey that 1. Clinton’s behavior, in order to be classified as criminal, had to include intent 2. there is no evidence of intent, doesn’t really matter. I will say this: Comey repeatedly mentioned that eg, an FBI employee would lose his/her job or security clearance if he/she behaved this way. Comey is relying on us to make the judgment by collectively “firing” Hillary Clinton. Since his report came before the Democratic convention I was sure she would not be nominated. Right now our only resort to voice our opinion is not to vote for her in November.
I think that the EmailGate exposed that Clintons (both of them, as the ex-president and his staff, clearly took part in decisions on Secretary Clinton’s basement server set-up) are not a good match for the current era of transparency. They seem to belong to the old days of backroom deals and the murky line between the government business and the private. They seem to have contempt for the public’s right of access to government records. They seem to have no concept of modern technology, which influences every area of our lives, including national security. They seem to surround themselves with people who are either as out of touch as the Clintons themselves, or so afraid of them that they don’t dare question or confront them.
What a contrast Bernie Sanders would have been as the Democratic nominee for president. It is not too late to #BringBackBernie.
Andre Roberge contributed to this article.