The State Department’s remote work, or “teleworking,” capabilities were initially confined to the Washington, D.C. area. Pagliano stated in an interview with Trezza Media Group, part of which is seen above, that Foreign Service Officers rotating into D.C. as part of their duties gave rave reviews of the system and wanted access in their regular embassies. Pagliano, as a member of the Information Resource Management Bureau, helped expand the system around the world.

Pagliano left the State Department in 2013 to serve as an analyst at technology firm Gartner, a position he held for one year. While at Gartner, however, Pagliano continued to perform contract work for the State Department, which was terminated at an unknown time and announced one day after his being granted immunity.

From one of the example used as Exhibits in Huma Abedin deposition it is clear that he was the person who set up Clinton private server (probably replicating the setup using during her Presidential run):

"I have a contact for the @Clinton e-mail site. His name Bryan Pagliano, and he actually now works for State. But he apparently set all of this up."

State Department information technology office was baffled when it was told that this young technician would join them as a political appointee, newly disclosed emails show:

Soon after Hillary Clinton's arrival at the State Department in 2009, officials in the information technology office were baffled when told that a young technician would join them as a political appointee, newly disclosed emails show.

The technician, Bryan Pagliano, was running the off-grid email server that Clinton had him set up in her New York home for her work as secretary of state. But even as years passed, Pagliano's supervisors never learned of his most sensitive task, according to the department and one of his former colleagues.

Pagliano's immediate supervisors did not know the private server even existed until it was revealed in news reports last year, the colleague said, requesting anonymity because of a department ban on unauthorized interviews.

Clinton's decision to sidestep the official email system has since shrouded her campaign for the US presidency this year in controversy and legal uncertainty. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting one of several inquiries into the arrangement, which saw classified information passing through her unsecured account.

The newly disclosed emails show Patrick Kennedy, the department's under secretary for management, oversaw the hiring of Pagliano. But Clinton and the department continued to decline this week to say who, if anyone, in the government was aware of the email arrangement.

"There was no permission to be asked," Clinton said earlier this month. State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to say whether this was correct, citing the ongoing inquiries.

Before joining the department, Pagliano had worked on Clinton's unsuccessful presidential campaign the previous year, and Clinton paid him separately to maintain the server, her campaign staff have said.

Pagliano is cooperating with the FBI in exchange for a promise of a form of prosecutorial immunity, but it remains unclear whether even he knew Clinton was using the server for her work as the nation's most senior diplomat.

According to Pagliano, security logs of Clinton's email server showed no evidence of successful hacking. There was pretty interesting video of Bryan Pagliano's deposition

Justin Cooper -- another shadow administrator of the "Clinton bathroom server"

It looks like Brian Pagliano, was the one who set up the server, but it was Justin Cooper was the key person for the Exchange setup and he, not Brian Pagliano usually troubleshot email related issues. Unlike Brain, he never was State Department employee. His affiliation was all the time with Bill Clinton and Clinton foundation. He did not have any security clearance, which make him a real "shadow administrator" of the "Shadow IT".

Again based on Huma Abedin information it was Justin Cooper who typically troubleshot the email issues with the server, not Brian Pagliano. From Huma Abedin deposition:

Just really what's exchanged in this e-mail. Justin saying, I think from -- for my experience, my e-mail wasn't working. I reached out to Justin. He said he was dealing with some technical -- in this case he suggested what -- somebody was trying to get in -- hack us, I'm quoting Justin. And for my purposes it was a matter of my e-mails not coming through for a while, and then from my memory it restored pretty quickly.

Here is now famous email that reveals the technical level and Justin Cooper approach to troubleshooting of cases of suspected intrusion of the email server of the US Secretary of State (from Huma Abedin deposition). And no, this is not from the pages of The Good Soldier Svejk

From: Justin Cooper . (RELEASE IN FULL)

To: Abedin, Huma

Date: Sunday, January 09, 2011 2:57:19 AM

I had to shut down the server

Someone was trying to hack us and while they did not-get in i didn't want to let them have the chance to.

I will restart It in the morning.

The question is how he know that "they did not get it". I may well be that "they" just needed a reboot of the server :-).

Huma Abedin

While formally Huma Abedin was not s system administrator, she most probably has direct access to Hillary Clinton email account and new the login password (Hillary's shadow - POLITICO)

When she is on the trail, Abedin has taken on an expansive set of duties. On trips to South Carolina, for instance, which Clinton visited last week to attend the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Abedin has held two private meetings with South Carolina state legislators on her boss’s behalf.

When Clinton got stuck in traffic on her way to a meeting with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — who since the meeting has refused to endorse her campaign — Abedin met with him one-on-one for 45 minutes before Clinton eventually appeared.

It marks a transformative shift for Abedin, from loyal assistant, more often seen than heard, to campaign power center of her own. “For all intents and purposes, she’s No. 3 on the campaign, after [campaign chairman John] Podesta and [campaign manager Robby] Mook,” explained a Clinton campaign aide.

Her elevation comes as longtime top Clinton aides like Cheryl Mills, Maggie Williams and Philippe Reines have receded in influence and are not functioning as part of the current campaign’s inner circle. Instead, Abedin has been elevated to the most senior member of Clinton’s old guard, and the person filling a role Clinton has always valued: the strong, trusted, female adviser.

Clinton and Abedin, according to top officials who worked with them at the State Department, also share a visible bond that comes from having spent the majority of the past two decades side by side.

... ... ...

As the only official channel to Clinton over the past year, Abedin also became the go-to phone call for longtime donors looking for information and access. Last April, after Podesta and Mook were officially on board, they approached Abedin with an idea that she should officially become the campaign’s “vice chair.”

“I was there at the White House when Huma was a young intern, and now she’s an integral part of the team,” Podesta said. “She’s as multi-faceted as she is wicked smart, and when you combine that with her humility and strategic sense, you couldn’t ask for a better colleague.”


Judging from her depositions her level of technical competence in the area IT can be characterized as "entry level".  Which makes her another perfect target. She has neither special education in this field, no any interest in security (and even if she would have loyalty overshadows other considerations). From Wikipedia:

While a student at George Washington University, Abedin began working as an intern in the White House in 1996, assigned to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. In 1998, she was also an assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.[11] For several years, she served as the back-up to Clinton's personal aide, and officially took over as Clinton’s aide and personal advisor during Clinton's successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign in New York,[4] and later worked as traveling chief of staff and "body woman" during Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination

... ... ...

In October 2015, a federal court in Washington heard arguments on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch for records related to Abedin. Judicial Watch asked to make Ms. Abedin’s emails and employment records public, asking for details of the arrangement under which Abedin was designated a "special government employee," allowing her to do outside consulting work while also on the federal payroll.[26][27] On October 6, the State Department said it would be able to hand over 69 pages of emails in response to the FOIA request.[28]

In 2015, emails by Abedin became part of the FBI investigation and the controversy concerning Hillary Clinton's private email account while Secretary of State,[29][30] resulting in various allegations by Republicans of violations of State Department regulations.[31] Some officials within the intelligence community have stated that potentially-classified information was contained in e-mails from Abedin relating to the 2012 Benghazi attack and its aftermath which had been sent through Clinton's private, non-government server.[29][32][33] So far, 1818 emails contain classified information on the private server, with 22 being classified as Top Secret. "They were not marked classified at the time they were sent, but they did contain classified information when they were originally sent and received." Her aides also sent and received classified information.[34]

... ... ...

In a letter dated June 13, 2012, to the State Department Inspector General, five Republican members of Congress—Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas J. Rooney of Florida, and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia—claimed that Abedin "has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations."[38][39][40] The five members of Congress alleged that Abedin had "immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations" which they said were "potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining a security clearance" and questioned why Abedin had not been "disqualified for a security clearance."[39]

The claims in the letter were generally rejected, and were labeled by some as conspiracy theories.[38][41] The Washington Post editorial board called the allegations "paranoid," a "baseless attack," and a "smear."[38] The letter was also criticized by, among others, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, the first Muslim member of Congress, who called the allegation "reprehensible."[42] Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, also rejected the allegations, saying "The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government....These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit."[42] Bachmann's former campaign manager Ed Rollins said the allegations were "extreme and dishonest" and called for Bachmann to apologize to Abedin.[43] The Anti-Defamation League condemned the letter, calling upon the Representatives involved to "stop trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories."[44]

... ... ...

In February 2016, The Washington Post reported that the United States Department of State issued a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation in fall of 2015. According to the report, the subpoena focused on "documents about the charity's projects that may have required approval from federal government during Hillary Clinton's term as secretary of state" and "also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton's personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons".[45]

Employees of Platte River Networks

In 2013, after Hillary Clinton term in office was over,  a small mom-and-pop type of company was hired to manage Clinton mail server.  The firm name was Platte River Networks. It is listed on Linkedin as

Computer Networking

11-50 employees

From  Clinton Email Investigation Timeline

May 31, 2013: Clinton hires the Colorado-based Platte River Networks to maintain her email server.

The original server is disconnected and shipped from Clinton’s house in Chappaqua, New York, to a data center in New Jersey. (The Associated Press, 10/7/2015) (McClatchy Newspapers, 10/6/2015) This takes place three months after the hacker nicknamed Guccifer made public Clinton’s exact email address.

However, the process of choosing the company began in January 2013, prior to the Guccifer hack, suggesting the change was due to Clinton’s time as secretary of state coming to an end in February 2013 instead. (The Washington Post, 9/5/2015)

After moving the original server to New Jersey, Platte River moves all the data onto a new server. Then everything on the original server is deleted until it is “blank.” However, it is not wiped, which means having the old files overwritten several times with new data until they can never be recovered.

Platte River keeps the original server and eventually will turn it over to the FBI in August 2015. The FBI then apparently will be able to recover Clinton’s emails from it. (The Washington Post, 9/12/2015)

June 2013 OR Between October 2014—February 2015: The company managing Clinton’s private email server sets up a 30-day retention policy, but there are conflicting accounts of when this occurs.

According to Platte River Networks spokesperson Andy Boian in October 2015, Platte River Networks sets up the 30-day policy as soon as it takes over management of Clinton’s private email server in June 2013. That means that any deleted emails would disappear after 30 days. This is done at the request of Clinton’s representatives from the start of their contract, and the policy never changed.

However, government investigators will later find an August 2015 email from a Platte River employee, who will write that Clinton Executive Service Corp., a company controlled by Clinton’s associates, asked for the 30-day deletion policy in October or November 2014, and then again in February 2015. In the email, the employee will write, “this whole thing really is covering up some shady shit.”

McClatchy Newspapers will later note, “Those reductions [in the retention policy] would have occurred after the State Department requested that Clinton turn over her emails.”

It is not clear who is correct: Boian, the Platte River spokesperson—or the unnamed Platte River employee who wrote the email.McClatchy Newspapers, 10/6/2015)

June 2013—October 2013: During this time, it appears that Clinton’s private server is wide open to hacking attempts.

On May 31, 2013, maintenance of the server was taken over by a small Colorado-based company called Platte River Networks, and the server is sent to a data center in New Jersey. Platte River Networks then pays to use threat monitoring software called CloudJacket SMB made by a company named SECNAP. SECNAP claims the software can foil “even the most determined hackers.”

However, the new software doesn’t begin working until October 2013, apparently leaving the server vulnerable. It is known that the server is repeatedly attacked by hackers in the months from October 2013 on, but it is unknown if any attacks occur when the software is not yet installed.

Justin Harvey, chief security officer of a cybersecurity company, will later comment that Clinton “essentially circumvented millions of dollars’ worth of cybersecurity investment that the federal government puts within the State Department. […] She wouldn’t have had the infrastructure to detect or respond to cyber attacks from a nation-state. Those attacks are incredibly sophisticated, and very hard to detect and contain. And if you have a private server, it’s very likely that you would be compromised.” (The Associated Press, 10/7/2015)

In March 2013, a Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer discovered Clinton’s private email address and the exact address was published in the media.

July 2013: Clinton’s private server is reconfigured to use a commercial email provider.

The Colorado-based provider, MX Logic, is owned by McAfee Inc., a top Internet security company. This comes one month after Clinton hired the Colorado-based Platte River Networks to maintain her email server, and four months after a hacker named Guccifer publicly exposed Clinton’s private email address for the first time. (The Associated Press, 3/4/2015)

Computer security expert Matt Devost will later comment: “The timing makes sense. When she left office and was no longer worried as much about control over her emails, she moved to a system that was easier to administer.” (Bloomberg News, 3/4/2015)

Platte River was a very small company which operated from a residential apartment in Denver, Colorado. At this point it looks like backup were handled by the company called Datto. Those backups might survive the erasing of "private" emails and then the whole server. FBI now is in possession of relevant hardware. Here is the into from Wikipedia:

The email server was located in the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York, until 2013, when it was sent to a data center in New Jersey before being handed over to Platte River Networks, a Denver-based information technology firm that Clinton hired to manage her email system.[15][16][17][18][19] Datto, Inc., which provided data backup service for Clinton's email, agreed to give the FBI the hardware that stored the backups.[20] As of May 2016, no answer had been provided to the public as to whether 31,000 emails deleted by Hillary Clinton as personal have been or could be recovered.[21]

We do not know from which month in 2013 the server was managed to a new service provider: Platte River Networks (which at the time was located Moves to 2955 Inca St., Unit 2K. That's were nickname "Clinton bathroom server" is originated from -- the company used a closet to the bathroom as a server room ( They have no, or little psychical security. I think that from June 2013 till the server was seized by FBI (thedenverpost):

Platte River, which submitted a bid for the e-mail job, stepped in four months after Clinton left the secretary job on Feb. 1, 2013, and three months after Sidney Blumenthal, a former Clinton White House staffer, reported that his e-mail account had been hacked, exposing messages sent to Clinton.

“We were literally hired in June 2013,” Boian said, “and because we use industry best practices, we had (Clinton’s) server moved to a data center in New Jersey. It remained in that spot until last week,” when the FBI picked it up Aug. 12.

Platte River also is not in possession of any Clinton e-mail backups, he said.

“The role of Platte River Networks was to upgrade, secure and manage the e-mail server for both the Clintons and their staff beginning June 2013. Platte River Networks is not under investigation. We were never under investigation. And we will fully comply with the FBI,” he said.

This fact created a popular nickname for the server: a "bathroom server".

Platter River also managed IT for Bill Clinton and Chelsea. As Huma Abedin testified:

A: I don't remember conversations while I was at State. But after -- and my memory on the dates is fuzzy here. But once, when Platte River took over the IT responsibility for the office of the President and Chelsea, and then the -- and including the office of the former Secretary, I did have a new contact to whom I would then communicate with when we were having issues with our -- our -- our e-mails.

On August 12, 2015 FBI seized the server from the data center where it was located. At this point the server was already wiped out. In addition in September 2015 FBI has seized four State Department computer servers:

The FBI has seized four State Department computer servers as part of its probe into how classified information was compromised on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email system, according to people familiar with the investigation.

...The State Department uses two separate networks, one for classified information and one for unclassified information. The two networks are kept separate for security reasons. Most classified
networks are equipped with audit systems that allow security managers to check who has accessed intelligence or foreign policy secrets.

Like many Hillary Clinton actions, the choice of Platte River Networks as server manager was highly questionable. At the time they got Clinton email server hosting and management responsibilities they did no or very little work outside of state, but were closely connected to Democratic Party. (Hillary Clinton's email firm Platte River Networks was run from a loft in Denver Daily Mail Online). It was a small local company with three owners and something like eight employees. It is unclear whether there have any staff added from 2008 till 2013 and how many people were hired during this period they hosted the server. Definitely none of those people has any security clearance but by nature of their jobs might have access to the server via Remote Desktop. The company did not even external alarm in the attachment they used, so psychical security was essentially non-existent and snooping equipment can be installed in the apartment "bathroom closet" any night:

Welch confirmed his former company kept its servers in the bathroom closet.

He said: 'The space that we had our office was essentially designed as a residential unit… the bathroom connected to the master closet and that's what we retrofitted as a server room.'

He claimed the set up was secure, adding: 'Our internal network was extremely secure. At the time Inca St was a relatively obscure location, second floor office. The technology we had in place was pretty good. The security we had in place at the office was really good to protect our well-being.'

Asked if he thinks Clinton's emails could ever have been at risk from hackers, he said: 'What changed after I left the company I have no idea, I really could not comment on that. I don't know.'

So here Hillary Clinton also played fast and loose and relied of her good luck. Platte River Networks was growing during this period, and it looks like it was growing fast so new staff was added and that provide opportunity to get psychical access to Hillary email by any determined adversary. Recently they moved to a new office which now is a separate building with "normal" (and hopefully protected from unauthorized physical access) server room.

Baffled by how Clinton decided to hire Platte River, ex-employees suggested David DeCamillis, the company's vice-president of sales and marketing might have had a hand in courting her business. Another theory put forward was that Colorado governor John Hickenlooper recommended them to her. The Democratic National Convention was held in Denver in 2008. Tera said: 'David DeCamillis was a big Democrat. He went to the Democrat Convention. 'He definitely helped Platte River grow, he had a strong sales background. And he brought a lot of clients on, that was his role as the VP of sales.'

Platte River co-founder Tom Welch revealed DeCamillis -- who we revealed was sued for fraud when he worked for Lou Pearlman, the disgraced music impresario who discovered Backstreet Boys and NSync -- had hoped to put up Joe Biden, now the vice-president, during the 2008 convention.

'During that Democratic Convention David DeCamillis was going to rent his home to Joe Biden. It was in a relatively posh part of Denver, it was called Washington Park in downtown Denver,' Welch said. 'Then Joe Biden was selected as [vice-presidential] candidate and didn't take him up on the deal. 'I'm not sure how that all happened, all I know he was saying he had the opportunity to make quite a bit of money doing it.

Again, as they did not have any security clearance, delegating to them the responsibility for maintaining and securing the server was illegal from the very beginning:

Ed Henry reported the latest this afternoon on new revelations that Hillary Clinton's private email server was housed in the bathroom closet of a Denver loft apartment. The Daily Mail is reporting that Clinton chose a small IT company called Platte River Networks to handle her email servers. The company was run out of an apartment and its servers were reportedly kept in the bathroom closet. The article says that the firm has strong ties to the Democratic Party.

The Mail reported:

Daily Mail Online tracked down ex-employees of Platte River Networks in Denver, Colorado, who revealed the outfit's strong links to the Democratic Party but expressed shock that the 2016 presidential candidate chose the small private company for such a sensitive job.

One, Tera Dadiotis, called it 'a mom and pop shop' which was an excellent place to work, but hardly seemed likely to be used to secure state secrets. And Tom Welch, who helped found the company, confirmed the servers were in a bathroom closet.

It can also be disclosed that the small number of employees who were aware of the Clinton contract were told to keep it secret. Clinton has previously said that her servers were at her home in Chappaqua, New York. Henry said he's been trying to contact a spokesman for the IT company, seeking a confirmation or denial on the report.

The report comes on the same day that prominent liberal columnist Eugene Robinson called out Clinton, accusing her of "stonewalling" on the emails.

Robinson wrote in the Washington Post:

"So I wish Hillary Clinton would be respectful enough to say, 'I’m sorry. I was wrong.' I wish she wouldn’t insult our intelligence by claiming she only did what other secretaries of state had done. None of her predecessors, after all, went to the trouble and expense of a private e-mail server."

Watch Ed Henry's report above.

Server backup

But any server needs backups which allow to restore the server configuration in case of catastrophic failure of hard drive or server hardware. Here the most interesting part of the puzzle starts: where those backups were located and who (which organization) was managing them. If server made backups to the cloud, those backups were substantially less physically secure, and definitely can be picked up by a determined adversary with substantial financial resources, by simply bribing the staff for access, but we do not know the details.

It looks like the retention policy was tuned several times, which suggests the cover-up: Platte River Networks Clinton Email Investigation Timeline

Mid-August 2015: An employee at the company recently managing Clinton’s private email server expresses concerns of a cover-up.

The employee expresses this in a private email later found by Senate investigators. Platte River Networks managed her server from mid-2013 until early this month. According to a spokesperson for Platte River Networks, Clinton Executive Service Corp., the Clinton associated company that hired Platte River in June 2013, from the very start the company had a 30-day deletion policy. That means that any deleted email on Clinton’s server would be permanently deleted after 30 days.

However, a mid-August 2015 email from one unnamed Platte River Networks employee to another suggests the implementation of this policy actually happened later. The email reads, “Any chance you found an old email with their directive to cut the backup back in Oct-Feb. […] I know they had you cut it once in Oct-Nov, then again to 30day in Feb-ish.” (Presumably this refers to October 2014 through February 2015.)

The employee adds that such evidence would be “golden” and would clear Platte River of criticism. “Starting to think this whole thing really is covering up some shady shit. I just think if we have it in writing that they [Clinton Executive Service Corp.] told us to cut the backups, and we can go public saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better.” The email was sent shortly after it was publicly revealed that the FBI was looking into the security of Clinton’s server. (Politico, 10/6/2015) (McClatchy Newspapers, 10/6/2015)

It’s not clear when the deletion policy was instituted or changed. But if the unnamed employee is correct, the change would have come after Clinton was formally asked to hand over all her emails, which took place in October 2014.

In 2013 the server was moved to an unnamed NJ datacenter and small mom-and-pop type of company was hired to manage it. The latter operated from an apartment in Denver. At this point it looks like backup were handled by the company called Datto, which of course has no clue about importance and sensitivity of those backups. Those backups might survive the erasing of "private" emails and then the whole server. FBI now is in possession of relevant hardware. Here is the into from Wikipedia:

The email server was located in the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York, until 2013, when it was sent to a data center in New Jersey before being handed over to Platte River Networks, a Denver-based information technology firm that Clinton hired to manage her email system.[15][16][17][18][19] Datto, Inc., which provided data backup service for Clinton's email, agreed to give the FBI the hardware that stored the backups.[20] As of May 2016, no answer had been provided to the public as to whether 31,000 emails deleted by Hillary Clinton as personal have been or could be recovered.[21]

Datto cloud backup of Clinton's email server, another story taken directly from the world-famous novel The Good Soldier Svejk

Datto is a Norwalk (Connecticut) company, which backed up Hillary Clinton‘s emails at the request of the Colorado-based firm Platte River Networks, which managed her "bathroom server" since June 2013. It stored the emails on a “cloud” storage system designed to optimize data recovery. in September 29 Datto turned over the contents of its storage to the FBI.

June 30, 2016: One company that possessed Clinton’s emails is accused of having shockingly poor security.

From around June 2013 until August 2015, Clinton’s private server containing her emails from her time as secretary of state was managed by Platte River Networks. But another company, Datto Inc., was making monthly back-up copies of all the server’s data in the Internet cloud. Datto has 600 employees and is valued at $1 billion, but two people tell the Daily Mail that the company is extremely incompetent.

Marc Tamarin, president of Virtual IT Consulting, was a Datto business partner from 2009 until early 2016. He says he frequently worked with Datto’s technical support, but “Those guys were really morons. They weren’t qualified to handle our back-up and that was the biggest concern for us. … If they’re inept at the basic principles of technology, how are they going to handle something advanced like security? Most companies like mine trust their vendor that they are doing due diligence. I’ve never heard anything this bad before in my life, the dataincompetence was shocking.”

An unnamed former employee, who spent three years at the company, has even more complaints. “If you’re talking about high-level data security, at the political, presidential level, the security level of data [at Datto] … was nowhere near something that could have been protected from a good hacker that knows how to spread out their points at which to infiltrate. It’s not something that Datto was focused on. It was more about getting the data off-site quickly and cost-effectively than securing the data and keeping it from being hacked. There’s no doubt in my mind that someone could easily hack them – even today.”

He calls Datto’s security “a joke.” He claims a potential hacker could walk in off the street and sit down at an unused computer and access all the company’s data. There were no security guards, the receptionists didn’t ask questions of strangers, there was no key card access or other security features, passwords were not regularly changed, and so on. People who said they had lost their security pass would be let in without questions. Unused computers were frequently left on and logged in to the network.

He says, “For years, any Datto employee, even low-level ones, could go in any customer’s device, see their backups, restore files, and delete files.” Oftentimes, Datto customers would find themselves logged into the data of another customer without even wanting to. Datto’s internal servers were hacked in 2010. However, complaints were swept under the rug and security was not improved.(The Daily Mail, 6/30/2016)

The whole story looks like another variation of the world-famous novel The Good Soldier Svejk. As By Greg Gordon and Anita Kumar (from McClatchy Washington Bureau( reported (Unbeknownst to Clinton, IT firm had emails stored on cloud; now in FBI’s hands McClatchy DC):

Platte River spokesman Andy Boian said the firm bought a device from Datto that constantly snaps images of a server’s contents and connected it to the Clinton server at a New Jersey data storage facility. Platte River never asked Datto to beam the images to an off-site cloud storage node and never was billed for that service, he said. Company officials were bewildered when they learned of the cloud storage, he said.

“We said, ‘You have a cloud? You were told not to have a cloud.’ We never received an invoice for any cloud for the Clintons.’”
The source familiar with Datto’s account, however, said Platte River was billed for “private cloud” storage, which requires a cloud storage node. Because Platte River lacks one, the source said, the data bounced to Datto’s off-site cloud storage. The source said that senior Platte River officials may not have realized it, but company technicians “were managing the off-site storage throughout.”

Datto did not know it was backing up Clintons’ email server until mid August, the source said.

As to whether the FBI might recover Clinton’s personal emails from Datto’s storage, the source said: “People don’t Datto’s service for getting rid of data.”

The FBI requested the contents of Datto’s storage on Sept. 10, a person familiar with the situation said. On Friday, Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, and Platte River agreed to allow Datto to turn over the data from the backup server to the FBI, said this person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Boian said Platte River also would give the FBI the backup device it purchased from Datto.

Michael Fass, Datto’s general counsel, said in a statement that “with the consent of our client and their end user, and consistent with our policies regarding data privacy, Datto is working with the FBI to provide data in conjunction with its investigation.”

He said Datto had “no role in monitoring the content or source of data stored” by Platte River.

Boian said the firm had set up a 30-day retention policy for the backup server in 2013, at the request of Clinton’s representatives, meaning that any emails deleted would disappear within 30 days. Boian said Platte River did not “wipe” the server clean, such as by overwriting deleted material several times with encrypted data.

Clinton’s decision to have her lawyers prune and delete all of her personal emails when she turned the others over to the State Department could complicate FBI attempts to resurrect emails from the backup. But if the personal emails were stored on a part of the server’s disk or the cloud backup that has not been overwritten, the task still might be easy. Bloomberg News reported recently that the FBI has recovered some of Clinton’s emails, apparently from the server they seized from Platte River.

In laying out facts gathered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which he chairs, Wisconsin Sen. Johnson offered the first public confirmation that Clinton or her representatives had arranged for a backup of her email server after she left office in early 2013.

His letter also cited internal emails recounting requests in late 2014 and early 2015 from Clinton representatives for Platte River Networks to direct Datto to reduce the amount of her emails it was backing up. These communications led a Platte River employee to air suspicions that “this whole thing really is covering up some shaddy (sic) shit,” according to an excerpt of an email cited by Johnson.

Boian said, however, that Platte River was asked to limit email retention to 30 days as soon as it was hired -- a directive that never changed.

The controversy seems sure to come up on Oct. 22, when Clinton is scheduled to testify to a House committee investigating the fatal 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. It was the panel’s chairman who first declared last March that she had “wiped” her server clean based on a letter from Clinton’s attorney.

Later Platte River employees were directed to reduce the amount of email data being stored with each backup. Those reductions would have occurred after the State Department requested that Clinton turn over her emails.

It was here that a Platte River employee voiced suspicions about a cover-up and sought to protect the company. “If we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups,” the employee wrote, “and that we can go public with our statement saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better,” according to the email cited by Johnson.

In the letter to Austin McChord, Datto’s CEO, Johnson asked the firm to produce copies of all communications it had relating to Clinton’s server, including those with Platte River and the Clinton firm.” He also asked whether Datto and its employees were authorized to store and view classified information and for details of any cyberattacks on the backup server.

In an ongoing review of Clinton’s work emails, the State Department and intelligence agencies have found more than 400 containing classified information, including at least two declared “Top Secret,” the most sensitive national security data. Clinton has said none of the emails were marked classified during her tenure although some communications by their nature are classified at creation.

In other developments, the State Department is asking Clinton to search again for any emails, regardless of format, from the first two months of her tenure, according to a document filed Tuesday by the State Department in response to a lawsuit about her emails.

The request to Clinton attorney David Kendall, dated Oct. 2, comes weeks after the State Department obtained a series of emails that Clinton did not turn over despite her claim that she sent the agency all her work-related correspondence.

The chain of emails, dating from Jan. 10, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2009, were exchanged with former Gen. David Petraeus when he headed the military’s U.S. Central Command, responsible for running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and mostly relate to personnel matters.

“These emails are now in our possession and will be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said last week. “Furthermore, we asked the IG to incorporate this matter into the review Secretary Kerry requested in March. We have also informed Congress of this matter.”

Clinton said she was unable to turn over emails she sent or received from late January to March 18, 2009, because she continued to use the AT&T Blackberry account she had when she was a senator. But after the Petraeus emails surfaced and showed she had not turned over emails sent or received on her new account, aides said she could not turn over emails because they had not been captured on her private server.

Read more here:

coverup: swiping actions what were beyond gross negligence under the carpet

"I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies
if they weren't sitting back, paging through the emails."

Michael Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency,
Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence,
and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Computer security is not a game when we are taking about country foreign minister correspondence and communications. This is about security of the state. As Buck Sexton noted in his article in National review "When you are dealing with classified material, information security — “InfoSec” — is not a game.":

The most damning revelation about Hillary’s e-mails from the last 24 hours is not the details of the investigation into her homebrew server. What’s making headlines across the political spectrum is that some of the material she sent via her personal server was so sensitive that it was designated “Top Secret.” This is a jaw-slaps-the-table moment. Even for those of us who hold a very low opinion of Mrs. Clinton’s character, integrity, and judgment, this is a graver offense than many had contemplated. Merely the storage of “Top Secret” e-mails – never mind their dissemination over open channels to some individuals likely not cleared to read them — is a federal felony. On top of that, it is unthinkable that Hillary could have sent such sensitive information and not known at the time that it was sensitive.

She knew what she was doing, and she knew what was at stake. When you are dealing with classified material, information security — “InfoSec” — is not a game. There are good reasons for the laws that protect the data. “Top Secret” is a term we are all familiar with from the pop-culture spy world, but it has very specific implications. A “TS” designation means that “exceptionally grave injury” could be expected to befall the United States should that information be disclosed to unauthorized personnel. Hillary had a sacred duty to exercise proper caution and protect classified material in her possession by keeping it within proper channels. Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton’s obligation as a U.S. government official with classified access went far beyond the need to avoid intentional disclosure to foreign powers (which is espionage).

We are talking about a Cabinet-level appointee — one with almost total access to sensitive national-security information and who is responsible for the safety and security of thousands of State Department employees all over the world. She must set an example for other government employees.

I’ve seen CIA interns with more security sense than Madame Secretary had. Hillary had a sacred duty to exercise proper caution and protect classified material in her possession by keeping it within proper channels. Lives were quite literally at stake.

Instead, she created her own little digital-information clearinghouse — for herself and even for some employees – and, at a minimum, exposed critical national-security information to foreign penetration. Get Free Exclusive NR Content No doubt, the Clinton campaign will claim that there was no provable breach of her system, that the e-mails weren’t classified until after the fact (which is not true), and that Hillary violated neither State Department protocol nor U.S. federal law. In each case, these defenses are blatant falsehoods. Only a compliant media and the potent Clinton political machine can keep the lies from collapsing.

At this point in the sordid Clinton e-mail saga, the facts are beyond dispute: Hillary used a private, unsecured e-mail system for official government business, including the retention and dissemination of classified material up to and including “Top Secret” communications. In doing so, she violated basic good sense, professional obligations, and federal law. She did all this to evade public scrutiny of her dealings while in office, and she has lied repeatedly to the American people about it since.

Read more at:

As Marc A. Thiessen wrote in Washington Post (Clinton’s email excuses are falling apart, Jan 25, 2016)

Lash out as she might, Clinton’s constantly changing email story is rapidly falling apart. First, Clinton claimed there was “no classified material” on her private server — which turned out to be untrue. Then she claimed none of the intelligence on her server was “classified at the time” — which also turned out to be untrue. Now, in a National Public Radio interview last week, Clinton said there was no information that was “marked classified.”

But this is not a defense.

It is against the law to remove classification markings from classified information and enter it into an unclassified system — which is the only way this information could have found its way into more than 1,300 emails on Clinton’s personal server. There is no way to “accidentally” send classified information by unclassified email. Senior officials have separate computers in their offices for classified and unclassified information. The two systems are not connected. The only way information from the classified system can make it onto an unclassified system is for someone to intentionally put it there — either by taking a document that is marked classified and typing the information without markings into an unclassified email, or by putting a thumb drive into their classified computer, downloading information and then putting that thumb drive into an unclassified computer, as Edward Snowden did. In either case, it is a crime.

So Clinton’s defense that the information was not “marked” classified does not absolve her of wrongdoing. Quite the opposite, it puts her in greater legal jeopardy.

The revelation that the intelligence on her private server included discussions of Special Access Programs makes the situation even more serious. Having any classified information on your private server is against the law. But Special Access Programs contain information so sensitive, it is given a secret “codeword” and placed into a “compartment” to which only a small number of specially cleared people have access. To see this information, it is not enough to have Top Secret security clearance; you have to be cleared for that specific compartment.

In March 11, 2011, the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security sent a memorandum on cybersecurity threats directly to Secretary Clinton:

A portion of the unclassified version of this memorandum states:

Threat analysis by the DS cyber security team and related incident reports indicate a dramatic increase since January 2011 in attempts by [redacted] cyber actors to compromise the private home e-mail accounts of senior Department officials. … Although the targets are unclassified, personal e-mail accounts, the likely objective is to compromise user accounts and thereby gain access to policy documents and personal information that could enable technical surveillance and possible blackmail. The personal e-mail of family members also is at risk.

The memorandum included as an attachment "a snapshot of affected Department personnel," noting that many of the email account owners play major roles in forming diplomatic and economic policy. It concluded by noting, "We also urge Department users to minimize the use of personal web email for business, as some compromised home systems have been reconfigured by these actors to automatically forward copies of all composed emails to an undisclosed recipient

... ... ...

According to the current CIO and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs. However, according to these officials, DS and IRM did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the FAM and the security risks in doing so.

You would never expect from any Yale Law School educated lawyer such a reckless, unprofessional behaviour.

Mishandling of classified information and violation of the terms of NDA that she signed

Washington has a problem with over-classifying banal information. A great deal of information should never be classified at all, and tis classification is just reflection on bureaucratic tendency of "avoidance the responsibility": it is safer to classify bear responsibility for not classifying really sensitive information. In other words the system has tendency of over classification within itself.

That means, that many cases you can downgrade the classification level by one to get a more truthful picture. But there is one area which usually is correct: so called Special Access program. Essentially this is a security level above Top Secret. Mishandling such an information usually automatically makes you a criminal. (, Jan 20, 2016)

Some of the classified emails found on former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s home server were even more sensitive than top secret, according to an inspector general for the intelligence community.

Inspector general Charles McCullough sent a letter to lawmakers last Friday saying that several dozen additional classified emails have been found, including ones containing information from so-called “special access programs”. Intelligence officials say special access programs have a higher classification than top secret because they are about highly sensitive programs and could reveal sources of information.

As one Guardian commenter put it: "HRC, in classic form, is insulting the intelligence of us all, and with the democrats who still support her to blame in that they are the enablers of her contemptible behavior." (, Aug 18, 2015). to keep such information on a "bathroom server" is simply incredible behaviour of Yale educated lawyer.

The second source that makes sense to consider as "true classified" set of emails are so called "borne classified" emails. This category was introduced in a 1946 law called the Atomic Energy Act, which established, among other things, that all information pertaining to the development of nuclear weapons would be automatically considered classified and then expended to other areas. That mean that if email touches certain topics, is should be considered classified no matter whether it has security markings or not. As simple as that. (Gaius Publius)

About prosecution, there are many laws that Clinton appears to have broken. In fact, there may develop a minor cottage industry that lists them. Comey himself identified some transgressions during his post-announcement speech (my emphasis below):

[S]even 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.

Note that this confirms, by the way, the fact that Special Access Program (SAP) information — one of the highest, most sensitive levels of secret the government possesses — was indeed housed on the server. Brian Pagliano, in doing any number of maintenance chores at the Clinton IT home-headquarters, could have read it, as could anyone helping him. Risking SAP information will be a tripwire for many in the intelligence community, who are likely to regard its mishandling as unforgivable. This is one of those areas where we’ll know more over time as specialists weigh in. (The political response of the intel community, if any, could also be interesting, in a “drama of retaliation” way. This may not occur, but it’s one of the possibilities.)

Next Comey adds:

In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails). 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.

In other words, despite Ms. Clinton’s allegations that nothing she sent or received was “marked classified at the time” — her statements were incorrect. (Note that the extent of this violation is in doubt, however; i.e., the exact number of these “properly classified” emails and their contents was not revealed. Below, as you’ll read, Comey admits that the number of these emails is “very small.” Wikileaks disagrees.)


Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. 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.

The last is important. Some material is “born classified,” a phrase you’ve likely encountered if you’ve been following this story. If an admiral in World War II, for example, doodles a possible plan of attack against an enemy fleet, that doodle contains classified information, whether marked as such or not. And more, the duty to guard this information goes beyond not divulging it. It must be carefully protected in a non-negligent way.

Here track record of Ms. Clinton is dismal which led to Comey statement that she is not intellectually capable to distinguish those types of information (a very damning statement for a Presidential Candidate, indeed). Even highly sympathetic to Ms Clinton NYT can't deny that such a behaviour was indeed happened. And that Hillary Clinton need to bear responsibility for her actions. Administrative (loss of security clearance), financial or some other. She was cleared of criminal responsibility by FBI.

Hillary signed NDA when he was appointed to her position of Secretary of State ( It explicitly prohibited the set of behaviors she was engaged in. Among other things it stated:

1. Intending to be legally bound, I hereby accept the obligations contained in this Agreement in consideration of me being granted access to information or material protected within Special Access Programs, hereinafter referred to in the Agreement as Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI) I have beet advised that SCI involves or derives from intelligence sources or methods and is classified or is in process of a classification determination under the standards Of Executive Order 12958 or other Executive Order or statue. I understand and accept that by being granted access to SGE, special confidence and trust shall be placed in me by the United States Government

2. I hereby acknowledge that I have received a security indoctrination concerning the nature and protection of SCI, including the procedures to be followed in ascertaining whether other persons to whom I contemplate disclosing this information or material have been approved access to it, and I understand these procedures. l understand that I may be required to sign subsequent agreements upon being granted access to different categories of SCI. I further understand that all my obligations under this agreement continue to exist whether or not I am required to sign such subsequent agreements.

3. I have been advised (hat the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of SCI by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation. I hereby agree l will never divulge anything marked as SCI or that I known to be SCI to anyone who is not authorized to receive it without prior written authorization from the United States Government department or agency (hereinafter Department or Agency) the authorized my access to SCI. I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Deportment or Agency that last authorized my access to SCI, whether or not I am still employed by or associated with that Department or Agency or a contractor of thereof. In order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control that I have reason to believe might be SCI I further understand that I am obligated by law and regulation not to disclose any classified information or material in an unauthorized fashion.

4. In consideration of being granted access to SCI and of being assigned or retained in a position of special confidence and trust requiring access to SCI, I hereby, agree to be submitted for security review by the Department or Agency that last authorized my access to such information or material, any writing or other preparation in any form, including a work of fiction, that contains, or purports to contain any SCI or description of activities that produce or relate to SCI or that I have reasons to believe be derived from SCI, that I contemplate disclosing to any person not-authorized to have access to SCI or that I have prepared for public disclosure. I understand and agree that my obligation to submit such preparation doe review applies during the course of my access to SCI and thereafter, and I agree make any required submissions prior to discussing the preparation with, or showing it to, anyone who is not authorized to have access to SCI until I have received written-authorization from the Department or Agency that last authorized my access to SCI that such disclosure is permitted.

... ... ...

6. I have been advised that any breath of. this Agreement may result in my termination of my access to SCI and removal from a position of special confidence and trust requiring such access, as well as the termination of my employment or other relationships with any Department or Agency that provides me with access to SCI. In addition, I have been advised that any unauthorized disclosure of SCI by me may constitute violations of United States criminal laws, including provisions of Sections 793, 794,798, and 952, Title-18, United Stales Code, and of Section 783(b), Title 50, United States Code. Nothing in this Agreement constitutes a waiver by the United States of the right to prosecute me for any statutory violation.

If we compare the text of NDA with Hillary actions, it looks like she put the loyalty to the clan above the loyalty to the state. Her actions suggest, if elected to a higher office she will not play by the rules.

That pattern of behaviour demonstrates first of all in creating the Shadow IT infrastructure and implicitly granting access to her emails to Pagliano (and maybe other loyalists involved with IT infrastructure of Clinton foundation or her presidential run) who have no security clearness , shipping the server to outside contractor (also without security clearness), delegating management of the server to mom-and-pop company, deleting emails at her own discretion, wiping the server when the situation became hot, and copying email to the USB stick and giving it to her lawyer.

Mrs. Clinton's "bathroom email server" became a national story on March 3, 2015, when the New York Times ran a front-page article by MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT on the subject. The article said that the system "may have violated federal requirements". The article started with bomb-shell announcement:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

As you can expect there were a lot of indignation with her actions in comments

Rima Regas, is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA March 2, 2015

There is that side of Mrs. Clinton where the entitlement is so strong she just can't resist it. As an attorney, Mrs. Clinton should have known better than to try and game it by using a personal email account from which to conduct State Dept. business. It wasn't smart from a security point of view and it is against the rules not only in government, but throughout all industries.

Why did she decide to do business off of the government's servers? Why does she get to decide what records the government now gets? The inherent wrong in that decision should have been apparent to her from the start. That is wasn't, or that she ignored it, makes her unfit. What other rules would Mrs. Clinton decide to override? What gives her the right to set her own rules?

All the reasons why Mrs. Clinton was passed over in the 2007 Democratic primary are as valid today as they were then. We don't need another entitled candidate. We need to make better leadership choices.

Some people, such as her former adviser Dick Morris, went farther then that:

Reports have said top secret content about drones passed through Clinton's email.

"Who's the one who's in charge of deciding what's secret and what's not? Hillary Clinton. So if the documents came and they were unclassified, unmarked, it was her duty to mark them and to respect that marking," Morris says.

"Obviously, drones and the kind of information you're talking about would be top secret. Hillary was reckless in consigning all this to her personal server because of the very material that the

Looks like at least two emails stored on the server were classified Top Secret (

... Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III told members of Congress that at least two emails that traversed the device while she was secretary of state contained information that warranted one of the government's highest levels of classification.

Senator Ron Johnson raised the question why the server at one point was located at Platte River Networks:

Given that the server was used to conduct official State Department business, questions have been raised regarding whether classified information was stored on the private server," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., wrote Platte president Treve Suazo in a letter obtained by McClatchy Tuesday. Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has asked Suazo to respond to his questions within two weeks, including "if that data was secure, who had access to that material and whether all official documents were appropriately preserved" and whether Platte River Networks was "authorized to maintain or access classified information."

The whole incident became the source of nasty jokes:

Undisciplined ... How does she know her email server hasn't been hacked?

Clinton either got lousy advice about security/policy, or didn't care. I'm sorry security is inconvenient. Yes, it shouldn't be,, but I'd like to know what her risk assessment really was. I've jokingly been telling folks that, if need be, we could always ask the Chinese or Russians for copies of all of her email - they've probably got everything! Can you say "Manchurian Candidate", or susceptible to blackmail by a foreign government? I'm not fan of conspiracy theories, but if I were her and if there were ANY question about the content of any of her email - personal or otherwise - I'd recommend she publicize everything she's got and deal with it up front.

Hillary Clinton was the only Secretary of State who never used an email address. During all the period she was the Secretary of State (2008-2012), her email address was [email protected] (hdr refers to her maiden name Hillary Diane Rodham). This address became public knowledge after it was revealed by Romanian hacker in early 2013. The domain was registered on the day of her confirmation hearing in January 2009. But private email server setup existed before that -- during her campaign for Democratic Party presidential nomination, which she lost to Obama. The person who setup the server (most probably Bryan Pagliano) was one of her campaign staffers, who later became her political appointee in the Department of State IT, violating the rule that those positions are not designed to be filled by political appointees. Bt that's Hillary, who never take "No" as an answer form people who are under her hill. During his tenure he remained an outsider. What is really shocking (and alarming) is that State Department was unable to produce any emails from him responding to FOIA requests (Bryan Pagliano emails MIA State cannot find documents by Hillary Clinton's former IT aide - Washington Times)

Hillary Clinton is the only government official ever to use a private server and a single email address exclusively for both work and personal correspondence. And she is too self-centered to understand consequences of such a stupid move. And after she made such a stupid decision, she never tried to hire the best people to set it up and secure. This is definitely a case of gross negligence, as the server was so critical for the whole level of Department of State security. As it was she who make this server the central part of her 'Shadow IT' infrastructure. As such it was never properly maintained and monitored. Actually we do not know who was involved with the setup and maintenance of the server, or more correctly, was Bryan Pagliano the only person involved. Probably not. We know very little about the setup of the server to judge its security, but what we know is not reassuring.

Another argument in favor of gross negligence change is her insistence on the usage of a single device, despite travelling only with bodyguards, who can carry for her not one additional device but a dozen. There were some efforts to involve NSA to modify Hillary Clinton Blackberry, so that it can work in secure spaces, so NSA might also (directly or indirectly) oversaw her server. Moreover she has made so many enemies over the years in Washington (including within three letter agencies such as FBI, DHS, and NSA) that there was a direct interest in her fall. Few of those folks were/are in her corner. Stories about her legendary rudeness with Secret Services agents are widespread. Most probably love to see her take one in the teeth, but not to the extent of compromising the whole State Department security.

This is an the scandal in which the lack of principles of both Clintons again got into public light, because it is very closely unconnected to so called "Clinton cash" scandal, but interrelations of the two make both larger and more dangerous for Hillary Clinton then any single of them. Although both display a degree of criminality (which should be determined by the court) email scandal connects with the issue of national security with the issue of corruption at the center of "Clinton cash" scandal.

Shortly before she was sworn in as secretary of state in 2009, Hillary Clinton set up an email server at her home in Chappaqua, New York. She then relied on this server, home to the email address [email protected], for all her electronic correspondence - both work-related and personal - during her four years in office. When Clinton got to the Department, she opted to use her personal email account exclusively, which for her would greatly simplify the control about disclosure of those emails.

Who approved this request is unclear but no government employee can set up his/her own server without some kind of permission from higher ups. But it is clear the State Department tried to swipe the dirt under the carpet:

Former officials of the U.S. State Department are furiously denying suggestions that retired Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s extensive use of a private email address violated federal rules concerning the preservation of official government records. A FOIA request filed two years ago by Gawker, however, proves that Clinton—a likely contender for the Democratic presidential nominee—successfully used the off-the-books email account to conceal official correspondence from prying eyes. Ours.

All fours years while she was in office, she did not use, or even activate, a email account, which would have been hosted on servers owned and managed by the US government:

While her explanation was mainly around the lines of "convenience" skeptics suspect that the real reason Mrs. Clinton established her own email system was because it gave her total control over disclosure of her correspondence and the power to suppress undesirable emails by simply deleting them ( BBC News)

Her "convenience" explanation has been difficult for some to swallow, given that as secretary of state she travelled with an extensive entourage capable of carrying her additional phone. And in February 2015, she told a television interviewer that she now carries multiple devices - an iPhone and a Blackberry, as well as an iPad and an iPad mini.

Her server existed in the gray area of law:

When she became secretary of state, the controlling interpretation of the 1950 Federal Records Act was that officials using personal email accounts must ensure that official correspondence are turned over to the government. Ten months after she took office, a new regulation allowed the use of private emails only if federal records were "preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system".

Mrs. Clinton maintains that this requirement was satisfied because most of her emails from her personal account went to, or were forwarded to, people with government accounts, so they were automatically archived. Any other emails were turned over to State Department officials when they issued a request to her - and several of her predecessors - in October 2014.

She said it is the responsibility of the government employee "to determine what's personal and what's work-related" and that she's gone "above and beyond" what she was asked to do.

According to Mrs. Clinton, she sent or received 62,320 emails during her time as secretary of state. She, or her lawyers, have determined about half of those - 30,490, roughly 55,000 pages, were official and have been turned over to the State Department.

Mrs. Clinton said the other emails are private, but skeptics suspect that part of them, especially related to her communications with Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton foundation and foreign donors might not be so. Hillary Clinton can't deny that while she was Federal employee, her actions were governed by federal law and what she did was a direct violation of those laws.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes “the odds are pretty high” that Iran, China, or Russia may have hacked Clinton’s server.

Edward Snowden says it’s “ridiculous” to believe Clinton’s emails were safe. In fact, the latest spin about security logs ignores the fact that these logs could have been tampered with, or the fact that hackers could have hacked into Clinton’s server without any record on these logs.

Computer World suggested that Hillary Clinton’s email system was insecure plain vanilla non-encrypted SMTP system for the first two initial months of its existence. That is despite the fact that many of Clinton’s emails were “born classified,” or classified from the start, as stated by the Reuters:

This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be “presumed” classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters.

“It’s born classified,” said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the National Archives and Records Administration...

No matter how you treat Emailgate scandal is clear that Hillary's judgment in setting up a private email server was exceptionally poor. Her main motivation was to avoid public scrutiny of her actions and specifically actions related to Clinton Foundation ("Clinton Cash") with its numerous and very rich foreign donors.

In July 2015, the inspector general of the US intelligence community, Charles McCullough, told Congress she had sent at least four messages that contained information derived from classified material. A month later, Mr. McCullough revealed that two of the emails contained information deemed "top secret" - the highest classification level. By the time the final batch of Clinton emails were released in March 2016, the total number of emails receiving an after-the-fact classified designation had surpassed 2,000.

Some of her personal correspondence were revealed in March 2013 when a confidante, Sidney Blumenthal, had his address compromised by a hacker named Guccifer (later revealed to be a Romanian named Marcel-Lehel Lazar). Although Guccifer only exposed emails Mr. Blumenthal sent to Mrs. Clinton, not her replies, it did reveal the secretary of state's private email address two years before the New York Times made it a national story.

Emails contained on this server included several that were retroactively classified as TOP SECRET. Moreover most the email on this server were secret due to State Department role in government foreign operations

The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and was limited in discussing the contents because of their highly classified nature, was referring to the 22 “TOP SECRET” emails that the State Department announced Friday it could not release in any form, even with entire sections redacted.

The announcement fueled criticism of Clinton’s handling of highly sensitive information while secretary of state, even as the Clinton campaign continued to downplay the matter as the product of an interagency dispute over classification. But the U.S. government official’s description provides confirmation that the emails contained closely held government secrets. “Operational intelligence” can be real-time information about intelligence collection, sources and the movement of assets.

The official emphasized that the “TOP SECRET” documents were sent over an extended period of time -- from shortly after the server's 2009 installation until early 2013 when Clinton stepped down as secretary of state.

Separately, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who sits on the House intelligence committee, said the former secretary of state, senator, and Yale-trained lawyer had to know what she was dealing with.

"There is no way that someone, a senior government official who has been handling classified information for a good chunk of their adult life, could not have known that this information ought to be classified, whether it was marked or not,” he said. "Anyone with the capacity to read and an understanding of American national security, an 8th grade reading level or above, would understand that the release of this information or the potential breach of a non-secure system presented risk to American national security.

Pompeo also suggested the military and intelligence communities have had to change operations, because the Clinton server could have been compromised by a third party."

As National Review reported (nationalreview)

“If there really were SAP [special-access programs] material on her server, consider the implications,” a former U.S. intelligence officer tells me. He refers to the “several dozen” messages marked TOP SECRET/SAP that I. Charles McCullough III, inspector general for the intelligence community, reports were on the private server at Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., 267 miles north of the State Department. Special-access programs are America’s most clandestine activities. Their revelation could damage national security severely and possibly get people killed.

Hillary Clinton Emailed Names of US Intelligence Officials

These are facts.

You can look at the source documents yourself. This is not opinion, conjecture, or rumor. Hillary Clinton transmitted the names of American intelligence officials via her unclassified email.

From a series of Clinton emails, numerous names were redacted in the State Department releases with the classification code “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” a highly specialized classification that means the information, if released, would violate the Central Intelligence Act of 1949 by exposing the names of CIA officials.

How FOIA Works

The Freedom of information Act (FOIA) requires the government to release all, or all parts of a document, that do not fall under a specific set of allowed exemptions. If information cannot be excluded, it must be released. If some part of a document can be redacted to allow the rest of the document to be released, then that is what must be done. Each redaction must be justified by citing a specific reason for exclusion.

But don’t believe me. Instead, look at page two of this State Department document which lists the exemptions.

Note specifically the different types of “(b)(3)” redactions, including “CIA PERS/ORG.” As common sense would dictate, the government will not release the names of CIA employees via the FOIA process. It would — literally — be against the law. What law? Depending on the nature of the individual’s job at CIA, National Security Act of 1947, the CIA Act of 1949, various laws that govern undercover/clandestine CIA officers and, potentially, the Espionage Act of 1917.

Names of CIA, NSA Officials Mentioned, Now Redacted

Yet Hillary’s emails contain at least three separate, specific instances where she mentioned in an unclassified email transmitted across the open Internet and wirelessly to her Blackberry the names of CIA personnel. Here they are. Look for the term “(b)(3) CIA PERS/ORG” Click on the links and see for yourself:

There are also numerous instances of exposure of the names and/or email addresses of NSA employees (“B3 NSA”); see page 23 inside this longer PDF document.

Names of CIA, NSA Officials Mentioned, Now Redacted

Yet Hillary’s emails contain at least three separate, specific instances where she mentioned in an unclassified email transmitted across the open Internet and wirelessly to her Blackberry the names of CIA personnel. Here they are. Look for the term “(b)(3) CIA PERS/ORG” Click on the links and see for yourself:

There are also numerous instances of exposure of the names and/or email addresses of NSA employees (“B3 NSA”); see page 23 inside this longer PDF document.

Why It Matters

  • These redactions point directly to violations of specific laws. It is not a “mistake” or minor rule breaking.
  • These redactions strongly suggest that the Espionage Act’s standard of mishandling national defense information through “gross negligence” may have been met by Clinton.
  • There is no ambiguity in this information, no possible claims to faux-retroactive classification, not knowing, information not being labeled, etc. Clinton and her staff know that one cannot mention CIA names in open communications. It is one of the most basic tenets taught and exercised inside the government. One protects one’s colleagues.
  • Exposing these names can directly endanger the lives of the officials. It can endanger the lives of the foreigners they interacted with after a foreign government learns one of their citizens was talking with the CIA. It can blow covers and ruin sensitive clandestine operations. It can reveal to anyone listening in on this unclassified communication sources and methods. Here is a specific example of how Clinton likely compromised security.
  • These redactions show complete contempt on Clinton’s part for the security process.

BONUS: There is clear precedent for others going to jail for exposing CIA names. Read the story of John Kiriakou.

A Personal Aside: I just remain incredulous about these revelations seeming to mean nothing to the world. They’re treated in the media as almost gossip.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

Was State Department IT aware about existence of the server ?

It looks like State Department IT officials were fully aware about the server existence as some State department equipment such as secure fax were also installed in the basement of her -- NY residence:

Q: Did you ever inform Mr. Mull about Secretary Clinton's e-mail account on the server?

... ... ...

A: I don't remember informing him, but her e-mail account was not -- was not a secret in our in the department, and with senior members of the State Department, so. But I don't remember informing him myself, no.

The role of John Bentel the director of the IRM office for the Executive Secretariat

John Bentel served as the chief of “Information Resource Management” (S/ES-IRM) — essentially, the top official in charge of internal communications, security issues and record-keeping — inside the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, the professional IT support staff for the secretary of state.

He was one of IT senior staff who acted as Hillary Clinton enablers, despite complains of the "rank-and-file" IT staff in his department. Those who raised the question were squashed(Report Concerned State Dept Employees Told to 'Never Speak of' Hillary's Server - Breitbart ).

Two staff in S/ES-IRM reported to OIG that, in late 2010, they each discussed their concerns about Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account in separate meetings with the then-Director of S/ES-IRM. In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements.

According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further.

As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system. According to the other S/ES-IRM staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.

Here is one pretty reveling email that shed some additional light on his role in the whole "Clinton bathroom" server scandal. It looks he acted like Clinton's loyalist and that without his support as the Director of IT this "fait accompli" trick with private email server would be much more difficult to accomplish. His also lies to staffers about whether this setup was approved by legal staff of the State Department.

In the email he sounds extremely accommodating to implicit Hillary Clinton concerns about FOIA searches (scanned from Huma Abedin deposition):

From: Hanley, Monica R
To: Abedin Huma
Subject: Fwd: S berry

[email protected]

------ Original meesage -----
From: Bentel, John A
Sent: Thuesday Augist 20, 2011 04:15 PM
To: Hanley, Monica R
Subject: RE: S berry

Monica: We actually have an account previously set up: [email protected]. There are some old emails
but none since Jan ’11 - we could get rid of them.

You should be aware that any email would go through the Department's Infrastructure and subject to
FOIA searches.

Let me know If any questions and what you would like us to do


Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested that the inspector general’s report show he “muzzled” staffers who warned that Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email system might be in violation of federal record-keeping laws. As Michael Isikoff wrote in his article Senate sleuths focus on ex-State Department aide in Clinton email ‘cover-up’ (Yahoo, May 27, 2016)

In late 2010, according to the inspector general’s report, two staffers inside his office, in separate meetings, raised concerns that Clinton’s private emails could contain government records that needed to be preserved — a standard requirement under a 1950 law known as the Federal Records Act.
One of the staffers told the inspector general that Bentel responded that Clinton’s private email account had been “reviewed and approved by Department legal staff” and “that the matter was not to be discussed any further.” In fact, according to the inspector general’s report, State Department lawyers had never approved Clinton’s use of a private email server for government communications, nor were they ever consulted about it.

The second staffer who raised concerns told the inspector general that Bentel responded that the mission of the office “is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”

“If what these two witnesses said is true, it is an outrage, and it raises a lot of serious questions,” Grassley said in a floor statement about the inspector general’s report on Thursday. “Good and honest employees just trying to do their job were told to shut up and sit down. Concerns about the secretary’s email system being out of compliance with federal record-keeping laws were swept under the rug.”
In an interview with Yahoo News, Douglas Cox, a City University of New York law professor who specializes in the preservation of federal records, said: “That was the most shocking part of the report,” adding, “it shows there was dissent within the State Department precisely by the people responsible for insuring compliance with record-keeping and cyber-security issues — and they were told something that appears not to be true.”

Bentel, who retired from the State Department in December 2012, was questioned in late June 2015 by the House Benghazi Committee and told investigators that he had “no memory or knowledge” of Clinton’s private email server and only learned about it from the newspapers, according to an email that his lawyer,

Like Bryan Pagliano, John Bentel took the fifth (Second State employee refuses GOP questions on Clinton server - POLITICO):

A State Department staffer who oversaw security and technology issues for Hillary Clinton is refusing to answer Senate investigators’ questions about the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server — marking the second time an ex-State employee has declined to talk to lawmakers.

John Bentel, a now-retired State employee who managed IT security issues for the top echelon at the department, declined to be interviewed by GOP staff on the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO.

The chairmen of both committees, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), are now threatening to consider other ways to compel him to discuss the matter.

“We are troubled by your refusal to engage with the committees even after repeated overtures of accommodation,” the letter to Bentel and his lawyer reads. “We need to speak with you. … We would, of course, prefer that you meet with us in a voluntary and informal manner, but we will consider other options if faced with a continuing lack of cooperation.”

Bentel’s lawyer, Randy Turk of Baker Botts in Washington, did not reply to a request for comment, but the recent letter notes that Bentel told House Benghazi investigators last year he did not recall the server matter, according to the Senate letter. And in email correspondence between the panel and Bentel's laywer, which was reviewed by POLITICO, Turk lamented that Bentel had already talked to the House Benghazi panel “about precisely what the committtees’ letter states is the subject of their investigation.”

“Mr Bentel… is understandably not inclined to go through that process again since he has already been questioned at great length about what he knows and what he recalls about that subject,” Turk wrote to Senate investigators in an email last Thursday. "[I]t seems to me that what is really fair here would be for you and the committees to respect Mr Bentel’s decision not to be interviewed a second time about the same subjects he has already been interviewed about at great length."

As Clinton continues battling with Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, this latest missive from Grassley and Johnson shows that the email scandal isn’t going away. Republican investigations into the server will continue through the spring, if not longer, as the FBI conducts its own investigation into whether classified information was mishandled by Clinton’s setup — a probe that is ongoing but could wrap up as soon as this summer. The campaign did not respond to request for comment for this story.

Bentel is now the second former State staffer to decline an interview request from congressional investigators. Last year, Clinton’s top IT staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who personally maintained her server at State, also refused to answer questions. He asserted his Fifth Amendment right before the House Benghazi Committee last September and rebuffed Judiciary and Homeland requests for interviews for their investigations.

Did State Department IT staff understand that Hillary Clinton uses private email address and server for official business ?

The server and her private email address was presented to IT staff as "fait accompli". So it was difficult in a large bureaucratic organization not only question its existence, but also to understand its functionality. Looks like not all IT staff understood the scope of the functionality of the server. Most assume that Hillary clinton is trying to stay in touch with family and friends and sincerely were trying to help her to circumvent State Department rules. Also higher level officials in State Department are serves by a separate ("executives only) branch of IT and this create grounds for favoritism and bending regulations.

For example when technical issues arose on more then one occasion with Hillary Clinton's emails to government officials were picked up by the spam filter on government servers the reaction was to disable State Department spam filter, not to inquire why Hillary Clinton is trying to send emails from her private account to .gov addresses, which would be more logical reaction, if this was not Hillary. And the fact the previous Secretaries of State were also lax with security did not help iether.

Also there were complex questions. From Huma Abedin deposition it looks like there was an attempt to put Hillary of a regular PC but this was abandoned due to the fact that this brilliant graduates of Yale was unable to learn to use how to read email on PC. Talk about competency and flexibility here. This is simply ridiculous to what extent the staff tried to accommodate Hillary Clinton idiosyncrasies (and inability to learn very simple and user friendly technology), because nobody can dare to tell her: "Hillary, iether you communicate like other people in State Department do and learn the technologies and hardware involved (which is not that difficult and we can help), or you might get into big trouble. And your current behaviour would be what is called "career limiting move". Sycophants from her close circle definitely don't.

Here is a fragment from Huma Abedin deposition (what actually closely correlates with deposition of Lewis Alan Lukens (may 16, 2016) and other depositions -- all of them imply that Hillary Clinton was rigid, unable to learn new technology and remarkably entitled to special treatment):

Okay. I'd like to point you to the second e-mail from the top on this document, from you to Secretary Clinton, November 13, 2010, where you state, "We should talk about putting you on State e-mail and releasing your e-mail address to the department so you are not going to spam."

A: I -- I remember looking for solutions whenever there were challenges with our communications. I didn't -- I didn't remember this particular note to her. But this e-mail obviously states that, yes.

Q: And when you say you were looking for solutions to resolve the issues, where were you looking for solutions?

A: As is stated in the e-mail.

It looks that most State Department staffers made an implicit and wrong assumption that this is the server for Hillary Clinton's private emails needs, and her private Blackberry for her private needs despite of signs that this is not true. Some people were just not paying attention to what address they write email to Hillary (very bad quality for any diplomat) some were engaged in butt licking. doe example John Bentel decided to be proactive and warn Hillary Clinton that if she uses her official address her emails would be subject for FOIA request, as if this is not a law:

On Wednesday, the legal advocacy group Judicial Watch published a batch of back-and-forth emails between high-level State Department technical support and Clinton staffers as they tried to fix a serious problem with the secretary’s private home email server.

According to December 2010 emails, one of Clinton's closest aides, Huma Abedin, reported that some people within the State Department, using the domain, were not receiving emails sent from the Clintons’ private server.

“There are many messages and responses not received,” one of the officials, Cindy Almodovar, wrote to S/ES-IRM staff, delivering Huma’s complaint.

Just a month before the email issue arose, in November 2010, Abedin and Clinton discussed that department employees were not receiving emails sent by then-secretary, the newly-released emails indicate.

“We should talk about putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam,” Abedin wrote to Clinton on November 13, 2010.

In response, the secretary wrote: “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal [email address] being accessible.”

Another email shows that John Bentel, then the technical support director, warned Clinton that if she opted to use the official email box, “any email would go through the Department’s infrastructure and subject to FOIA searches.”

After Abedin reported the technical problem, the State Department technical staff suggested that “turning off the anti-spam filter” would resolve the problem.

Deletion of emails fiasco: exposing emails to people without security clearance and destruction of evidence

"Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record keeping system."

CFR provision enacted in 2009

First of all let's clarify one thing: in Hillary's case, I suspect "personal emails" is a euphemism for ANY correspondence she does not want exposed in official governmental records, including that which could be used against her politically in the future, i.e. backroom deals, dubious policies, nefarious schemes, etc. In the coverage below please understand that "private" means "Clinton foundation related".

While normally federal employees can delete personal emails from their mailboxes, then can't do so only if they are not under investigation. “There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server,” attorneys from the Justice Department’s civil division wrote. But again the situation instantly changes as soon as the office holder is under investigation by FBI or Congressional committee as was the case with Clinton:


What rubbish! deleting emails  is tantamount to evidence tampering.. you have no clue what was deleted so how can you say otherwise.. the political cover up begins in earnest..

Actually Clinton was not the first to use this trick. Bush administration pioneered this tactics --  deleting al the email from their private server as well. Approximately 2 million e-mails belonging to the republicans.

 -> Bolen Coogler, 12 Sep 2015 1:04

...(laptops, desktop PC, smartphones, even the old Blackberry text pagers)..."

Sound like déjà vu (all over again). Karl Rove, (or Turd Blossom as George called him) Presidential Senior Advisor and Assistant in addition to 50+ White House staffers using RNC provided PC's and BlackBerries on the RNC servers for email and whatever else. The RNC email policy was to delete every 30 days. Hard to believe that White House staffers were not privy to classified information.

Still the scope of violation for Hillary is different as Hillary did not use official account at all:  

July 23, 2014: Clinton’s associates are given Clinton’s emails so they can begin sorting them.

Unnamed employees at Platte River Networks, the company managing Clinton’s private server, discuss sending copies of Clinton’s emails from when she was secretary of state overnight to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff. A company spokesperson will later confirm that the company did begin sending the emails to Mills around this time. (The Washington Post, 9/22/2015)

This is the same month the State Department first informally requests Clinton’s emails. Mills will be one of three Clinton associates who sort through which emails to turn over and which to delete.

After October 28, 2014: A computer file from Platte River has a key role in how Clinton’s emails are sorted, according to testimony by Cheryl Mills.

On September 3, 2015, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills testified under oath in front of the House Benghazi Committee. After being asked about her role in sorting and deleting Clinton’s emails, Mills says that “after the letter came” from the State Department on October 28, 2014 asking for Clinton’s work-related emails, “Secretary Clinton asked [Clinton’s personal lawyer] David Kendall and myself to oversee a process to ensure that any records that could be potentially work-related were provided to the department.”Mills is asked if she or Kendall were in physical possession of the server at the time.

She replies, “No. … [T]hat server, as I understand it, doesn’t contain any of her records. So we asked Platte River to give us a .pst [computer file] of all of her emails during the tenure where she was there, which they did. And we used that .pst to first search for and set aside all of the records, then to actually do a name search of all of the officials in the department so that we could ensure that all the senior officials that she would likely be corresponding with got looked at and searched for by name, and then a review of every sender and recipient so that you knew, if there was a misspelling or something that was inaccurate, that you would also have that review done, as well. And then that created the body of, I think, about 30,000 emails that ended up being ones that were potentially work-related, and not, obviously, completely, but it was the best that we could do, meaning obviously there were some personal records that are turned over, and the department has advised the Secretary of that.”

Mills further explains that she and Kendall “oversaw the process. The person who actually undertook it is a woman who worked for me.” This woman is another lawyer, Heather Samuelson, who Mills admits doesn’t have any specialized training or skills with the Federal Records Act or identifying official records.

Then Mills is asked what happened to the “universe of the .pst file” after the work-emails had been sorted out.

She replies, “So the potential set of federal records, we created a thumb drive that David Kendall kept at his office. And then the records themselves, that would have been the universe that they sent, Platte River took back. … So they just removed it. So it ended up being on system, and they just removed it. And I don’t know what is the technological way they do it, because it’s a way you have to access it, and then they make it so you can’t access it anymore.”(House Benghazi Committee, 10/21/2015)

In closed door Congressional testimony in September 2015, Mills will reportedly claim that neither she nor Kendall personally went through Clinton’s over 60,000 emails, suggesting that Heather Samuelson, senior advisor to the department, did all the work in determining which of Clinton’s emails to delete. (The New York Times, 9/3/2015) . Long time Hillary loyalist, Samuelson worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, as did Pagliano. She was instrumental in appointing Pagliano in IT department as at the time should headed the State Department’s Office of White House Liaison.

In 2014, Clinton returned at the request of the State Department roughly 32,000 emails from her time in office that she said related to her work as the nation’s top diplomat. At this point she was under multiple investigation, so deletion of the emails from the was highly questionable. What We Know About Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server - The New York Times

As FBI proved later that was not complete set she should return and several thousand emails were conveniently omitted -- which mean they were deleted as "personal". As at this point Clinton was under investigation and formally this represents destruction of evidence. Still she directed her lawyers and staff to use keywords to decide which emails to save and those to delete. It looks like emails were never individually reviewed (  FBI investigation  discovered thousand deleted work related emails, including several with security classification.

Another roughly 30,000 emails, which Clinton misleadingly said contained "only" personal information such as her daughter’s wedding plans and yoga routines, were deleted. As Comey explained Clinton  lawyers  use searches on headers to delete those mails. Search criteria were never made public.  

But then unpleasant facts started to surface. For example there is a drastic discrepancy in the amount of correspondence between Jacob Sullivan and Secretary Clinton (who looks more active) and between Ms. Abedin and Secretary Clinton:

  • [Jacob Sullivan] And just by our count of the records that Secretary Clinton returned, we counted 3,887 e-mails that were sent and 1,412 e-mails that were received.
  • [Ms. Abedin] Ms. Abedin sent 3,000 -- or Mrs. Clinton sent 3,490 e-mails to Mrs. Abedin and Ms. Abedin received 872 e-mails from Secretary Clinton?

So it is clear that iether a large part of correspondence between Ms. Abedin and Ms. Clinton was via private accounts and never was submitted to State Department or they were deleted. As those emails were among those that most probably were intercepted by foreign agencies it is important to recover them.

As Office of the Secretary: Evaluation of Email Records Management and Cybersecurity Requirements proved the Secretary Clinton arbitrary deleted emails from her private server included those that were definitely related to her official activities as the Secretary of State ( May 2016). It explicitly states that Clinton deliberately violated Federal Records Act (which is a crime):

As previously discussed, however, sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their Department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record. Therefore, Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary.98 At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.

NARA agrees with the foregoing assessment but told OIG that Secretary Clinton’s production of 55,000 pages of emails mitigated her failure to properly preserve emails that qualified as Federal records during her tenure and to surrender such records upon her departure. OIG concurs with NARA but also notes that Secretary Clinton’s production was incomplete. For example, the Department and OIG both determined that the production included no email covering the first few months of Secretary Clinton’s tenure—from January 21, 2009, to March 17, 2009, for received messages; and from January 21, 2009, to April 12, 2009, for sent messages. OIG discovered multiple instances in which Secretary Clinton’s personal email account sent and received official business email during this period. For instance, the Department of Defense provided to OIG in September 2015 copies of 19 emails between Secretary Clinton and General David Petraeus on his official Department of Defense email account; these 19 emails were not in the Secretary’s 55,000-page production. OIG also learned that the 55,000-page production did not contain some emails that an external contact not employed by the Department sent to Secretary Clinton regarding Department business.

 Associated Press article makes clear, that Clinton staffers tried to delete all relevant emails to hide real situation with "bathroom server"

Former Secretary Hillary Clinton failed to turn over a copy of a key message involving problems caused by her use of a private homebrew email server, the State Department confirmed Thursday. The disclosure makes it unclear what other work-related emails may have been deleted by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

As Peter Schweizer reported in Politico that (The Strange Gaps in Hillary Clinton’s Email Traffic)

But a numeric analysis of the emails that have been made public, focusing on conspicuous lapses in email activity, raises troubling concerns that Clinton or her team might have deleted a number of work-related emails.

Assuming that it was around 1000 working days during her tenure that means that she should have on average 32 emails per working day. but this was not the case. Large anomalies are symptom of the attempt to hide activities during particular time period and, as such, can be investigated. In this sense Judicial Watch set of lawsuits might be especially damaging for Hillary, including some connected with Huma Abedin:

A conservative legal advocacy group, Judicial Watch, has brought a lawsuit against the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act for records relating to the special employment status of Mrs. Clinton’s top aide at the department, Huma Abedin.

To the extent that the Department retained records of government email accounts, the Department already had copies of all of the Secretary Clinton and her accociates emails to .gov addresses. But emails between accounts on "bathroom server" are out of reach. That means that deletion of those mail from Hillary Clinton mailbox (and Huma Abedin mailbox) can for a long time represent skeleton in the closet for Hillary Clinton. 

It is emails between two personal accounts Clinton and Abedin that, if discovered, can hurt her most if they will be interpreted as the attempts to correct history and avoid embarrassing disclosures. WashPost reported that as of June 2016 it was established that 160 emails are missing from Clinton's disclosure to State related to her communication to Ms. Abedin (The Washington Post)

The group will also receive hundreds of additional pages of emails sent and received by Abedin using a personal email account routed through Clinton’s personal server. Abedin turned those records over to the State Department in 2015, and the department, in turn, is under a court order requiring that they be released to Judicial Watch in monthly batches over the next year. That process could well result in the publication of additional emails that Clinton had not provided to the State Department.

Another conservative group, Citizens United, has also been receiving documents showing how Clinton’s department operated.

On Monday, a judge ordered the State Department to turn over emails from Clinton’s scheduler for the weeks leading up to 14 foreign trips taken while Clinton was in office. The group hopes to use them to show that Clinton met with political donors while overseas and did not record the meetings on official schedules.

Meanwhile, an FBI investigation into the security of Clinton’s email server has yet to be resolved.

Clinton filed a sworn statement to a federal judge certifying that she submitted all emails in her possession that might have been federal records to the State Department in December 2014.

Any attempt to conceal "Clinton cash" related activities is a violation of public trust by a former federal official. There are signs that Clinton Foundation serves ashidden political orgnization for Hillary Clinton (

 "Shadow Political Campaign"
Former Employee - Associate in Little Rock, AR
Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook

I worked at Clinton Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)


Intelligent individuals for the most part.


Revolving door of political surrogates as senior managers who are disorganized and unprofessional. Undue focus on and direct involvement in electoral politics. Good storytelling and Clinton family cult-of-personality used to detract from work that isn't being accomplished or scaled in a substantial way. Toxic culture.

Advice to Management

Decouple the work from electoral politics. Hire competitively on merit, not on previous service to the Clintons.

"Clinton Cash" pattern of "pay for play", donations and speaker fees in exchange to access to Clinton political network (nothing illegal) ...and resulting favors (highly illegal, but difficult to prove), at the expense and security and safety of the American people is shocking, to say the least... Along with mishandling classified information, violating State Department procedures and Federal Record Act (Why Hillary Won’t Be Indicted - Alan Korwin):

Even a cursory glance at statutes Hillary might have violated by deliberately wiping out so many records shows a far darker tale, her 11 hours of congressional testimony exacerbates it because the inconsistencies don’t bode well for her, and the emails revealed so far look very bad.

Go Google “laws Hillary broke,” the legwork has been done for you, it’s serious, not "make-believe".

If we add that the server itself later was wiped clean, her initial explanation was extremely arrogant (As in classic "what, me?" style often used by sociopaths). See Hillary Clinton Private Email Server Was Set Up for Bill - Breitbart, ( March 10, 2015 ):

She explained to reporters that the server was initially set up for former president Bill Clinton for his home office, adding that it was guarded by the Secret Service and had “numerous safeguards.” Clinton said that she chose to work only on private email because she didn’t want to carry two email devices. Clinton again argued that she took the steps necessary to archive her work related emails and deleted her personal emails.

“At the end, I chose not to keep my private, personal e-mails,” she said, asserting that they were about planning her daughter Chelsea’s wedding or making funeral arrangements for her mother, as well as “yoga routines” and “family vacations.” But Clinton left many questions about her emails unanswered, effectively ignoring questions she didn’t like in favor of those that served her purposes. “I feel that I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related e-mails,” she explained, when she was pressed for details. “I’d be happy to have someone talk to you about the rules; I fully complied with every rule I was governed by.” Clinton’s press conference lasted about 21 minutes before she was ushered off the stage.

As one opinion writer noted in The Washington Post

The process by which she made that deletion decision remains fuzzy; it's not clear, for instance, whether anyone ever read all 62,000 of the e-mails she sent on her private address before deleting more than half of them. All we really know is that people being paid by Clinton reviewed -- whether individually or through a series of filtered searches -- all of her e-mails and made a decision that more than 30,000 of them were purely personal.

That's a tough pill to swallow.

According to Wikipedia:

On September 12, 2015, Republican Senators Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson, chairmen of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, respectively, said they will seek an independent review of the deleted emails, if they are recovered from Clinton's server, to determine if there are any government related items among those deleted.[115] The Justice Department (DOJ), on behalf of the State Department has argued that personal emails are not federal records, that courts lack the jurisdiction to demand their preservation, and defended Clinton's email practices in a court filing on September 9, 2015.

DOJ lawyers argued that federal employees, including Clinton, are allowed to discard personal emails provided they preserve those pertaining to public business. "There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server," the DOJ lawyers wrote in their filing.[115]

But the fuzzy and badly controlled environment in which "bathroom mail server" existed everything was a mess and that included handling of backups. The deletion was "outsourced" to Clinton private layers (without any security clearance) and they employ some algorithmic methods of determining which email is work related and which is not (which was wrong from the very beginning). That increases number of counted for which Hillary Clinton can be put in jal. Without Obama pardon (delivered via FBI) just coping email to UCB drives and giving them to lawyers would be enough for the criminal prosecution of the Queen. Stupidity of this move for a person under investigation was incredible, but many things in Hillary Clinton behaviour are incredible. That means that some backups of the server might still survived in Platte River Networks or Datto, despite the direction from Hillary Clinton to delete them after 30 days. The latter directive shows that they were afraid of exposing email more that they care about the preservation of data. Also at some point backups were stored in the cloud due to some error made by backup company named Datto (Security farce at Datto Inc that held Hillary Clinton's emails revealed by Louise Boyle & Daniel Bates) and some snapshots of the server content might survive attempt:

Datto Inc has been revealed to have stored Hillary Clinton's emails - which contained national secrets - when it backed up her private server

  • It claims it runs 'data fortresses' monitored by security 24 hours a day, where only a retinal or palm scan allows access to its facilities
  • But its building in Bern Township, Pennsylvania, doesn't have a perimeter fence or security checkpoints and has two reception areas
  • Dumpsters at the site were left open and unguarded, and loading bays have no security presence
  • Clinton faces first Democratic debate tonight amid falling poll numbers and growing questions

The congressional committee is focusing on what happened to the server after she left office in a controversy that is dogging her presidential run and harming her trust with voters.

In the latest developments it emerged that hackers in China, South Korea and Germany tried to gain access to the server after she left office. It has also been reported that hackers tried to gain access to her personal email address by sending her emails disguised parking violations which were designed to gain access to her computer.

Daily Mail Online has previously revealed how a former senior executive at Datto was allegedly able to steal sensitive information from the company's systems after she was fired.

Hackers also managed to completely take over a Datto storage device, allowing them to steal whatever data they wanted. Employees at the company, which is based in Norwalk, Connecticut, have a maverick attitude and see themselves as 'disrupters' of a staid industry. On their Facebook page they have posed for pictures wearing ugly sweaters and in fancy dress including stereotypes of Mexicans.

Its founder, Austin McChord, has been called the 'Steve Jobs' of data storage and who likes to play in his offices with Nerf guns and crazy costumes. Nobody from Datto was available for comment.

Copying emails to the USB sticks and giving them to her private lawyer

We soon as deletion of email occurred, Hillary Clinton found herself under attack about this questionable act. And as always at first she denied that anything was wrong and she resorted to legal defense. Hillary Clinton’s private lawyer has a thumb drive containing classified information from as many as five U.S. intelligence agencies and Special Access information which formally can be viewed only in specially constructed ands shielded from electronic devices rooms:

November 2013 and December 2014: Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall and his law partner get security clearances, but they probably aren’t valid for the Clinton emails he possesses.
Kendall gets a “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information” (TS/SCI) security clearance from the Justice Department in November 2013. He and his Williams & Connolly law partner Katherine Turner also get a “top secret” clearance from the State Department in December 2014. This is so Kendall can review information related to the House Benghazi Committee’s on-going investigation.

At some point in late 2014, Kendall, Cheryl Mills (Clinton’s chief of staff), and Heather Samuelson (another lawyer) read and sort through all of Clinton’s over 60,000 emails from Clinton’s time as secretary of state. At least 22 of these will later be determined to have contained “top secret” information. Kendall then keeps a copy of over 30,000 of Clinton’s emails, including the 22 top secret ones, in a safe in the office he shares with Turner.

Only in July 2015 will government security officials give him first one safe and then a second more secure safe to hold the thumb drive containing Clinton’s emails, before Kendall gives up the thumb drive in August 2015.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R) will later suggest, “Neither Mr. Kendall nor Ms. Turner have a security clearance at a sufficient level to be a custodian of TS/SCI material. Thus, it appears Secretary Clinton sent TS/SCI material to unauthorized persons.” Politico will later point out, “Clearances, especially Top Secret ones, are normally granted in connection with specific matters and do not entitle recipients to all information classified at that level…” (Politico, 8/25/2015)

Furthermore, Clinton’s emails are handed over to the State Department on December 5, 2014, making it likely that at least some of the time-consuming reading and sorting of 60,000 emails took place prior to the security clearances that were given in November 2014. (The Washington Post, 3/10/2015)

John Schindler, a former NSA counterintelligence official, will later comment, “TS/SCI information must always be placed in a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), a special, purpose-built room designed to protect against physical and electronic intrusion. A full-blown SCIF surely Kendall did not possess. […] Anything less is a clear violation of Federal law. Hillary has placed herself and her attorney in a precarious position here.” (John Schindler, 8/26/2015)

Additionally, it is unknown if Mills and Samuelson, who read and sorted all of Clinton’s emails with Kendall, had the security clearances to do so.

Here the violation of NDA is pretty obvious and taking into account the amount of email we are talking about (30K+) it rise above gross negligence. How after this infraction Clinton can with straight face insist that she went above and beyond the call of duty in terms of releasing her email, complied with all rules, and availed herself of every precautionary step to safeguard government work from the clutches of nefarious parties in an interesting question...

Judge asked to seize USB flash drive containing Hillary Clinton's email TheHill

A federal judge is being asked to seize the USB flash drive that holds copies of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private emails.

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman on Wednesday filed a motion to have a judge take control of the flash drive, which is being held by David Kendall, Clinton’s lawyer, as part of his ongoing racketeering lawsuit against the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

“This court has a responsibility to preserve evidence and must do so to avoid its destruction,” Klayman wrote in the new motion. “Importantly, plaintiff has not requested to see the documents, hard and thumb drives at this time, but simply asked that this court take them into its custody for safekeeping.”

Klayman has claimed that Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by deleting emails and covering up her communications to avoid responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. The missing emails would show how Clinton used waivers and sold her influence in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, he has alleged.

In his Wednesday filing, Klayman noted that the FBI has recently taken an interest in the flash drive — a revelation earlier this week that built on the scrutiny of Clinton’s email practices. Transparency advocates and critics of Clinton have been livid at her use of a personal email address on a private server throughout her term in office.

The FBI investigation is “most remarkable,” Klayman wrote in his filing.

He added that he “would have no objection with the court’s in sharing this documentation and hard and thumb drives with any U.S. government authority that wished to make a copy of them to further the interests of justice and pursuant to the FBI’s criminal investigation of Defendant Hillary Clinton.”

During the daily State Department briefing on Thursday, spokesman Mark Toner reassured reporters that Clinton’s flash drive was safe in her lawyer’s hands.

Clinton has been ordered to preserve the contents on the drive by the House committee investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, he noted, as well as various government inspectors general.

This story is one of the amazing part of emailgate scandal. Here is a good summary from POLITICO

Hillary Clinton’s private lawyer has a thumb drive containing classified information from as many as five U.S. intelligence agencies — but the State Department told POLITICO the law firm is taking “appropriate measures” to secure the files.

The agency declined to detail steps made to protect the sensitive information in attorney David Kendall’s possession, but the issue is raising concern among Republicans on Capitol Hill who’ve criticized Clinton’s handling of the email controversy. The thumb drive has copies of emails Clinton kept on a private server while she served as secretary of state, a trove now known to contain classified documents.

The agency told POLITICO that Clinton “does have counsel with clearance.” Kendall, a prominent Williams & Connolly attorney who defended former CIA director David Petraeus against charges of mishandling classified information, declined to comment.

Clinton’s campaign echoed the State Department.

“The thumb drive is secure,” said Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the Democratic front-runner’s presidential campaign, referring questions to state.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked the FBI to confirm that the thumb drive has been secured.

“This raises very serious questions and concerns if a private citizen is somehow retaining classified information,” Grassley’s said in a letter sent late last week. He asked for more information on Kendall’s clearance and whether the lawyer was authorized to “be the custodian of classified national security information.” The FBI has not yet responded.


Illegal wipeout of the whole server after she was asked to return records to State Department

Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server...

...Not only was the Secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server, ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,"

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the House committee investigating the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi

According to the head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has erased all information from the personal email server she used while serving as the Secretary of State after October 2014, when the State Department asked Clinton to return her official emails to the department :

Gowdy had also asked that Clinton turn over her server to the State Department inspector general for an independent review.

Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, said no.

In his letter to Gowdy, Kendall said the former secretary of state "chose not to keep her non-record personal emails."

"Thus, there are no ... e-mails from Secretary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized," he wrote.

But she "has maintained and preserved copies" of work-related, or potentially work-related emails she turned over to the State Department late last year. Kendall did not specify whether the emails were kept in paper or digital form.

... ... ...

Gowdy said it wasn't clear when Clinton erased the server, but it appears to have been wiped after October 2014, when the State Department asked Clinton to return her official emails to the department.

It is unclear when Hillary Clinton directed their hosting provider to wipe the server clean and charges depend on timing of this decision. The Nixonian scrubbing of the email server, when Clinton knew her work emails were subpoenaed by the House Benghazi committee looks like a criminal offence (Hillary Clinton admits private email server was a mistake)

williamdonovan 8 Sep 2015 17:41

Great now tell it to the Judge. Because as I have stated from the very start these acts were and are Illegal. And Hillary Clinton new it at time she the secret server set up or should have known it.

Title 18, U.S. Code Section 641 - Public Money, Property or Records
793 - Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information
794 - Gathering of Delivering Defense Information to Aid Foreign Govt.
798 - Disclosure of Classified Information
952 - Diplomatic Codes and Correspondence
1905 - Disclosure of Confidential Information
2071 - Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation of Records

Title 50, U.S. Code
Section 783 (b) - Communication of Classified Information by Government Officer or Employee 783(d) - Penalties for Violation

Title 42, U.S. Code
Section 2272 -Violation of Specific Sections
2273 - Violation of General Sections
2274 - Communication of Restricted Data 2275 - Receipt of Restricted Data
2276 - Tampering With Restricted Data 2277 - Disclosure of Restricted Data

Mark Forrester 9 Sep 2015 06:38

More than a mistake I'm afraid. At best it is a career ending error of judgment. At worst a deliberate and cynical attempt to maintain personal control of data so none of it could come back to damage her presidential campaign. Anyway, she should be finished.

David Egan 8 Sep 2015 18:15

What gets me about this whole issue is the fact that she is still maintaining that "she did what was allowed" which is a bold faced lie!!! All she is doing right now is continuing to "circle her wagons" around this issue.... I'll bet right now she is trying to figure out how to bribe Pagliano to take the fall for her, stating that she knew nothing about what he did to maintain her ILLEGAL email account. They both knew it was ILLEGAL!!! Clinton and Pagliano should be brought up on charges, the sooner the better!!

Her utter contempt for the investigation makes me laugh, she really thinks she did nothing wrong, and to say something as totally ignorant like "It was allowed by the State Dept. and the State Department CONFIRMED that" is beyond belief and borderlines the definition of psychosis. The State Department is actively investigating Shrillary and her accomplice Bryan Pagliano. I'll bet Pagliano goes to prison.....Any takers?

zyxzyxzyx 8 Sep 2015 18:05

Snowden on Clinton:

If an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency were sending details about the security of embassies, meetings with private government officials, foreign government officials and the statements were made over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their jobs and lose their clearance, they would very likely face prosecution for it. (condensed quotation)

... ... ...

And another comment form Guardian (US government finds top secret information in Clinton emails )

Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 20:57

In Section 7 of her NDA, Clinton agreed to return any classified information she gained access to, and further agreed that failure to do so could be punished under Sections 793 and 1924 of the US Criminal Code.

According To § 793 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who willfully retains, transmits or causes to be transmitted, national security information, can face up to ten years in prison.

According To § 1924 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who removes classified information " with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location," can face up to a year in prison.

The agreement considers information classified whether it is "marked or unmarked."

According to a State Department regulation in effect during Clinton's tenure (12 FAM 531), "classified material should not be stored at a facility outside the chancery, consulate, etc., merely for convenience."

Additionally, a regulation established in 2012 (12 FAM 533.2) requires that "each employee, irrespective of rank must certify" that classified information "is not in their household or personal effects."

As of December 2, 2009, the Foreign Affairs Manual has explicitly stated that "classified processing and/or classified conversation on a PDA is prohibited."

dusablon 29 Jan 2016 19:28

Classified material in the US is classified at three levels: confidential, secret, and top secret. Those labels are not applied in a cavalier fashion. The release of TS information is considered a grave threat to the security of the United States.

Above these classification levels is what is as known as Special Access Program information, the release of which has extremely grave ramifications for the US. Access to SAP material is extremely limited and only granted after an extensive personal background investigation and only on a 'need to know' basis. You don't simply get a SAP program clearance because your employer thinks it would be nice to have, etc. In fact, you can have a Top Secret clearance and never get a special access program clearance to go with it.

For those of you playing at home, the Top Secret SAP material Hillary had on her server - the most critical material the US can have - was not simply 'upgraded' to classified in a routine bureaucratic exercise because it was previously unclassified.

Anything generated related to a SAP is, by it's mere existence, classified at the most extreme level, and everyone who works on a SAP knows this intimately and you sign your life away to acknowledge this.

What the Feds did in Hillary's case in making the material on her home-based server Top Secret SAP was to bring those materials into what is known as 'accountability .'

That is, the material was always SAP material but it was just discovered outside a SAP lock-down area or secure system and now it must become 'accountable' at the high classification level to ensure it's protected from further disclosure.

Hillary and her minions have no excuse whatsoever for this intentional mishandling of this critical material and are in severe legal jeopardy no matter what disinformation her campaign puts out. Someone will or should go to prison. Period.

(Sorry for the length of the post)

chiefwiley -> DoktahZ 29 Jan 2016 19:18

The messages were "de-papered" by the staff, stripping them from their forms and headings and then scanning and including the content in accumulations to be sent and stored in an unclassified system. Taking the markings off of a classified document does not render it unclassified. Adding the markings back onto the documents does not "declare" them classified. Their classified nature was constant.

If you only have an unsecured system, it should never be used for official traffic, let alone classified or special access traffic.

dusablon -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 19:05

Give it up.

She used a private server deliberately to avoid FOIA requests, she deleted thousands of emails after they were requested, and the emails that remained contained Top Secret Special Access Program information, and it does not matter one iota whether or not that material was marked or whether or not it has been recently classified appropriately.

chiefwiley -> Exceptionalism 29 Jan 2016 19:04

18USC Section793(f)

$250,000 and ten years.

dusablon -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 19:00


Anything related to a special access program is classified whether marked as such or not.

am3456 29 Jan 2016 18:32

Just to be clear, Colin Powell used a private email ACCOUNT which was hosted in the cloud and used it only for personal use. He was audited (never deleted anything) and it was found to contain no government records.

Hillary used a server, which means in electronic form the documents existed outside the State Department unsecured. Its as if she took a Top Secret file home with her. That is a VERY BIG mistake and as the Sec of State she signed a document saying she understood the rules and agreed to play by them. She did not and removing state secrets from their secure location is a very serious matter. Whether you put the actual file in your briefcase or have them sitting in electronic version on your server.

Second, she signed a document saying she would return any and ALL documents and copies of documents pertaining to the State Department with 30 (or 60 I can't remember) of leaving. The documents on her server, again electronic copies of the top secret files, where not returned for 2 years. That's a huge violation.

Finally, there is a clause in classification that deals with the information that is top secret by nature. Meaning regardless of whether its MARKED classified or not the very nature of the material would be apparent to a senior official that it was classified and appropriate action would have to be taken. She either knew and ignored or did not know...and both of those scenarios don't give me a lot of confidence.

Finally the information that was classified at the highest levels means exposure of that material would put human operatives lives at risk. Something she accused Snowden of doing when she called him a traitor. By putting that information outside the State Department firewall she basically put peoples lives at risk so she could have the convenience of using one mobile device.

Wallabyfan -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 18:10

Sorry you can delude yourself all you like but Powell and Cheney used private emails while at work on secure servers for personal communications not highly classified communications and did so before the 2009 ban on this practice came into place . Clinton has used a private unsecured server at her home while Sec of State and even worse provided access to people in her team who had no security clearance. She has also deleted more than 30,000 emails from the server in full knowledge of the FBI probe. You do realise that she is going to end up in jail don't you?

Talgen -> Exceptionalism 29 Jan 2016 17:50

Department responses for classification infractions could include counseling, warnings or other action, officials said. They wouldn't say if Clinton or senior aides who've since left government could face penalties. The officials weren't authorized to speak on the matter and demanded anonymity."

You need to share that one with Petraeus, whos career was ruined and had to pay 100k in fines, for letting some info slip to his mistress..

Wallabyfan 29 Jan 2016 17:50

No one here seems to be able to accept how serious this is. You cant downplay it. This is the most serious scandal we have seen in American politics for decades.

Any other US official handling even 1 classified piece of material on his or her own unsecured home server would have been arrested and jailed by now for about 50 years perhaps longer. The fact that we are talking about 20 + (at least) indicates at the very least Clinton's hubris, incompetence and very poor judgement as well as being a very serious breach of US law. Her campaign is doomed.

This is only the beginning of the scandal and I predict we will be rocked when we learn the truth. Clinton will be indicted and probably jailed along with Huma Abedin who the FBI are also investigating.

In general, Hillary decision to wipe out the server can lead to two charges:

The key question is when said server wipe out took place. This appears to have taken place after the first request for her emails had come in, which means that Clinton may well be guilty of destruction of evidence. Gowdy also said that while it's "not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department." (IRS Scandal Deja Vu Hillary Clinton's Email Server Wiped Clean)

In her typical manner Hillary tried to brush over this unpleasant and potentially criminal action (abcnews). Note the cynicism of her reply:

Hillary Clinton joked to reporters Tuesday in Las Vegas about whether she "wiped" her email server clean before giving it to the FBI.

“What? Like with a cloth or something?” she asked, then laughed. “I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”

Connections between "Clinton cash" scandal and emailgate scandal

Probably the most damaging for her version that she set up the server for "convenience" are connections of her emails activities with "Clinton cash" scandal. This is what RICO law is about.

Normally any politician would be facing indictment for exchanging favorable treatment from the U.S. State Department for donations to the family’s foundation, unless her name wasn’t Hillary Clinton. And the attempt to conceal those evidence was probably the key reason of deleting so many emails. You don’t have to be able to prove quid pro quo for alarm bells to ring:

“It is clear and federal law. If it wasn’t Hillary Clinton, this would clearly be a federal offense.

“They took money from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State. That is clearly illegal. It’s dangerous to America to have foreign governments get in the habits of bribing people who happen to be the husband of the Secretary of State or the next President.”

The former first couple has come under scrutiny over the past week in advance of the new book “Clinton Cash,” which takes a look at the foreign donations made to the Clinton Foundation. In May 2016, a film adaptation of the book, funded by Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. The film's U.S. premiere is scheduled for July 24 in Philadelphia (ahead of the 2016 Democratic National Convention there) and the film will have a limited release in four other major U.S. cities in early August.

Drudge and Breitbart both post some damaging documents on their web sites showing how the Clinton Foundation was as close to a "pay for play" criminal enterprise as one can get. And the conditions Hillary demanded for her speeches including a G450 Private Jet or better. Emails also exposed her connections to financial industry:

Voters should understand that scandals are part of the package when they make a Clinton president. And it’s not because their enemies are any more dedicated to their destruction than were those of George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

It’s because the Clintons are greedy and unethical. They have mastered the art of using public service for personal enrichment, have marketed his presidency and exploited her cabinet post to become filthy rich, and believe they are above the law. And experience suggests they are.

The latest example is classic Clinton, complete with crony capitalism, the leverage of influence, redefining the rules and the requisite rumors of an affair, this one with a Metro Detroit connection.

The Wall Street Journal detailed a $2 million transaction by the Clinton Global Initiative, an arm of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, that funneled the charity’s money to an energy company owned by a group of their well-heeled friends, including Julie Tauber McMahon, daughter of Joel Tauber, wealthy Oakland County businessman and huge Democratic fundraiser.

The CGI gave the money to Energy Pioneer Services to weatherize the homes of low-income families. Clinton also personally intervened with former Energy Secretary Steven Chu to secure an $812,000 grant for the company.

The Journal suggests the commitment from CGI is crosswise with IRS rules, which prohibit charities from operating for the benefit of private interests.

The article comes just ahead of the theatrical release of “Clinton Cash,” a movie made from the book of the same name by journalist Peter Schweizer. The documentary explores how the Clintons went from leaving the White House in 2000 deeply in debt to a fortune of more than $130 million today.

Schweizer traces the millions of dollars Bill Clinton received in speaking fees — as well as the massive donations to the foundation — from foreign countries with business before the State Department while his wife was secretary of state. The book and film contend those donors often were rewarded by favorable decisions from Hillary Clinton.

Read the rest here.

The Catch 22 world of large Washington bureaucracies

It looks like Washington in general and State Department in particular resembles military bureaucracies to a T (Catch-22 Themes by LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes): 

The novel also offers a commentary on the absurdity of war, and of the bureaucracies wars create. For example: Major Major appears to have been promoted to his position simply because of his name, not his aptitude, and he remains in this position while doing nothing. The chaplain’s assistant, Whitcomb, is an atheist who will carry out none of his superior’s directives out of a desire to ascend to the role of chaplain himself. Scheisskopf, whose only military skill is a love of organizing parades, is promoted to general, and eventually outranks even Dreedle and Peckem. The CID men dispatched to investigate mail-tampering and forgery eventually settle on the chaplain as the culprit—even when the chaplain’s handwriting doesn’t match the letters’, he is still suspected. Major Sanderson, the staff psychiatrist, uses his sessions with Yossarian to expound on his own neuroses and paranoia. And Milo uses military men and material to serve his own economic interests, even going so far as to aid the Germans to broaden his market.

These are examples of the comic dimension of military bureaucracy: Heller does an exquisite job of sending up the Army’s absurdity. But there is also a tragic dimension. Cathcart’s insistence on continued missions leads to dangerous flights over unnecessary targets, and encourages the slaughter of innocent civilians. These missions result in the death of many characters, including Nately, Clevinger, and Havermeyer. The military makes Dunbar “disappear” for his insubordination. And many officers insist on continued air strikes even after the outcome of the war tilts decidedly in the Allies’ favor. These officers, including Peckem, Dreedle, Korn, and Cathcart, are more concerned about their own promotions and recognition than about the lives of their men or of civilians on the ground. Thus the initially comic nature of military bureaucracy obscures the selfishness, narrow-mindedness, and cruelty of many officials that seems to be the product of that bureaucracy.

Here are some illuminating quotes:

  • “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
    ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • “Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.”
    ― Joseph Heller
  • “Insanity is contagious.”
    ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • “[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”
    ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • “It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”
    ― Joseph Heller, Catch 22

President Obama and top White House staff become aware that Clinton is using a private email address, but ignore the problem

In June 2009, top Obama strategist David Axelrod corresponds with Clinton at her private email address. On September 5, 2009, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel asks Clinton aide Huma Abedin for Clinton’s email address and is given it. President Obama also occasionally emails Clinton. However, Obama will later claim that he was unaware Clinton was using a private server, and no evidence has yet emerged that anyone else in the White House knew about the server. (The Associated Press, 6/30/2015)

Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility in action: existance of the server became known for top staff in many US agencies but nobody raised an alarm

The four years undisturbed existence of the Shadow IT email server in the atmosphere of security paranoia in the US agencies is the most bizarre and unexplainable event. Almost taken from the pages of The Good Soldier Svejk.

The role of Obama as her supervisor is unclear here. As Hillary Clinton email correspondent he implicitly "blessed" such a gross and dangerous violation of State Department policies. And he did communicated with Hillary Clinton using this private address. So the role of Obama in this scandal is not completely hidden. He is definitely one of negligent parties.

the same is true about top official of such agencies as CIA (general David Petraeus definitely corresponded with her during Benhazi events) and NSA. How CIA staff could miss the fact that she does not use official email address of the State Department for official business. And where was NSA? Where was White house IT security staff ? All those agencies have IT departments with security staff, so a part of the puzzle is why nobody, absolutely nobody paid attention to it, and everybody corresponded with Hillary...

It looks like most of what was necessary for the initial establishment of the server was achieved via classic "Fait Accompli " trick used by Mrs. Clinton.

Still typically all IT infrastructure of the Department is periodically scanned by security scanners and the private network of the Secretary of state home residence is no exception. Scanning home network of key officials is just due diligence ("due to the idea of the "weakest link"). By statute State Department IT security should report about any "rogue" server they detected on such networks to FBI. The question arise how this information was blocked and by whom?

Not reporting of "rogue" server looks like signing suicide pact by whole State Department IT security team. As there are disclosed emails that deal with problem with blocking by the spam filter of Hillary Clinton's emails from her private server, we can assume that State Department helpdesk analysts also knew about the existence and location of the server as well as the fact that Clinton uses private address (that's why some of her emails were blocked). They did opened a ticket about problem of blocking emails from "bathroom server" by TrendMicro and worked on the case, providing some recommendations.

Even if we assume that Hillary behaved like a quasi-Queen and as such she represented the law by herself, things start to looks really strange at this point. The security of State Department should be on similar level with the security of CIA (and probably should be managed in close cooperation with NSA specialists) because boundaries between diplomacy and intelligence collections are now blurred, especially due to State Department involvement in multiple color revolutions, where its staff played role traditionally belonging to CIA. Why in such semi-military atmosphere nobody raised the question why such a "rogue" server existed? If we assume that each embassy should have their own IT infrastructure that includes a mail server, why, at least, this strange setup was not treated as "yet another embassy" as all standards used for such embassy servers (which BTW sometimes operates in "hostile" environment) were not also applicable to this particular server?

Moreover Hillary Clinton herself fired a top diplomat over use of private email for official business (Hillary's State Dept. Forced Out An Ambassador For Using Private Email):

Although Hillary Clinton and her allies may be claiming that her private e-mail system is no big deal, Hillary’s State Department actually forced the 2012 resignation of the U.S. ambassador to Kenya in part for setting up an unsanctioned private e-mail system. According to a 2012 report from the State Department’s inspector general, former U.S. ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration set up a private e-mail system for his office in 2011.

The inspector general’s report offered a scathing assessment of Gration’s information security practices — practices that are eerily similar to those undertaken by Clinton while she served as Secretary of State:

Very soon after the Ambassador’s arrival in May 2011, he broadcast his lack of confidence in the information management staff. Because the information management office could not change the Department’s policy for handling Sensitive But Unclassified material, he assumed charge of the mission’s information management operations. He ordered a commercial Internet connection installed in his embassy office bathroom so he could work there on a laptop not connected to the Department email system. He drafted and distributed a mission policy authorizing himself and other mission personnel to use commercial email for daily communication of official government business. During the inspection, the Ambassador continued to use commercial email for official government business. The Department email system provides automatic security, record-keeping, and backup functions as required. The Ambassador’s requirements for use of commercial email in the office and his flouting of direct instructions to adhere to Department policy have placed the information management staff in a conundrum: balancing the desire to be responsive to their mission leader and the need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards. The Ambassador compounded the problem on several occasions by publicly berating members of the staff, attacking them personally, loudly questioning their competence, and threatening career-ending disciplinary actions. These actions have sapped the resources and morale of a busy and understaffed information management staff as it supports the largest embassy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The inspector general’s report specifically noted that Gration violated State Department policy by using a private, unsanctioned e-mail service for official business. In its executive summary listing its key judgments against the U.S. ambassador to Kenya who served under Hillary Clinton, the inspector general stated that Gration’s decision to willfully violate departmental information security policies highlighted Gration’s “reluctance to accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions.” The report claimed that this reluctance to obey governmental security policies was the former ambassador’s “greatest weakness.”

Criticisms of Gration came from both sides of the political aisle. Liberal commentators took him to task for jeopardizing American security by insisting on the use of a private e-mail system. A 2012 dispatch from The New Republic about Gration’s resignation specifically noted that Gration’s e-mail gambit “put classified information about the U.S.’s operations in East Africa at a higher risk for exposure”:

Over the objections of State Department officials, Gration insisted on doing business on his personal laptop and through his Gmail account, according to the former officer. This put classified information about the U.S.’s operations in East Africa at a higher risk for exposure—consider an incident in June 2011, when hackers in China broke into numerous Gmail accounts belonging to senior U.S. officials. (China, for what it’s worth, has an enormous presence in East Africa.)

In a report filed shortly after his resignation, the Washington Post also recounted Gration’s myriad security violations as U.S. ambassador, noting that Gration had “repeatedly violated diplomatic security protocols at the embassy by using unsecured Internet connections.”

The New York Times wrote that Gration “preferred to use Gmail for official business and set up private offices in his residence — and an embassy bathroom — to work outside the purview of the embassy staff.”

The Associated Press found that Clinton’s private e-mails were “traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York.”

Hillary Clinton and her team have thus far remained quiet about the security and encryption standards employed on her private e-mail server. However, at least one person who e-mailed Clinton using her private address was hacked in 2012 by a pseudonymous hacker known only as Guccifer. That hack was the first time Hillary’s secret private e-mail address was revealed to the public.

Although Clinton claimed on Twitter last evening that she “want[s] the public to see my e-mail,” she is yet to explain why to deliberately took steps for years to hide her e-mail from the public for years.

To date, neither she nor her team have released any e-mails that she sent or received while serving as U.S. Secretary of State.

We do not know answers to those questions.

It might well be that NSA played some hidden role. Formally NSA is the agency responsible for NSA for protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare. And the mail server of the Secretary of State is an important part of government communications. And here we have a "bathroom server" that operated for almost five years (if we assume that it was wiped clean in late October 2015) and was shipped from home to some "mom-and-pop" shop . Moreover NSA was contacted by Hillary aides about limitation of her blackberry (she wanted the same "special" NSA modified Blackberry as the President, but for some bureaucratic reason she was refused) , so they probably should have some information about the strange fact that the Secretary of State uses retail version of Blackberry, and not the Blackberry smartphone issued by the State Department. Or may be that took actions based on this information. In any case here is what NSA is responsible for (form Wikipedia)

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States government, responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes -- a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA's programs rely on "passive" electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass "close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering".[14][15]

Another strange thing is that after leaving the agency the server remained in Hillary possession and no attempts were made to move it into State Department. In this sense Hillary attempt to delete "sensitive" (pretending that they are private) emails was possible only because of that. And this situation is just another sign of complete unprofessionalism. Either Hillary Clinton has such a political power within the White House that nobody, not even Obama, can't resist her requests and State Department security team was coerced, or State Department security team is extremely weak and unprofessional to the point of being irrelevant.

Of course, she never sought approval from senior information officers, who would have refused the request because of security risks. But the whole IT department was definitely aware about its existence. The only plausible assumption that they did not suspect that she used the server for internal State department emails and assumed that this server is used only for private emails. but a simple check of content of her official mailbox would suffice to disprove that.

So while this hypothesis is possible but this also presupposes that she never emails anybody within the department and communicated with them only via her close aide Huma Abedin, who has both State department email address and account of Clinton private email server. She also has an official Blackberry issued by the state department. It also does not explain how top secret emails landed on her account unless again they were all retyped by aides (or in some way reentered from a secure email system by a human). The State Department two separate email system, one for classified mails and the other for a regular one. In order for a email from classified email system to get into "bathroom server" used by Hillary you need a human as an intermediary (or a complex scripts that used powerful character recognition software as the first step).

As MSM reported Hillary Clinton's email server violated state department rules, audit finds

May 25, 2016 |

Although the report is potentially less damaging than a separate investigation by the FBI into whether she broke federal laws, it poses a significant challenge to the Clinton campaign, which has recently slipped behind Donald Trump in opinion polling .

... ... ...

...the full report, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press (AP), cites "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" related to the agency's communications. These started before Clinton's appointment as secretary of state, but her failures were singled out as more serious and were said to disregard various state department guidelines for avoiding cybersecurity risks.

... OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton's personal system."

Despite guidelines to the contrary, Clinton used mobile devices to conduct official business on her personal email account and private server. She never sought approval from senior information officers, who would have refused the request because of security risks, the audit said.

... ... ...

Clinton's private email server appears to have been a target for hackers. The IG report found that on 9 January 2011, a technical adviser retained by former president Bill Clinton said he had shut down the server because he thought there was "someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didn't [sic] want to let them have the chance to". There was another suspected attack later the same day. On 10 January, Clinton's aide Huma Abedin told officials not to send her "anything sensitive" and said she could "explain more in person".

The IG report states that on 13 May 2011, "two of Secretary Clinton's immediate staff discussed via email the Secretary's concern that someone was 'hacking into her email' after she received an email with a suspicious link". It added: "However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department."

Incompetence of large bureaucracies: it looks like this event was taken directly from the world-famous novel The Good Soldier Svejk

The discovery of this this strange arrangement and the existence of the "bathroom email server" was purely accidental because of the hack of Sidney Blumenthal account and the activities of House committee on Benghazi (

This committee is the first committee, the only committee, to uncover the fact that Secretary Clinton exclusively used personnel e-mail on her own personal server for official business and kept the public record, including e-mails about Benghazi and Libya, in her own custody and control for almost two years after she left office.

You had an unusual e-mail arrangement which meant the State Department could not produce your e-mails to us. You made exclusive use of personal e-mail and a personal server. And when you left the State Department, you kept the public record to yourself for almost two years. And it was you and your attorneys who decided what to return and what to delete. Those decisions were your decisions, not our decisions. It was only in March of this year we learned of this e-mail arrangement. And since we learned of this e-mail arrangement, we have interviewed dozens of witnesses, only one of whom was solely related to your e-mail arrangement. And that was the shortest interview of all, because that witness invoked his fifth amendment privilege against incrimination.

The scandal portrays the US government including State Department IT security, White House IT security, and NSA as completely dysfunctional. Something along the lines of Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility. May be because of Hillary explosive character and political weight. Or may be because infrastructure became too complex to secure and that was a needle in hey. Difficult to find (although security of communicating of high level officials were a always a priority, even of large corporation level, to say nothing about the US government) for any IT security department. Internal State Department security probably was simply afraid of consequences of confronting Hillary. Just just imagine how IT security could have approached the Queen, protected by her bees. Every IT security officer who discovered Hillary Clinton "bathroom server" and private email address was probably too scared for their careers to speak out about it. Hillary legendary ruthlessness and lack of manners in her tantrums is well known (Daily Mail Online):

Byrne claims that she once threw a Bible at a Secret Service agent on her protection team, hitting him squarely in the back of the head.

While he rarely saw Mr Clinton get angry, Byrne says the First Lady was over-indulged by ‘doting, barely post-adolescent’ staff and was prone to ‘massive tantrums’. Some agents ‘literally went mad’ from the stress of protecting her, he claims, turning to alcohol, drugs, office affairs and even prostitutes.

‘I always avoided eye contact when she was on the warpath,’ he says. She would ‘explode in my face without reservation or decorum’, he recalls.

Also the Department was a fast page place preoccupied with other problems. All those factors allowed the "bathroom server" to fly under the radar with only light cover from selected Clinton loyalists in the IT department (we know about just one). Here is an interesting fragment from Videotaped Deposition of Lewis Alan Lukens, the official to whom John Bentel reported (

Q: Does that report -- does the director of S/ES-IRM report to a deputy executive secretary?
A: He reported to me. That was the communications office that I referenced.
Q Okay. Thank you. And what was the role of IRM? If you could talk a little bit more about communications.
A: The role of our IRM office was to liaise with the State Department's bigger IRM office to ensure that the State Department leadership and their staff had the communications tools that they needed to do their jobs.
Q And in 2009, how large was that staff within your office?
A: Roughly 20, 25 people.
Q: Okay. And who was the director of IRM?
A: John Bentel.
... ... ...
Q: While preparing for the transition, who would be in charge of setting up e-mail accounts for incoming employees or incoming secretaries and employees within the Office of the Secretary?
A: That would be the IRM office that worked for me.
Q: Do you know if Mrs. Clinton -- if the IRM office set up an e-mail address for Mrs. Clinton?
A: I don't believe they did.
Q: Do you know why they didn't?
A: I don't think it was asked for.
Q: Would Mrs. Clinton have -- was it required for Mrs. Clinton to ask for an e-mail address for one to be assigned to her?
A: Yes.
Q: Was it unusual -- at the time did you think it was unusual that Mrs. Clinton didn't want an e-mail address assigned to her?
A: No.
Q: Why not?
A: I'm not aware of former Secretaries of State having e-mail addresses on our system.
Q: Do you know if any other employees within the Office of the Secretary was not assigned an e-mail address?
A: Not that I'm aware of.

And from Stephen D. Mull deposition:

A: Responsible for providing information management support for State Department principals, principally through the POEMS electronic mail system.

Q: And what does POEMS stand for, if you recall?

A: Principal officers electronic mail system.

... ... ...

Q: Okay. And [IRM] that's a separate office from a general IT office within the Department of State?

A: Yes.

Q Okay. And that office, there's an IRM office for the State Department generally? Is that correct?

... ... ...

Q: Did you communicate via e-mail with Ms. Abedin while you were Executive Secretary?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you know what e-mail addresses you used to conduct those communications?

A: I -- I can't recall. Typically I would type her name into the e-mail form, and -- I don't know what the exact e-mail address was.

Q: When you receive e-mails, do you usually look at who else receives the e-mails along with you? Do you look at the -- the "from" line, the "to" line, the "cc" line when reviewing e-mails?

A: It depends on when -- when I receive it. The Executive Secretariat was a very fast-paced operation. I, of course, concentrated on the "from" line. Sometimes I would look at who was copied; sometimes not.

... ... ...

Q: Great. In this paragraph it states that "The director stated that the Secretary's personal system had been reviewed and approved by department legal staff and that the matter was not to be 12:30:43 discussed any further." Did you ever speak to the director of S/ES-IRM about Mrs. Clinton's personal system having been reviewed and approved by department legal staff?

A: Not that I recall, no.

Q: Did you speak to anybody within the department about whether Mrs. Clinton's personal system had been reviewed and approved by the department legal staff? 1

A: Not that I recall.

Q: Do you know if Mrs. Clinton's personal system had been reviewed and approved by department legal staff?

A I don't know.

Q Okay. Did you -- do you know, did you have any discussions with the director about his instructions to staff not to discuss the matter any further?

A: I'm not aware. I don't recall any such conversation.

Q: And -- and just to confirm, the director of S/ES-IRM was Mr. Bentel?

A Yes. At that time.

... ... ...

Q: If you had known that Mrs. Clinton was using e-mail account to conduct official government business, would you have 13:07:20 13 instructed her not to do so?

MR. MYERS: Objection. Vague, calls for speculation.

Q You may answer the question.

A I typically avoided instructing Secretaries of State to do anything. But if I had become aware, if I were aware that any Secretary of State while I was serving as Executive Secretary were not aware of responsibilities, I -- I would have taken steps within my power to inform them of that.

This problems with large bureaucracies is far from new and now amount of regulations and cases like Hillary emailgate can change that, although the latter provide strong temporary effect that gradually dissipates.

Some details of the scandal remind me pages of the world-famous novel The Good Soldier Svejk. The more I look into facts and personalities surrounding this case, the more surreal is the level of Clinton incompetence, arrogance and entitlement. The more bizarre a "bathroom mail server" setup appears and more logical is the fact that it was not eliminated during her tenure is. There were no so to speak "countervailing forces" and within the Department itself FOIA request were not viewed too favorably (especially those that are related to high level executives) , despite the fact that they provide kind of democratic control over executive branch.

The reason they gave: that people did not pay attention to what email address they are sending their emails (at several of officials pretended in depositions) is most probably bogus. Diplomats should probably be better then that; sending email to a wrong address (which happens in a corporate environment and in Gmail pretty often du to large number of similar addresses) can have devastating consequences for each of them :-). But it is now quite clear why she did not require any authorization. She was authorization by herself. Like in "I am the king, I am the law".

So the reaction of readers of initial bomb-shell NYT article (NYT, March 2, 2015) was very pointed: it is handling classified information that is the real key issue in emailgate. And it was Hillary herself with her tremendous sense of entitlement, who created this problem. Also there was an oversight in Exchange configuration: it should treat .gov addresses like is the case now, but all other addresses should be treated and marked in email differently, much like safe and unsafe sites in Web browsers ("Are you really want to send email to this address"). Exchange client is highly configurable:

John, Seattle March 2, 2015

While this article is written largely about the risk of not having a historical record or her emails, the security issues are far more concerning to me, as well as an overall lack of judgment. My job involves far less sensitive information than the Secretary of State deals with, yet I would never send work-related information from my personal account.

JustAnotherNewYorker, New York March 2, 2015

I'm trying to understand how no one who received an email from her or sent one to her in the 4 years she was SOS ever noticed that the address she was using was not a .gov address and said something? She must have had correspondence with at least one Republican member of Congress, no? One person who knew regulations?

It's really interesting that this situation was not noticed and corrected for the full four years while Hillary Clinton was in office. That's simply amazing.

If we are talking about Hillary Clinton side of the story, then on the forefront comes huge, almost sociopathic level of entitlement. Her behaviour is marked by a clear attitude of impunity. Which probably led to one of most damaging breaches of security of the US government information for four years in a row. In a way Hillary was a Trojan Horse inside Department of State in a very real sense of the this term. As for the possible damage from possible "on the fly" access to her communications for four years, Chelsea Manning was an amateur in comparison. His disclosure of State Department mails was about the past activities. Also possible "real time" access to Hillary Clinton email by foreign intelligence agencies did not have the same positive effect as revelation of neocon dominance in the US foreign policy thanks to Chelsea Manning revelations.

Judging from the now famous email that reveals the technical level and Justin Cooper approach to troubleshooting of cases of suspected intrusion of the email server of the US Secretary of State (from Huma Abedin deposition) the server itself was not even marginally secure against foreign intelligence agencies.

From: Justin Cooper . (RELEASE IN FULL)

To: Abedin, Huma

Date: Sunday, January 09, 2011 2:57:19 AM

I had to shut down the server

Someone was trying to hack us and while they did not-get in i didn't want to let them have the chance to.

I will restart It in the morning.

Again, there is an evidence that the server itself was not even marginally secure against foreign intelligence agencies. While it helps to have a system administrator who's really on top of the game, no single person can master the complex maze of interrelationships between various setting, various components, you name it. The complexity of the OS and Exchange is far beyond mere mortal capabilities. But if you unable to fight off a group of dedicated highly technically proficient hackers, especially with deep knowledge of Windows and Exchange internals and access to zero day exploits (like NSA in the USA) you can at least record unusual activities via network IDS and systematic analysis of logs. We do not sew any signs that this were done, but we know very little about the actual setup of the server.

In any case this scandal might have a tremendously positive effect of State Department bureaucracy as the first instinct of any bureaucracy is not performance of task in question, but self-preservation. Now that requires higher levels of diligence as nobody want to go through grilling that hits about their incompetence. The grilling that several former officers of the agency went during their depositions. And even few people what for find themselves in really dangerous situations of Bryan Pagliano or John Bendel.

FBI coverup of Hillary "transgressions"

When somebody is above the law it is called royalty. That why we can call Hillary Clinton to be Queen.

Too Big to Jail, Too Innocent to Flail, or Both

Should Clinton have been prosecuted at all? It depends on whether you wish to apply the law (many do), to apply what others consider common sense, or to rebalance the scale of unequal prosecution. And if the latter, rebalance in which direction? Should Clinton go to jail, or should Manning, among others, go free? I would personally be fine if Clinton never saw a courtroom and prisoners like Manning were freed. For the overall good of the nation, I would take that trade. Others, I’m sure, would choose differently.

Returning to why Clinton wasn’t prosecuted — was it just that Clinton is too important, too protected, to prosecute? “Too big to jail” in other words? Too high to be brought down by something as low as the law? After all, starting with Nixon, the circle of those who can never be punished for their crimes has grown constantly more inclusive. (I almost wrote “for their non-violent crimes,” but then I remembered the torturing George W. Bush.) That’s certainly a possible explanation, even a likely one, given our recent failure to prosecute even a straight-up thief like former Goldman Sachs chief, ex-governor and Democratic Party fundraiser Jon Corzine.

But we live in a punishing, prosecutorial state as well, one that treats its enemies as harshly as it treats its friends gently, especially its inner circle friends. It’s this second aspect, not just who is too big to jail, but who is too high-minded and innocent to torture and flail — too “loyal” to be treated, in other words, like Sterling and Manning — that must be considered before we can understand the unequal application of these laws. Clinton, for all her faults in James Comey’s eyes, was no Chelsea Manning.

As Wheeler says in her closing, this is “another way of saying our classification system is largely a way to arbitrarily label people you dislike disloyal.” On reflection, it’s hard to disagree.

That Hillary Clinton is poisoned  fruit for Democratic Party ticket was know long  ago. As early as August, 2015 some former highly placed official were suggesting that Clinton committed a felony: Platte River Networks Clinton Email Investigation Timeline

August 20, 2015: Former CIA Director James Woosley suggests Clinton could have committed a felony.

Woolsey, who was CIA director from 1993 to 1995 under President Bill Clinton, comments on Clinton’s email scandal: “What is really wrong here was setting up this separate email system and using it for government work. If anybody wants to set one up and use it for yoga appointments, wedding planning, okay, fine. But to have a server in a bathroom closet in Colorado that is dealing with potentially extremely classified material because it is material that is passing through the secretary of state’s conversations with her staff, that’s really very irresponsible. It is a felony. I think and there are some ways of dealing with this, putting something in the wrong place and making a mistake that are only a misdemeanor. But we’ve had now several of my successors in the intelligence business at senior levels plead to charges and be in situations where it is clear they violated the law, around some of those things look very similar to what has happened here.”(Fox News, 8/20/2015)

As Edward Snowden noted:

 “Anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of state has or the director of any top level agency has knows how classified information should be handled. When the unclassified systems of the United States government—which has a full time information security staff—regularly get hacked, the idea that someone keeping a private server in the renovated bathroom of a server farm in Colorado, is more secure is completely ridiculous.” (Al Jazeera America, 9/3/2015)

But instead of objective investigation FBI engaged in cover-up and essentially had stolen the possibility for Sanders to represent Democratic Party in 2016 Presidential elections.

Peter Strzok role in suppression of Hillary Clinton "emailgate" scandal
and helping Hillary and her team to avoid prosecution

As deputy FBI director for counterintelligence, Strzok also was a liaison with various agencies in the intelligence community, including the CIA, then led by Director John Brennan. He played the key role in suppressing the investigation and exoneration of Hillary Clinton in connection with "emailgate" scandal. Two other people involved is what can be called the conspiracy to rid the US Presidential election within FBI were Comey and McCabe.

Starting on July 10, 2015, Strzok led a team of a dozen investigators to examine Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.[11] During the investigation, Strzok changed then-FBI Director James Comey's draft language describing Clinton's actions as "grossly negligent" (which is a criminal offense when related to dealing with classified information) to "extremely careless".[6]

A source familiar with FBI supervisory agent Peter Stzrok’s involvement in the Hillary Clinton server investigation confirmed CNN’s report that he changed ‘grossly negligent’ to ‘extremely careless.

Strzok and his team helped review newly discovered Clinton emails days before Election Day.[11]

Peter Stzrok reviewed and cleared the Anthony Weiner-Huma Abedin emails in RECORD TIME before the election and said he FOUND NOTHING.

Strzok was conducted interviews with Hillary Clinton and members of her team involved in emailgate.  They all got immunity from prosecution from FBI. Granted immunity to her close cycle (Mills and Abedin) was extrmely important for shutting down the investigation. 

his change of comey's statement defitionion of Hillary actions from "gross negligence" which is a criminal action if you work with classified documents to "extreme carelessness" was critical in  exonerating Hillary and this in throwing Sanders under the bus.  

What charges and sanctions were lingering

There are at least four legal charges that are implicit in "emailgate" scandal and were applicable to the "bathroom server" case. Violation of NDA was the most provable  among them. Here Hillary is guilty and this is clear for anybody who took time to study the main facts. But several other charges can also led to felony conviction:

  1. [Dropped] Mishandling of classified information. This was the most serious change but due to Comey statement those changes were dropped. Sill it is the fact that Hillary copied all her emails on several USB sticks and gave them to her private lawyer and his staff. That involves the Espionage Act. Section 793(d) which makes it a felony if a person entrusted with “information relating to the national defense” “willfully communicates, delivers [or] transmits” it to an unauthorized person. While in case of server she can claim gross negligence, but passing copies of emails on USB to her lawyer was definitely done willfully and that can be proved. There were several top secret email discovered. Adjusting for the typical for government tendency to overclassify they probably were just secret. But that's enough. Also, most if not all of the Obama--Clinton email exchanges were presumptively classified. Yet, both Obama and Clinton knowingly conducted them not only outside the government’s secure system for classified information but using the private email server.
  2. Lying about the situation with her bathroom server to Congress. This charge was supposedly investigated by FBI after referral by congress of July 12, 2016. See 8 Times Hillary Clinton Lied About Her Emails - Breitbart We know how all such investigation in FBI ended.
  3. RICO changes connected with Clinton Foundation. This was impossible under Comey. Comey refused to answer the question whether FBI is investigating Clinton Foundation because he never intended to do this.
  4. Revealing identities of CIA operatives. This is similar to famous Valeria Plame case. Valeria Plame was the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson. Plame had her identity as covert officer of the CIA leaked to the press by members of the George W. Bush administration and subsequently made public.
  5. Obstruction of justice and/or destruction of evidence. Obstruction charges can be laid if a person alters, destroys, or conceals physical evidence, even if he was under no compulsion at any time to produce such evidence. wiping the server clean here might qualify. Often, no actual investigation or substantiated suspicion of a specific incident need exist to support a charge of obstruction of justice.
  6. Attempt to violate government employees disclosure rules by deleting emails from the server. Apparently Hillary’s problems with the FOIA cases will worsen after Comey statement. It is also clear that maintaining private email server was done deliberately to hide information about her activities from public and obstructing the national record of elected officials correspondence. As Dan Metcalfe states in POLITICO, “Hillary’s Email Defense Is Laughable...I should know — I ran FOIA for the U.S. government.”
  7. Violation of State Department procedures and installation of private email server into State Department environment (essentially a Trojan Horse). Which was managed by personnel without any government security clearance. As well as the use of a retail version of Blackberry to access them. Such a setup during the lifetime of the server also include moving the server from her house to unidentified NJ datacenter where backups to the cloud for the server content were accidentally made. Here we can talk about gross negligence.

There are several non-criminal  sanctions that can be applied to Hillary Clinton:

  • They can disbar her like previously Bill Clinton for lying to Congress
  • They can strip her of security clearance
  • Prohibition to hold any positions which requires security clearance
  • Rejection of her nomination during the Congress of the Democratic Party

But the quin is the  quin: she is obviously above the law.

The Espionage Act Under Obama and Queen Clinton

Reproduced verbatim from Gaius Publius Picking Up James Comey’s Pieces — What He Did, What He Should Have Done & Why naked capitalism

It turns out that the Espionage Act has become a popular tool of punishment under the Obama administration, which has broadened its application from use against actual espionage to use against unfriendly leakers and whistle-blowers:

Under the Obama administration, seven Espionage Act prosecutions have been related not to traditional espionage but to either withholding information or communicating with members of the media. Out of a total eleven prosecutions under the Espionage Act against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, seven have occurred since Obama took office.[89] “Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,” the President said at a news conference in 2013. “They can put men and women in uniform that I’ve sent into the battlefield at risk. I don’t think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed.”[90]

As Glenn Greenwald (among many others) has recently noted:

Secrecy is a virtual religion in Washington. Those who violate its dogma have been punished in the harshest and most excessive manner – at least when they possess little political power or influence. As has been widely noted, the Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined. Secrecy in DC is so revered that even the most banal documents are reflexively marked classified, making their disclosure or mishandling a felony. As former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said in 2010, “Everything’s secret. I mean, I got an email saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ It carried a top secret NSA classification marking.”

People who leak to media outlets for the selfless purpose of informing the public – Daniel Ellsberg, Tom Drake, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden – face decades in prison. Those who leak for more ignoble and self-serving ends – such as enabling hagiography (Leon Panetta, David Petreaus) or ingratiating oneself to one’s mistress (Petraeus) – face career destruction, though they are usually spared if they are sufficiently Important-in-DC. For low-level, powerless Nobodies-in-DC, even the mere mishandling of classified informationwithout any intent to leak but merely to, say, work from home – has resulted in criminal prosecution, career destruction and the permanent loss of security clearance.

Even when no leakage or other damage was contemplated or occurred, the Espionage Act was applied against violators. Here’s what happened to Naval Reserve Engineer Brian Nishimura (link via Greenwald above):

A Naval reservist was sentenced for mishandling classified military materials.

A federal attorney announced Wednesday that Bryan Nishimura of Folsom, California, pleaded guilty to the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials.

Nishimura, deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 as a regional engineer, admitted to downloading classified briefings and digital records onto his personal electronic devices. He carried the materials off base and brought them back to the U.S. when his deployment ended.

An FBI search of Nishimura’s home turned up classified materials, but did not reveal evidence he intended to distribute them.

How was his case handled? He was obviously prosecuted, as the lead paragraph tells us. Then:

He was sentenced to two years of probation and a $7,500 fine, and was ordered to surrender his security clearance. He is barred from seeking a future security clearance.

This is a Navy engineer who took home downloaded briefings and records. We’re not told under what act he was prosecuted, but we don’t need to be told, just that doing what he did was a crime. The Espionage Act is perfectly suited to that crime, if the prosecutors wished to use it.

Here’s a bit from the FBI’s description of Nishimura’s case:

According to court documents, Nishimura was a Naval reservist deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. In his role as a Regional Engineer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Nishimura had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers. Nishimura, however, caused the materials to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media. … In the United States, Nishimura continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations, and copied the materials onto at least one additional unauthorized and unclassified system

Sounds like what Clinton did to a T. Should she be prosecuted? Loretta Lynch, speaking through James Comey, doesn’t think so. To understand why not, let’s look at three more notorious and more vigorously prosecuted cases: Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake and Chelsea Manning. Those cases not only reveal why Clinton, in the eyes of many, should be prosecuted; they reveal why she wasn’t.

Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake and Chelsea Manning

This gets to the heart of the problem related to when and why to prosecute. There’s first a question of what should happen and what does happen. Then there’s a question of intent, as in, what intent if any is the target of the law, and what intent is the target of prosecutors who apply the law. These are not the same.

Greenwald doesn’t think Clinton should be prosecuted, since in isolation her crime, as he sees it, doesn’t merit it. What Clinton did was attempt to shield all of her communications to the extent she could, an act that in his mind doesn’t deserve jail time, despite the letter of the law. I would add that we’re talking about applying the Espionage Act after all, and Clinton in no way committed or intended to commit espionage.

But that kind of sensible thinking isn’t what does happen. What does happen is that under Obama, certain people are prosecuted and sentenced very harshly. Greenwald again (bolded emphasis mine):

But this case does not exist in isolation. It exists in a political climate where secrecy is regarded as the highest end, where people have their lives destroyed for the most trivial – or, worse, the most well-intentioned – violations of secrecy laws, even in the absence of any evidence of harm or malignant intent. And these are injustices that Hillary Clinton and most of her stalwart Democratic followers have never once opposed – but rather enthusiastically cheered. In 2011, Army Private Chelsea Manning was charged with multiple felonies and faced decades in prison for leaking documents that she firmly believed the public had the right to see; unlike the documents Clinton recklessly mishandled, none of those was Top Secret. Nonetheless, this is what then-Secretary Clinton said in justifying her prosecution…

Clinton’s justification for Manning’s prosecution is this (emphasis Greenwald’s):

“I think that in an age where so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so.

Seems damning in retrospect, especially the emphasized portion. For Clinton, “necessary steps” to protect “sensitive” information that’s “flying through cyberspace” means the following:

In 2010, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, the United States Army Private First Class accused of the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history, was charged under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which incorporates parts of the Espionage Act 18 U.S.C. § 793(e). At the time, critics worried that the broad language of the Act could make news organizations, and anyone who reported, printed or disseminated information from WikiLeaks, subject to prosecution, although former prosecutors pushed back, citing Supreme Court precedent expanding First Amendment protections.[103] On July 30, 2013, following a judge-only trial by court-martial lasting eight weeks, Army judge Colonel Denise Lind convicted Manning on six counts of violating the Espionage Act, among other infractions.[98]

And the punishment was this:

Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years’ imprisonment, with the possibility of parole in the eighth year, and to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.[2]

That harsh punishment doesn’t count the torture she endured while in pre-trial detention. The fate that befell Chelsea Manning was (and is) draconian. Again, in retrospect Clinton’s words at the time are damning.

Let’s look at two more cases, starting with Jeffrey Sterling. As you read, see if you can see the thread that ties these three cases together:

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, a former CIA agent was indicted under the [Espionage] Act in January 2011 for alleged unauthorized disclosure of national defense information to James Risen, a New York Times reporter, in 2003 regarding his book State of War. The indictment described his motive as revenge for the CIA’s refusal to allow him to publish his memoirs and its refusal to settle his racial discrimination lawsuit against the Agency. Others have described him as telling Risen about a backfired CIA plot against Iran in the 1990s.[91]

But the evidence of wrong-doing was almost non-existent, flimsily circumstantial, and the conviction relied heavily on the jury’s reaction to the government’s presentation of motive.

The government’s case consisted mostly of records of emails and phone calls between Sterling and Risen that began in 2001 and continued into 2005. The emails were very short, just a line or so, and did not reference any CIA programs. The phone calls were mostly short too, some just a few seconds, and the government did not introduce recordings or transcripts of any of them.

Sterling was represented by two lawyers, Edward MacMahon Jr. and Barry Pollack. In his opening statement, MacMahon pointed to the lack of hard evidence against his client.

“Mr. Trump is a fine lawyer,” MacMahon said. “If he had an email with details of these programs or a phone call, you would have heard it, and you’re not going to hear it in this case .… Mr. Trump told you that [Sterling] spoke to Risen. Did you hear where, when, or anything about what happened? No. That’s because there isn’t any such evidence of it whatsoever .… You don’t see a written communication to Mr. Risen from Mr. Sterling about the program at all, no evidence they even met in person.”

Nevertheless, despite this lack of real evidence:

[T]he jury convicted Sterling, based on what the judge, Leonie Brinkema, described at the sentencing as “very powerful circumstantial evidence.” She added, “In a perfect world, you’d only have direct evidence, but many times that’s not the case in a criminal case.” …

A few minutes before three in the afternoon, Judge Brinkema said that Sterling would go to prison for three and a half years. This was far below the sentencing guidelines — and was seen as a rebuke of the prosecution’s portrayal of Sterling as a traitor who had to be locked away for a long time. But that wasn’t much comfort for Sterling or his wife, because he would nonetheless be locked away. After the hearing ended, Sterling walked to the front row of seats to console his sobbing wife. You could hear her wails in the courtroom.

His lawyers requested that he be allowed to serve his sentence in his home state of Missouri, so that his wife and other family members could easily visit him. Earlier this week, Sterling reported to the prison that was selected for him. It is in Colorado.

We still don’t know for sure that Sterling was the person who leaked information to reporter James Risen. Nothing showing that they worked together was presented in court. Nothing. Yet the prosecutor did a good job of painting Sterling as “a traitor” motivated by “anger, bitterness, selfishness,” adding, “The defendant struck back at the CIA because he thought he had been treated unfairly. He had sued the agency for discrimination and demanded that they pay him $200,000 to settle his claim. When the agency refused, he struck back with the only weapon he had: secrets, the agency’s secrets.”

On that basis and almost no evidence, the jury convicted.

Finally, in the case of Thomas Drake, mentioned above by both Wheeler and Greenwald, this happened:

In April 2010, Thomas Andrews Drake, an official with the National Security Agency (NSA), was indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) for alleged willful retention of national defense information. The case arose from investigations into his communications with Siobhan Gorman of the Baltimore Sun and Diane Roark of the House Intelligence Committee as part of his attempt to blow the whistle on several issues including the NSA’s Trailblazer project.[92][93][94][95][96] Considering the prosecution of Drake, investigative journalist Jane Mayer wrote that “Because reporters often retain unauthorized defense documents, Drake’s conviction would establish a legal precedent making it possible to prosecute journalists as spies.”[97]

What sets Drake, Sterling and Manning apart from Clinton in the way their violations of the Espionage Act are treated? It’s not just her elite status.

Why Is Clinton’s Case Different?

Clinton may well have been let off because the Justice Department thought prosecution of the out of question and powerful factions were interested in preventing Trump from wining the election and throwing Sanders under the bus. .

Given all the arcane rules of classification, and the fact that Clinton, put plainly, is not a spy. She is just is Queen. that's why Comey and Lynch probably decided that prosecution was pointless.  Yet espionage was also never the intent of Sterling, Drake or Manning, yet they had the proverbial book thrown at them, and more. (Read the rest of the article on Sterling to see how his prosecution nearly destroyed his life, literally.)

The government’s behavior in these four cases show clear facoritism and attampts to sqwipe the dirt under the carpet. It could be argued that the motives of Sterling, Drake and Manning were more pure then Hillary (for whom the main motive was greed) --  whistle-blowers intend to perform a societal good, whereas Clinton’s motives were more self-centered, less morally defensible, and clearly illegal. Starting from deletion of her emails and attempts to move all of her communication beyond the reach of FOIA records requests. (She may have had other motives, such as shielding the Clinton Foundation from embarrassing disclosures, or worse.)

Which brings us to the the matter of intent — not the intent contemplated by the law (intent to steal or to otherwise mishandle government secrets), but the intent contemplated by the prosecutors in applying the law. Look again at the Sterling conviction and what the prosecution relied on to get it. The man was painted by his prosecutors as, in effect, evil — a man whose goal was to harm the government, a betrayer, a traitor, motivated by anger, bitterness, selfishness, a man taking revenge. Though most stark in Sterling’s prosecution (and in Manning’s torture), you see this thread in all three whistle-blower cases.

What separates these cases from Clinton’s is a very selective desire of the FBI to punish “evil deeds,” attempts to harm the country. Espionage Act is just a tool of  punishment in such cases. So it was selectively wielded in such a heavy way to frighten others. Note that this initial filter — looking for who has done the kind of harm deserving of punishment, as opposed to looking for who violated the law — precedes the prosecution itself. that's not a rule of law. That's about the deference in treatment of aristocracy and common people.

Yes, this is selective prosecution the FBI elites is protecting Democratic Party elite.  It mercilessly crush the perceived enemies of that state, while protecting its friends from the same "transgressions".  In other words, the key to determining who will be prosecuted is indeed social status, but not intent to violate the law.

Marcy Wheeler called the real crime of Sterling and Drake “disloyalty” and not a violation of the Espionage Act itself. Wheeler (my emphasis):

I can only imagine Comey came to his improper public prosecutorial opinion via one of two mental tricks. Either he — again, not the prosecutor — decided the only crime at issue was mishandling classified information (elsewhere in his statement he describes having no evidence that thousands of work emails were withheld from DOJ with ill intent, which dismisses another possible crime), and from there he decided either that it’d be a lot harder to prosecute Hillary Clinton (or David Petraeus) than it would be someone DOJ spent years maligning like Sterling or Drake. Or maybe he decided that there are no indications that Hillary is disloyal to the US.

Understand, though: with Sterling and Drake, DOJ decided they were disloyal to the US, and then used their alleged mishandling of classified information as proof that they were disloyal to the US (Drake ultimately plead to Exceeding Authorized Use of a Computer).

Ultimately, it involves arbitrary decisions about who is disloyal to the US, and from that a determination that the crime of mishandling classified information occurred.

Comey statement

Comey  who (as of December 2017) is considered by many as the part of the FBI "gang of three" hijaced the role of Justice Department and for some reason decided to exonerate Hillary all by himself. After a brief introduction, Comey states the FBI was looking into:

“whether classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on [Clinton’s] personal system in violation of the Federal statute that makes 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.”

And he presented the clear evidence of Hillary's guilt because it was simply impossible to hide. Of the approximately 30,000 emails Hillary Clinton turned over to State in 2014, the FBI found

110 emails, in 52 email 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 of those chains contained ‘Secret’ information at the time; eight contained ‘Confidential’ information at the time.”

See Supplement 1: FBI director's statement on Hillary Clinton email investigation

But his conclusion completely contradicted the evidence and Hillary "walked free." Which in terms of election cycle of 2016 was equivalent to depriving Sanders any chance to be at the top of Democratic Party ticket. In other words FBI engaged in clearly political activity and has chosen its own favorite in the Presidential race.

Why she was not indicted by FBI for mishandling of classified information?

“If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail.”

General Michael Flynn during CNN appearance.

This chain of events has reinforced the American public’s perception that there are now no prosecutions of unlawful conduct by persons of sufficient wealth, power and influence who consider themselves to be above the law.

Because there was conspiracy within FBI to exonerate her of any wrongdoing. It’s a cold hard facts:

  • Email box of Hillary Clinton contained multiple instances of classified information on different levels of classification. Several emails that were deemed classified were deleted by her.
  • She hosted those emails on unprotected private server which was managed by multiple administrators without any security clearance in violation of basic rules for such important for the nation servers.
  • Clinton copied emails on thumb drives and gave them to her private lawyer.
  • On several occasions she misrepresented the facts including in her testimony to Congress (which represents perjury).
  • Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate in American history who was linked to two (or may be three) FBI investigations.
  • Typically a person who is under the investigation by FBI loses his/her security clearance until the end of the investigation. That did not happened.

The case was highly politicized, especially after impromptu meeting of Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch. For some reason Obama also behaves as if he wants to join Clinton Foundation after the end of his term in office. Who in his sound mind can endorse a person under FBI investigation. Only constitutional scholars do that ;-).

Looks like Comey was forced to lie about several aspects of this Clinton case and later was caught during congressional hearings (and in couple of cases when cought he, surprisingly, instantly agreed that that was a lie):

Dou Gen , July 13, 2016 at 9:45 am

This article doesn't explain why a punishment such as the one given to Petraeus was not considered by Comey or the DOJ. Petraeus was an elite insider who was not a spy and did not threaten the state, yet he still received a minor punishment so as not to delegitimatize the legal system and in order to give at least a minimal impression of fairness.

Since Comey said it was possible - and most experts say very possible - that foreign governments read Hillary's emails, she may have caused significant damage to the US national interest over four years.

Therefore even a loyal elite could expect to be at least fined for such gross negligence. Why wouldn't a fine and a reprimand and/or temporary loss of security clearance be normal even for a loyal DC insider? This suggests that the power of the Clinton Machine and its real-world ability to deliver retribution was the deciding factor in the lack of any suggestion of indictment. Comey surely wants to keep his job.

The article also fails to deal with the fact that Comey mistakenly claimed that only one person had ever been prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. This is clearly not the case, and you list some of those prosecuted. There have also been several other convictions, including US vs. McGuinness in 1992 (see Andrew C. McCarthy, "Military Prosecutions Show That A Gross Negligence Prosecution Would Not Unfairly Single Out Mrs. Clinton" National Review (7/7/2016), CIA director John Deutch in 1997 (pardoned by Bill Clinton), James Hitselberger (who carried classified documents off his naval base in 1997 and simply kept them), and Jason Brezler, a Marine Major who sent classified information about a dangerous Afghan mayor in order to warn a colleague in 2014 (he is now appealing his conviction based on Comey's criteria).

Also please see Jared Beck, "Why Hillary Clinton's Emails Matter: A Legal Analysis" (6/6/2016): Beck lists 4 convictions under 793(f) alone. Also see Beck's "Comey's Volley, Or The Indictment That Wasn't" (7/11/2016). You also need to deal with the question of why Comey ignored the obvious fact that Hillary willfully and knowingly broke State Department rules in setting up the private server and therefore knew she was endangering security. The fact that Comey gave a false number of prosecutions under s. 793 and avoided mention of willful, knowing acts by Hillary suggests his decision to oppose indictment was a political decision, not a legal decision.

The article also fails to deal with the theory that Comey, taking into account various evidence, such as his talks with DOJ attorneys and the fact that Lynch agreed to meet Bill Clinton, decided that that there was no possibility that the Democrat-staffed DOJ would indict Hillary. Therefore Comey decided to make the best of a difficult situation by giving a two-part speech that first laid out reasons why Hillary could be indicted and then explained that it was not "reasonable" to indict her. "Reasonable" is of course a legal term, but it also covers a variety of meanings, including political motives. Do you reject this theory, or were you just unaware of it?

Criminality of Hillary actions aside, the whole scene reminds me Godfather II.

Why did Hillary Clinton need to use a private server exclusively? I ask why Clinton needed this server in my latest YouTube segment, and I’m especially interested in learning why from Hillary supporters. The answer could very likely lead to Hillary Clinton’s indictment, which would then automatically lead to a Bernie Sanders nomination and Bernie destroying Trump by 8 points in the general election.

On CNN, Lt. General Michael Flynn stated that Hillary Clinton should “drop out” of the presidential race and states “If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail.” I mentioned Lt. General Flynn’s views on the FBI investigation during my latest CNN appearance.

In regards to the unique aspects of the FBI’s email investigation, POLITIFACT states “Although some former secretaries of state occasionally used personal emails for official business, Clinton is the only one who never once used an email address in the era of email.”

Thus, asking why she’s the only Secretary of State who refused to use an email address is not only relevant, but vital to understanding the severity of the FBI’s investigation. As Dan Metcalfe states in POLITICO, “Hillary’s Email Defense Is Laughable...I should know—I ran FOIA for the U.S. government.” Saying others did worse also can’t explain the fact 100 FBI agents have worked on the case, especially since there’s never been a presidential candidate in American history linked to an ongoing FBI investigation.

National Review suggested "her lax handling of our most sensitive national-security information, Clinton all but served it to foreign intelligence services on a platter." (National Review):

Clinton held one of the highest offices of the United States, and communications involving high-level intelligence were a routine part of her job. Despite her protestations to the contrary, it was inevitable that classified information would be exchanged in her “private” e-mails and stored on her “private server.”

What was inevitable is now undeniable. Inspectors general from both the intelligence community and the State Department have reported to Congress that Clinton’s e-mails contain classified information. And remember, they have been able to review only portions of the 30,000-odd e-mails Clinton deigned to surrender (in paper-copy form) on the State Department’s demand, two years after she departed.

Regarding the access to sensitive information, the position of the Secretary of State is identical to the position of Army Generals and high level officials at CIA or any other intelligence agency. For all practical purposes  State Department is an intelligence  agency.  Especially taking into account State Department role in collecting intelligence information and staging color revolutions abroad. A similar level official at CIA or Pentagon would receive much harsher treatment.

But no even minor punishment  was imposed on the Queen: despite "bathroom server" scandal and a clear, provable violation of NDA she signed, Hillary Clinton retained her security clearance (

Hillary Clinton retains a security clearance allowing her access to classified information despite an FBI inquiry into her handling of sensitive government information on the private email account she used during her tenure as secretary of state.

... ... ...

While Clinton has kept her clearance, it’s common practice to suspend them while an investigation or internal inquiry is ongoing, according to some national security experts on Capitol Hill and in private practice.

... ... ...

Whether you’re a member of the military, a high-ranking executive branch official or anybody else with a security clearance, people should be treated equally,” said Grassley, R-Iowa. “If rank-and-file military and intelligence community employees have their clearances suspended during security investigations, then senior officials should not get any special exemptions.”

The key here is the role Obama and his administration in the cover-up.  He was also complicit in Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct by communicating with her on unprotected private server, which was set-up by personnel from Clinton Foundation. While, most probably, he personally does feel much sympathy for "this woman", the "preservation of legacy" and the danger of Trump winning  presidential race dictated the polices that helped to get her off the hook.

What is interesting  that this way Obama undermined his legacy. 

Comparison with General Petraeus case

General Petraeus ( who was the most promising GOP candidate for the current Presidential election) transgressions (aka Petraeus scandal - Wikipedia ) are the most relevant previous similar case. He also did not have any criminal intent that FBI director Comey used to dismiss changes against Hillary Clinton. Moreover his only correspondent has top security clearness while multiple people with who Hillary Clinton shared her email did not. Congressman Issa called this a double standard Congressman Issa Says FBI Director Comey Is Lying About Hillary Clinton's Criminal Intent! - YouTube

They are minimal in comparison with what Hillary Clinton did: Hillary Clinton Emailed Names of US Intelligence Officials, Unclassified. He revealed the information to a single person (his biographer), who was an army intelligence officer with top security clearance. While Hillary Clinton revealed her emails to her private lawyer and his staff as well as indirectly to all server administrators of the "bathroom server" and most probably to any foreign intelligence agency who was interested (although most probably suspect that this was set-up -- a honeypot ;-). Such level of incompetence  might  server as layer of protection (as in famous Otto von Bismarck  quote “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” ).

She also potentially guilty in lying to Congress under the oath, which is a serious crime. But not for the Queen.

The punishment for him included two year probation and fine. In no way Hillary deserved less then that. See for example How Gen. David Petraeus Gets It, And Hillary Clinton Still Doesn't (, 09/29/2015):

At one point, we thought General David Petraeus would be a strong candidate for U.S. President. Certainly against this crop of GOP candidates, he’d be the clear front-runner. But then, he shared classified information, and more than that, with his biographer-turned-mistress (Paula Broadwell), according to ABC News, undoing an impressive military career, with plenty of political upside. ...instead of offering the typical hubris, misdirection, or blame shifting, he thought it was important to again show true remorse for his actions

... ... ...

Hillary Clinton, the former New York Senator and Secretary of State, has been the anti-Petraeus. As of last week, she still was claiming to the Associated Press that she had done nothing wrong and her actions were allowed. Even in her “apology,” she was still claiming it was just a “mistake” according to Fox News. Well, here’s what kind of “mistake” Clinton’s actions might cause. The U.S. National Security Agency Chief, Admiral Mike Rogers, explained that it would really help the NSA if someone like Vladimir Putin or the Supreme Leader of Iran had done the same, using classified information on a private email, as noted in The Guardian.

When classified information gets in the hands of our enemies and rivals, bad things happen for our beleaguered intelligence forces. Sometimes, it leads to the capture, and possible deaths, of our agents and sources. There’s no excuse for putting them in any more harm than they already face. General Petraeus gets that it is wrong. But as Clinton blames Republicans for her woes on NBC’s Meet the Press, it’s clear she still just doesn’t get it.

Please note that as Andrew C. McCarthy pointed in his June 11, 2015 article ( National Review ) when Obama’s Justice Department prosecuted former CIA director David Petraeus for mishandling classified information, it included notes of “defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS’s discussions with the President of the United States of America.” That completely destroys Hillary Clinton’s defense that the classified e-mails were not “marked” as such.  Well, Petraeus’s notes were not marked either. But this was not a problem to his prosecution. Here is how General Petraeus  transgressions were revealed -- it also included the use of email:

  • In May 2012, Jill Kelley filed a complaint with the FBI after receiving disturbing emails from a user identifying as "kelleypatrol". Kelley, her husband Scott, and her sister Natalie Khawam also happened to be friends of Petraeus and his wife Holly from the time they were stationed at CENTCOM in Tampa, Florida.
  • Petraeus and Broadwell used fake names to create free webmail accounts exchanging messages without encryption tools. They would share an email account, with one saving a message in the drafts folder and the other deleting it after reading it.
  • The FBI, using electronic metadata that pinpointed the times, places and IP addresses, identified Paula Broadwell as the source of "kelleypatrol" emails. At this point FBI and intelligence agencies noted the presence in her mailbox of information about high-ranking US military personnel and Petraeus and that some of the exchanges were "sexually charged".

It is reasonable to assume that Hotmail mailbox is on the same or higher level of security as private email server Hillary Clinton used. It also did not have two factor authentication (but Hotmail controls from which Ip address you are trying to connect -- it you trevel abroad you will not be able to connect without addtional procedure of verificatin of your identity) and mailbox contained sensitive information. If you read Wikipedia article about emailgate ( Hillary Clinton email controversy) and compare it with General Petraeus transgressions the question of double standards definitely comes to mind.

So It is reasonable to assume that a minimum punishment for Hillary was two year probation and fine

Effectively pardoned by Obama with the help of FBI "gang of three"

"They were careless people ... they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . . . ”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem

-- Donald Trump Twit, Jul 5, 2016

In order to get Hillary Clinton off the hook FBI rewrote the existing and pretty strict statute:

Although denying that he was effectively re-writing the language of any relevant statute to reach his conclusion, Director Comey asserted that it was appropriate to ignore the express “gross negligence” element in one such statute dealing with the gathering of defense-related information (18 U.S. Code §793(F)). He based his decision to ignore the “gross negligence” statutory element, despite his own statement that Hillary Clinton had been “extremely careless” in the “handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” on his understanding of past precedent.

He explained that federal prosecutors have brought only one case based on gross negligence in the last 99 years because, in part, of constitutional concerns with convictions in cases where there is no showing of criminal intent. He also concluded that it would be unfair to embark on what he called “celebrity hunting” by singling out Hillary Clinton for prosecution for “gross negligence” when only one such case has been brought in 99 years.

Similarly, the director disputed that the requisite criminal intent was provable under a separate criminal statute involving the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material in an unauthorized location (18 U.S. Code § 1924), even though that is precisely what Hillary Clinton did.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) had an exchange with Director Comey that set out the case for concluding that Hillary Clinton had criminal intent based on such circumstantial evidence. It is worth quoting from at length (Comey's Peculiar Explanations Frontpage Mag):

“GOWDY: …I’m going to ask you to put on your old hat. False exculpatory statements — they are used for what?

COMEY: Well, either for a substantive prosecution, or for evidence of intent in a criminal prosecution.

GOWDY: Exactly. Intent, and consciousness of guilt, right? Is that right?

COMEY: Right.

GOWDY: Consciousness of guilt, and intent. In your old job, you would prove intent, as you just referenced, by showing the jury evidence of a complex scheme that was designed for the very purpose of concealing the public record. And you would be arguing, in addition to concealment, the destruction that you and I just talked about, or certainly the failure to preserve. You would argue all of that under the heading of intent.

You would also be arguing the pervasiveness of the scheme: when it started, when it ended, and the number of e-mails, whether they were originally classified or up-classified. You would argue all of that under the heading of intent…

She affirmatively rejected efforts to give her a account, she kept these private e-mails for almost two years, and only turned them over to Congress because we found out she had a private e-mail account.

So you have a rogue e-mail system set up before she took the oath of office; thousands of what we now know to be classified e-mails, some of which were classified at the time; one of her more frequent e-mailed comrades was, in fact, hacked, and you don’t know whether or not she was; and this scheme took place over long period of time and resulted in the destruction of public records — and yet you say there is insufficient evidence of intent?

You say she was “extremely careless,” but not intentionally so. Now, you and I both know intent is really difficult to prove. Very rarely do defendants announce, “On this day, I intend to break this criminal code section. Just to put everyone on notice, I am going to break the law on this day.” It never happens that way. You have to do it with circumstantial evidence — or, if you’re Congress, and you realize how difficult it is to prove specific intent, you will formulate a statute that allows for “gross negligence.”

Even before FBI Director James Comey announcement chances of her indictment after Obama announced his support of her candidacy were next to zero. Especially after what was billed as a private meeting on Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch:

But she indicated it had nothing to do with the controversies swirling around the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.

'Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix,' Lynch said.

Lynch's husband apparently was along for the trip as well.

'I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,' she said.

The tarmac talk took place at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Usually well-informed The Washington Post promoted this theory as early as March 8 (Why Hillary Clinton is unlikely to be indicted over her private email server). "This woman" is above the law:

For those of you salivating — or trembling — at the thought of Hillary Clinton being clapped in handcuffs as she prepares to deliver her acceptance speech at the Democratic convention this summer: deep, cleansing breath. Based on the available facts and the relevant precedents, criminal prosecution of Clinton for mishandling classified information in her emails is extraordinarily unlikely.

There are two main statutory hooks. Title 18, Section 1924, a misdemeanor, makes it a crime for a government employee to “knowingly remove” classified information “without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location.” Prosecutors used this provision in securing a guilty plea from former CIA director David H. Petraeus, who was sentenced to probation and fined $100,000. But there are key differences between Petraeus and Clinton.

... ... ...

Another possible prosecutorial avenue involves the Espionage Act. Section 793(d) makes it a felony if a person entrusted with “information relating to the national defense” “willfully communicates, delivers [or] transmits” it to an unauthorized person. That might be a stretch given the “willfully” requirement.

Section 793(f) covers a person with access to “national defense” information who through “gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust.” The government has used the “gross negligence” provision to prosecute a Marine sergeant who accidentally put classified documents in his gym bag, then hid them in his garage rather than returning them, and an Air Force sergeant who put classified material in a Dumpster so he could get home early.

You can well think about Hillary Clinton server as a "dumpster". Copying emails to USB sticks is probably worse that putting classified documents in a gym bad. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey highlights that Hillary has violated at least 4 federal criminal laws: #18USC1924 #18USC793f #18USC2071 #18USC1519 #Hillary2016's private server violated at least 4 federal criminal laws: #18USC1924 #18USC793f #18USC2071 #18USC1519 ( )

As Andrew C. McCarthy noted in Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18):

The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

But those consideration are now mute. On July 5, FBI Director James Comey has completed his investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server. His agency recommended to the Justice Department that Clinton not face criminal prosecution, despite calling Clinton and her staff, 'extremely careless.' As one commenter to noted:

toasteh2 hours ago
  • Found that Hillary put classified information of all levels on her personal email server.
  • Found evidence of Hillary being extremely careless in her handling of classified information.
  • States that none of these emails should have ever been stored on unofficial/personal servers.
  • Found that Hillary utilized her private email servers extensively in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.
  • States that because of this its highly likely that said adversaries gained access to her email account.
  • States that hostile actors also gained access to the private commercial email accounts of the people Hillary communicated with ...
  • Found that Hillary, her lawyers and technicians, had removed a wide range of emails in such a way that they could not be recovered.
  • States that if anyone else were to engage in a similar activities, they most likely would face severe consequences and security or administrative sanctions.
  • Found that there was no 'intentional' misconduct
  • Recommends no indictment.

Clinton won in the legal arena but could yet lose in the court of public opinion. Now Hillary opponents were given enough ammunition by the FBI report to keep the issue alive and emphasize the issue of trust until election day. Moreover, as Hillary Clinton was essentially put above the law that can double efforts in areas were she was not cleared by FBI investigation.

Political fallout for Hillary Clinton started along the lines that she’s inherently untrustworthy or, in Trump’s words: “a world-class liar”. Even as Comey helped clear the way for Clinton to be legally exonerated, he rebuked her for being “extremely careless” in using a private email server for classified information, adding that lesser government officials might have faced administrative sanction. Contrary to what Comey said in such cases intent does not matter.

In other way Donald Trump powerful ammunition to attack Hillary Clinton about her mishandling of classified information and lying about it till the election day. Just listen to C-Span viewers reaction: C-SPAN Callers VERY DISAPPOINTED In The FBI Decision Not To Charge Hillary Clinton - YouTube. Here are some comments to this recording:

Ross Meldrum

When Comey stated there would be no recommendation for prosecution what I think he was indirectly saying was that no one in the Obama administration or the DOJ is willing to bring an indictment or prosecute her. Even though there is ample evidence of criminality. Obama does not want prosecution because Obama would be called as a witness and found to be guilty himself of knowing she was using an unsecured server. Thus making him guilty as well.


people the age of these callers allowed Clinton's election cheating to be successful by voting for her. We had the chance for an anti corruption, for the people candidate, and we threw it away for "first women president" or some bull. Even without the indictment I hope we get another candidate. The world is changing, we don't need corporations, lobbyist, and politicians that only care about the advancement of their careers!

Dr. Tim Williams

With the latest announcement from the FBI shows that Hillary Clinton was very negligent during her tenure as Secretary of State. A series of gross negligence moves concerning classified e-mails is equivalent to what the military terms as a dereliction of duty in her performance as Secretary of State. As the Democratic convention looms ahead the findings by the FBI has to be a real wake up call for every delegate to consider the weakness of a Clinton candidacy. It has to be noted that Senator Sanders who the media continues to ignore has moved the nation into realizing that change is needed to secure that our democratic process returns to the way our founding fathers intended. Make no mistake that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee leaves open the more than probability that Trump will win in November. Or if the wheels of corruption by the DNC and the already super delegates that are being pulled by Clinton's purse strings succeed at striping the nomination away from Senator Sanders manage to convince enough voters in November it will be a sad day for all Americans.

Trish McRae

The democratic leaders need to lead and ask for Hillary to step down and allow Bernie to be the nominee. Congress needs to make sure Loretta Lynch indicts Hillary for her crimes. Bernie is honest and brings much enthusiasm. I don't understand why I constantly hear the media asking Sanders to step down when Hillary is the worst candidate. Watching the election fraud videos from San Diego and not hearing about any of it in the news is disgusting. It feels like Hillary brought much corruption to our party. I am a lifelong democrat and will never vote for Hillary. I may have to leave it.

"We Are Not Weasels": FBI director James Comey Testifies on Clinton Email Probe

This testimony provided few additional facts about the case but it fully revealed Comey duplicity (he objected to calling him and his associates weasels saying ‘We Are Not Weasels’ WSJ ;-). In reality he, McCabe  and Strzok were worse then that.   

Congressman Gowdy asked Director Comey point-blank if Clinton’s testimony that she did not e-mail “any classified material to anyone on my e-mail” was true. Comey said it was not true. Was Clinton telling the truth when she said that she used only one device while Secretary of State? Comey said she used multiple devices. Did she return all work-related e-mails to the State Department as she had claimed? No was the reply. “We found work-related emails, thousands that were not returned,” Comey said.

So Clinton was instantly caught in multiple lies. But not that Comey FBI will pay any attention to this (Hillary never  testified under oath in this case). They were now concerted in protection their shaky reputation. And only that.

There were also funny exchange in which Comey suggested that Hillary might be not "sophisticated enough" ( read "stupid" )  to understand that classified markings are present (in other word he stated that she is not qualified for any government position above janitor):

FBI Director James Comey is suggesting that it's possible Hillary Clinton may not have been able to identify classified markings on emails.

Comey's investigation found that there were 113 emails that were sent or received by Clinton containing classified material, contradicting Clinton's previous statements.

Comey says under questioning from a Republican lawmaker that they asked Clinton about three emails that bore "C'' markings indicating that the documents are classified. He says there's a question of whether Clinton was "sophisticated enough" to understand what the C markings meant.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows says a reasonable person would think someone who is the secretary of state would understand what that means. Meadows says after Clinton's time in the Senate and at the State Department, "that's hard to believe."

Looks like there were multiple servers in the basement and other details revealing that Hillary tried to destroy the evidence. Here are some interesting fragments:

  1. Trey Gowdy GRILLS James Comey On Hillary Clinton Emails 7-7-16 - YouTube
  2. Palmer Questioning FBI Director Comey - YouTube
  3. Jason Chaffetz Digs in on Comey at Start of Capitol Hearing ‘We Are Mystified and Confused’ - YouTube
  4. Rep. Hurd Grills James Comey - YouTube
  5. Highlights James Comey Testimony in Clinton Email Hearing - YouTube
  6. Rep. Jody Hice questions FBI Director James Comey (Full video) - YouTube
  7. Georgia Reps. grill James Comey - YouTube
  8. Clinton dodges questions after FBI interrogation - YouTube

Hillary’s problems with the FOIA civil suits

Apparently there are some still problems for Hillary in view of FOIA cases. There are approximately 38 civil suits related to this statute. Moreover:

In a decision Tuesday in a case not involving Clinton directly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that messages contained in a personal email account can sometimes be considered government records subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

But Hillary secured her top place on Democratic Party ticket and we know what happened after that.

One news from the Congressional hearing on July 7, 2016 is that there will be a new referral to the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton for possible perjury. That was a naive move in view of the role that FBI played in suppressing any evidence of Hillary wrongdoing. See Perjury Investigation of Hillary

Attention now switches to Clinton foundation shady dealing: RICO statute might be applied

In case some powerful forces will probably block Trump intention to investigate Clinton Foundation. Investigation probably was started by FBI around September of 2015: Clinton Foundation Clinton Email Investigation Timeline  and then suppressed. Still some work was probably done that allows later to take over the investigation by congressional committees. And they might be more aggressive in pursuing the truth: 

September 2, 2015: Congressional committees are interested in the Clinton Foundation’s financial dealings.

The Daily Beast reports that regardless of what becomes of the FBI’s investigations into Clinton’s emails and private server, “more than one [Congressional] committee is interested in Hillary’s emails, far beyond the Benghazi investigation. Congressional investigators are looking into issues beyond classification, to include possible dirty financial deals” that benefitted Bill and Hillary Clinton and/or their Clinton Foundation.

An unnamed senior Congressional staffer says, “This was about a lot more than just some classified emails, and we’ll get to the bottom of it. But we’re happy to let the FBI do the heavy lifting for right now.” The staffer adds, “[N]ow the media won’t let go—and the Bureau definitely won’t. I wouldn’t want to be Hillary right now.” (The Daily Beast, 9/2/2015)

September 27, 2015: Clinton claims she did not have any work-related emails regarding the Clinton Foundation while secretary of state.

Clinton is asked by journalist Chuck Todd on Meet The Press about her decision to delete 31,000 emails because they were allegedly personal in nature: “I’m just curious, would anything having to do with the Clinton Foundation, would that have been personal or work?”

Clinton replies, “Well, it would depend. You know, I did not communicate with the foundation. Other people in the State Department did. In accordance with the rules that had been adopted.”

Then Todd asks, “So any of these deleted emails are not going to be foundation-related at all?”

Clinton responds, “Well, they might be, you know, ‘There’s going to be a meeting,’ or, ‘There’s this.’ But not anything that relates to the work of the State Department. That was handled by, you know, the professionals and others in the State Department.” (NBC News, 9/27/2015)

Autumn 2015: State Department investigators issue a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation.

They are “seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state,” according to the Washington Post. The subpoena includes a request for records about Huma Abedin, “a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.” Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, is behind the subpoena.

In February 2016, the Post will report that the “full scope and status of the inquiry” is not clear. Inspector general investigative powers are limited. For instance, they can obtain documents, but they cannot compel testimony. (The Washington Post, 2/11/2016)

November 17, 2015: The Clinton Foundation is accused of being a money laundering front to benefit the Clintons.

Longtime investigative journalist Ken Silverstein writes an expose about the foundation for Harper’s Magazine. He asserts: “If the Justice Department and law enforcement agencies do their jobs, the foundation will be closed and its current and past trustees, who include Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton, will be indicted. That’s because their so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich Clinton family friends.”

As one example, Silverstein notes that the Clinton Foundation has received more than $1 billion to purchase HIV/AIDS drugs for poor people around the world. “However, a unit set up to receive the money…clearly spent far, far less than it took in. In fact, the unit’s accounting practices were so shoddy that its license was revoked by the state of Massachusetts, where it was headquartered.”

An unnamed “money-laundering expert and former intelligence officer based in the Middle East who had access to the foundation’s confidential banking information” claims that all investigators would have to do “is match up Hillary’s travel as secretary of state with Bill’s speaking arrangements. Bill heads out to foreign countries and he gets paid huge amounts of money for a thirty-minute speech and then she heads out for an official visit as a favor. She racked up more miles than any secretary of state [other than Condoleezza Rice] and that’s one of the reasons why. How can they get away with that?” The Clinton Foundation has not commented on the allegations. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

November 19, 2015: The Washington Post publishes an in-depth analysis of the history of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political fundraising.

It reveals that the Clintons “have built an unrivaled global network of donors while pioneering fundraising techniques that have transformed modern politics,” raising more money than any other politicians in US history. All their fundraising combined over four decades in politics has raised at least $3 billion. $2 billion of that has gone to the Clinton Foundation and another billion has gone to their various political campaigns, especially presidential races. Additionally, since 2000, the Clintons were directly paid more than $150 million from giving speeches. The Clintons have a loyal core of about 2,700 rich political contributors who make up less than one percent of donors who gave more than $200 but have given 21 percent of all the money. The Post comments, “The Clintons’ steady cultivation of financial benefactors—many of whom had interests before the government—has led to charges of conflicts of interest and impropriety, such as Bill Clinton’s end-of-term presidential pardons sought by donors. […] Most of all, the Clintons have excelled at leveraging access to their power and celebrity.” (The Washington Post, 11/19/2015)

January 28, 2016: Clinton’s email scandal could be linked to Clinton Foundation corruption.

John Schindler, a former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst and counterintelligence officer, writes, “Why Ms. Clinton and her staff refused to use State Department email for official business is an open and important question. Suspicion inevitably falls on widespread allegations of pay-for-play, a corrupt scheme whereby foreign entities gave cash to the Clinton Global Initiative in exchange for Ms. Clinton’s favors at Foggy Bottom [State Department headquarters]. […] Regardless of whether Ms. Clinton was engaged in political corruption, she unquestionably cast aside security as secretary of state.” The Clinton Global Initiative is one of the Clinton Foundation’s major projects. (The New York Observer, 1/28/2016)

March 23, 2016: A Congressperson calls the Clinton Foundation a “sham” charity.

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R) sends a letter to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], asking it to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s nonprofit status. “The FTC has a history of investigating ‘sham’ charities for false and deceptive statements and should initiate a review of the foundation. […] Consistent with the FTC’s mission and precedent, we request that you review [my] allegations to determine if the Foundation is a ‘sham’ charity.” (The Seaton Post, 3/23/2016)

April 6, 2016: Best-selling political author Naomi Klein criticizes the Clinton Foundation.

In an article for the Nation, she writes, “The mission of the Clinton Foundation can be distilled as follows: There is so much private wealth sloshing around our planet…that every single problem on earth, no matter how large, can be solved by convincing the ultra-rich to do the right things with their loose change. […] The problem with Clinton World is structural. It’s the way in which these profoundly enmeshed relationships—lubricated by the exchange of money, favors, status, and media attention—shape what gets proposed as policy in the first place. In Clinton World, it’s always win-win-win: The governments look effective, the corporations look righteous, and the celebrities look serious. Oh, and another win too: the Clintons grow ever more powerful. At the center of it all is the canonical belief that change comes not by confronting the wealthy and powerful but by partnering with them. Viewed from within the logic of what Thomas Frank recently termed ‘the land of money,’ all of Hillary Clinton’s most controversial actions make sense. Why not take money from fossil-fuel lobbyists? Why not get paid hundreds of thousands for speeches to Goldman Sachs? It’s not a conflict of interest; it’s a mutually beneficial partnership—part of a never-ending merry-go-round of corporate-political give and take.” (The Nation, 4/6/2016)

In worst for Hillary case RICO statute can be applied but that looks like wishful thinking. the Queen is above the law.  Wall Street analyst uncovers Clinton Foundation fraud

The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation – already under scrutiny for foreign donations – is now being accused of fraudulent and possibly criminal mismanagement.

Over the past six weeks, Wall Street financial analyst and investor Charles Ortel has shared with WND, prior to publication, the results of his six-month, in-depth investigation into what he characterizes as an elaborate scheme devised by the Clintons to enrich themselves.

... ... ...

Ortel’s principal charge is that the Clintons and those running the Clinton Foundation have devised an elaborate scheme to steal from hundreds of thousands of small contributors worldwide, as well as from larger donors, including foreign donors.

He further alleges the Clintons have covered up the alleged fraud by a series of apparently technical violations of federal and state law governing the operation of tax-exempt foundations. Ortel says that even if a sophisticated financial analyst were able to discern the fraud, an explanation of how it was carried out would be beyond the comprehension of the average reader.


Security clearances issues

Hillary Clinton still can lose security clearance, which will be symbolic and pretty humiliating event. and the level of incompetence demonstrated by her makes this a just decition. Probably even the necessary decision in view of the damage she has done. But with the level of protection from Intelligence agencies this is highly unlikely.  Paul Ryan, the House speaker denounced the decision not to prosecute Clinton’s conduct:

“No one should be above the law. But based upon the director’s own statement, it appears damage is being done to the rule of law,” he said.

“Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent. The findings of this investigation also make clear that Secretary Clinton misled the American people when she was confronted with her criminal actions.”

The fallout from the email scandal also clouded the futures of longtime Hillary aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, who along with Madam Secretary were characterized as "extremely careless". But they got immunity from FBI and nothing  probably with happen with them iether. All will find plush positions in private sector.

Supplement 1: FBI director's statement on Hillary Clinton email investigation

See also for a video of the announcement

Good morning. I’m here to give you an update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as secretary of state.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.

This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.

I want to start by thanking the FBI employees who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts.

So, first, what we have done:

The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email 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.

Consistent with our counterintelligence responsibilities, we have also investigated to determine whether there is evidence of computer intrusion in connection with the personal email server by any foreign power, or other hostile actors.

I have so far used the singular term, “email server”, in describing the referral that began our investigation. It turns out to have been more complicated than that. Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the state department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send email on that personal domain. As new servers and equipment were employed, older servers were taken out of service, stored, and decommissioned in various ways. Piecing all of that back together – to gain as full an understanding as possible of the ways in which personal email was used for government work – has been a painstaking undertaking, requiring thousands of hours of effort.

For example, when one of Secretary Clinton’s original personal servers was decommissioned in 2013, the email software was removed. Doing that didn’t remove the email content, but it was like removing the frame from a huge finished jigsaw puzzle and dumping the pieces on the floor. The effect was that millions of email fragments end up unsorted in the server’s unused—or “slack”—space. We searched through all of it to see what was there, and what parts of the puzzle could be put back together.

FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 emails provided by Secretary Clinton to the state department in December 2014. Where an email was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the email to any US government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the email, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the email contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the email now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”).

From the group of 30,000 emails returned to the state department, 110 emails in 52 email 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 emails were “up-classified” to make them ‘confidential’; the information in those had not been classified at the time the emails were sent.

Supplement 2: Bryan M Pagiano resume

Bryan M Pagiano


Management position where I can utilize my experience and education m technology and business,


Hillary Clinton for President Arlington, VA

ГГ Director August 2006 - Present

Responsible for the operational IT infrastructure for headquarters and Seid offices. Hire
and manage a team of systems administrators, engineers and administrative staff
Manage logistics of IT assets and provision of ГГ services. Design, implement and
manage server form facility. Oversee the technical support helpdesk and participate as a
final internal escalation point as needed. Manage discrete projects as required. Negotiate
vendor contracts and purchases. Assist CTO in technology budget and planning. Assist
DBA’s where needed with queries and troubleshooting. Manage technology reduction
and relocation activities.

Community ГГ Innovators

Senior Systems Engineer - Systems Teem Lead Washington, DC April 1999-August 2006

Work with end user groups to evaluate and solve technical problems. Evaluate existing
systems and user needs to analyze, design, recommend, and implement system changes.
Familiar with a variety of concepts, beet practices, and procedures. Use experience and
judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Use experience and judgment to accomplish
client goals with creative solutions and disciplined independent practice. Maintain
multiple client networks and relationships simultaneously. Manage multiple teams of
technical employees. Serve as engineering team lead. Lead Engineer on multi-server and
campus network installs.

Systems Administrator


UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business Washington, DCMay 2007
Master of business administration

Emory University BA in Political Science Atlanta, GA May 1998


MCSE NT and 2000 Certified, CCNA Certified, A+ Certified, CCA Certified


Community IT Innovators: “Top Techie, Eagle Scout


Supplement 3: Additional information from Wikipedia

Adapted from Wikipedia article Hillary Clinton email controversy

In March 2015, it became publicly known that Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as United States Secretary of State, had exclusively used her family's private email server for official communications, rather than official State Department email accounts maintained on federal servers. Those official communications included thousands of emails that would later be marked classified by the State Department retroactively.[1]

Debate continues as to the propriety and legality of various aspects of Secretary Clinton's arrangement. Some experts, officials, and members of Congress have contended that her use of private messaging system software and a private server, violated State Department protocols and procedures, as well as federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping. In response, Clinton has said that her use of personal email was in compliance with federal laws and State Department regulations, and that former secretaries of state had also maintained personal email accounts.

Nearly 2,100 emails on the server were retroactively marked as classified by the State Department, including 65 emails deemed "Secret" and 22 deemed "Top Secret". Government policy, reiterated in the non-disclosure agreement signed by Clinton as part of gaining her security clearance, is that sensitive information should be considered and handled as classified even if not marked as such. After allegations were raised that some of the emails in question fell into this category, an investigation was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding how classified information was handled on the Clinton server.

In May 2016 the State Department's Office of the Inspector General released an 83-page report about the State Department's email practices, including Clinton's, but the FBI had not done so. The controversy continues against the backdrop of Clinton's 2016 presidential election campaign and hearings held by the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi.


BlackBerry phones

Prior to her appointment as Secretary of State, Clinton and her circle of friends and colleagues communicated via BlackBerry phones.[2] State Department security personnel suggested this would pose a security risk during her tenure.[3] The email account used on Clinton's BlackBerry was then hosted on a private server in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, but that information was not disclosed to State Department security personnel or senior State Department personnel.[4] It proved impractical to find a solution, even after consulting the National Security Agency, which would not have allowed Clinton to use her BlackBerry, or a similarly unsecured device, linked to a private server in her home.[5] Setting up a secure desktop computer in her office was suggested, but Clinton was unfamiliar with their use [6] and opted for the convenience of her BlackBerry,[7] not the State Department, government protocol of a secured desktop computer. Efforts to find a secure solution were abandoned by Clinton,[5] and Clinton was warned by State Department security personnel about the vulnerability of an unsecured BlackBerry to hacking.[8] She affirmed her knowledge of the danger, and was reportedly told that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security had obtained intelligence about Clinton's vulnerability while she was on a trip to Asia, but continued to use her BlackBerry outside her office.[9]

Domain names and email server

At the time of Senate confirmation hearings on Hillary Clinton's nomination as Secretary of State, the domain names,, and were registered to Eric Hoteham,[10] with the home of Clinton and her husband in Chappaqua, New York, as the contact address.[11][12] The domains were pointed to a private email server that Clinton (who never had a email account) used to send and receive email, and which was purchased and installed in the Clintons' home for her 2008 presidential campaign.[13][14]

The email server was located in the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York until 2013, when it was sent to a data center in New Jersey before being handed over to Platte River Networks, a Denver-based information technology firm that Clinton hired to manage her email system.[15][16][17][18][19] Datto, Inc., which provided data backup service for Clinton's email, agreed to give the FBI the hardware that stored the backups.[20] As of May 2016, no answer had been provided to the public as to whether 31,000 emails deleted by Hillary Clinton as personal have been or could be recovered.[21]

Initial awareness

As early as 2009, officials with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) expressed concerns over possible violations of normal federal government record-keeping procedures at the Department of State under Secretary Clinton.[22]

In December 2012, near the end of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, a nonprofit group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a FOIA request seeking records about her email. CREW received a response in May 2013: “no records responsive to your request were located.”[23] Emails sent to Clinton's private address were first discovered in March 2013, when a hacker named "Guccifer" widely distributed emails sent to Clinton from Sidney Blumenthal, which Guccifer obtained by illegally accessing Blumenthal's email account.[24][25][26] The emails dealt with the 2012 Benghazi attack and other issues in Libya and revealed the existence of her address.[24][25][26] Blumenthal did not have a security clearance when he received material from Clinton that has since been characterized as classified by the State Department.[27][28]

In the summer of 2014, lawyers from the State Department noticed a number of emails from Clinton's personal account, while reviewing documents requested by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. A request by the State Department for additional emails led to negotiations with her lawyers and advisors. In October, the State Department sent letters to Clinton and all previous Secretaries of State back to Madeleine Albright requesting emails and documents related to their work while in office. On Dec. 5, 2014, Clinton lawyers delivered 12 file boxes filled with printed paper containing more than 30,000 emails. Clinton withheld almost 32,000 emails deemed to be of a personal nature.[23]

A March 2, 2015 New York Times article broke the story that the Benghazi panel had discovered that Clinton exclusively used her own private email server rather than a government-issued one throughout her time as Secretary of State, and that her aides took no action to preserve emails sent or received from her personal accounts as required by law.[29][30][31] At that point, Clinton announced that she had asked the State Department to release her emails.[32] Some in the media labeled the controversy "emailgate".[33][34][35]

Use of private server for government business

According to Clinton's spokesperson Nick Merrill, a number of government officials have used private email accounts for official business, including secretaries of state before Clinton.[36] State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said that: "For some historical context, Secretary Kerry is the first secretary of state to rely primarily on a email account."[29] John Wonderlich, a transparency advocate with the Sunlight Foundation, observed while many government officials used private email accounts, their use of private email servers was much rarer.[37] Dan Metcalfe, a former head of the Justice Department's Office of Information and Privacy, said this gave her even tighter control over her emails by not involving a third party such as Google and helped prevent their disclosure by Congressional subpoena. He added: "She managed successfully to insulate her official emails, categorically, from the FOIA, both during her tenure at State and long after her departure from it — perhaps forever", making it "a blatant circumvention of the FOIA by someone who unquestionably knows better".[29][38]

According to Department spokesperson Harf, use by government officials of personal email for government business is permissible under the Federal Records Act, so long as relevant official communications, including all work-related emails, are preserved by the agency.[29] The Act (which was amended in late 2014 after Clinton left office to require that personal emails be transferred to government servers within 20 days) requires agencies to retain all official communications, including all work-related emails, and stipulates that government employees cannot destroy or remove relevant records.[29] NARA regulations dictate how records should be created and maintained, require that they must be maintained "by the agency" and "readily found", and that the records must "make possible a proper scrutiny by the Congress".[29] Section 1924 of Title 18 of the United States Code addresses the deletion and retention of classified documents, under which "knowingly" removing or housing classified information at an "unauthorized location" is subject to a fine, or up to a year in prison.[29]

Experts such as Metcalfe agree that these practices are allowed by federal law assuming that the material is not supposed to be classified,[36][39] or at least these practices are allowed in case of emergencies,[30] but they discourage these practices, believing that official email accounts should be used.[29] Jason R. Baron, the former head of litigation at NARA, described the practice as "highly unusual" but not a violation of the law. In a separate interview, he said, "It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario—short of nuclear winter—where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business."[30][40][41] Baron told the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2015 that "any employee's decision to conduct all email correspondence through a private email network, using a address, is inconsistent with long-established policies and practices under the Federal Records Act and NARA regulations governing all federal agencies."[42]

May 2016 report from State Department's inspector general

In May 2016, the Department's Office of the Inspector General Steve Linick released an 83-page report about the State Department's email practices.[43][44][45] The Inspector General was unable to find evidence that Clinton had ever sought approval from the State Department staff for her use of a private email server, determining that if Clinton had sought approval, Department staff would have declined her setup because of the "security risks in doing so".[43] Aside from security risks, the report stated that, "she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,"[46] The report also stated that, unlike the other Secretaries of State involved, she and her aides refused to cooperate with the investigation.[43] Each of these findings contradicted what Clinton and her aides had been saying up to that point.[47][48][49]

The report also reviewed the practices of several previous Secretaries of State and concluded that the Department's recordkeeping practices were subpar for many years.[43] The Inspector General criticized Clinton's use of private email for Department business, concluding that it was "not an appropriate method" of document preservation and did not follow Department policies that aim to comply with federal record laws.[43] The report also criticized Colin Powell, who used a personal email account for business, saying that this violated some of the same Department policies.[43] State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the report emphasized the need for federal agencies to adapt "decades-old record-keeping practices to the email-dominated modern era" and said that the Department's record-retention practices had been improved under the current Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Clinton's successor.[43] The report also notes that the rules for preserving work-related emails were updated in 2009.[50]

Inspector General Linick wrote that he "found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton's personal system", and also found that multiple State employees who raised concerns regarding Clinton's server were told that the Office of the Legal Adviser had approved it, and were further told to "never speak of the Secretary's personal email system again".[51][52][53][54]

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon issued a statement saying: "The report shows that problems with the State Department's electronic record-keeping systems were long-standing" and that Clinton "took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records."[43] However, the Associated Press said, "The audit did note that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had also exclusively used a private email account.... But the failings of Clinton were singled out in the audit as being more serious than her predecessor."[55] The report stated that "By Secretary Clinton's tenure, the department's guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated, Secretary Clinton's cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives."[55]

Server security and hacking attempts

In 2008, before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, managed the system. Cooper had no security clearance or expertise in computer security.[56] Later, Bryan Pagliano, the former IT director for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, was hired to maintain their private email server while Clinton was Secretary of State.[57][58] Pagliano had invoked the Fifth Amendment during congressional questioning about Clinton's server. In early 2016, he was granted immunity by the Department of Justice in exchange for cooperation with prosecutors.[59] A Clinton spokesman said her campaign was "pleased" Pagliano was now cooperating with prosecutors.[60] As of May 2016, the State Department remained unable to locate most of Pagliano's work-related emails from the period when he was employed by that department under Secretary Clinton.[61]

Security experts such as Chris Soghoian believe that emails to and from Clinton may have been at risk of hacking and foreign surveillance.[62] Marc Maiffret, a cybersecurity expert, said that the server had "amateur hour" vulnerabilities.[63] For the first two months after Clinton was appointed Secretary of State and began accessing mail on the server through her Blackberry, transmissions to and from the server were apparently not encrypted. On March 29, 2009 a “digital certificate" was obtained which would have permitted encryption.[9]

Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael T. Flynn,[64] former United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates,[65][66] and former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Morell[67][68] have said that it is likely that foreign governments were able to access the information on Clinton's server. Michael Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency said "I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren't sitting back, paging through the emails."[69]

Clinton's server was configured to allow users to connect openly from the Internet and control it remotely using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services.[63] It is known that hackers in Russia were aware of Clinton's non-public email address as early as 2011.[70] It is also known that Secretary Clinton and her staff were aware of hacking attempts in 2011, and were worried about them.[71]

In 2012, according to server records, a hacker in Serbia scanned Clinton's Chappaqua server at least twice, in August and in December 2012. It was unclear whether the hacker knew the server belonged to Clinton, although it did identify itself as providing email services for[63] During 2014, Clinton's server was the target of repeated intrusions originating in Germany, China, and South Korea. Threat monitoring software on the server blocked at least five such attempts. The software was installed in October 2013, and for three months prior to that, no such software had been installed.[72][73]

According to Pagliano, security logs of Clinton's email server showed no evidence of successful hacking.[74] The New York Times reported that "forensic experts can sometimes spot sophisticated hacking that is not apparent in the logs, but computer security experts view logs as key documents when detecting hackers," adding the logs "bolster Mrs. Clinton's assertion that her use of a personal email account [...] did not put American secrets into the hands of hackers or foreign governments.[62][74][75]

Romanian cab driver and part-time hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar ("Guccifer") claimed he successfully hacked Clinton's server, but to date has provided no proof of this particular claim.[76] In 2013, Lazar distributed private memos from Sydney Blumenthal to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton involving recent events in Libya [77][78]

Lazar was extradited to U.S. Court from Romanian custody on January 22, 2016, citied with hacking "into the email and social media accounts of high-profile victims, including a family member of two former U.S. presidents, a former U.S. Cabinet member, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former presidential advisor"[79] Lazar's plea agreement may require him to tell the truth to federal prosecutors, making it difficult for him to boast without being able to support it.[80]

Anonymous officials associated with the investigation claim to have found no evidence to support Lazar's assertion.[81] Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon said "There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell."[82][83]

On May 25, 2016, Lazar pled guilty in U.S. federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to two unrelated hacking charges arising from his breach of the email servers of other prominent Americans.[84][85]

Classified information in emails

In various interviews, Clinton has said that "I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified."[1]

According to the State Department, there were 2,093 email chains on the server that were retroactively marked as classified by the State Department. Sixty-five of those emails were found to contain information classified as "Secret"; more than 20 contained "Top-Secret" information; and the rest contained "Confidential" information.[86][87]

Of the 2,100 emails, Clinton personally wrote 104 and her aides wrote hundreds more.[43][88]

A main point of contention in the controversy is if Clinton passed information through her mail server that was classified at the time, which would be improper because it was a private, non-secured channel.[89] In June 2016, Fox News reported that one email received by Clinton contained classified "portion markings", marking part of the email as classified at the time received.[90]

Inspector general reports and statements

A June 29, 2015 memorandum from the inspector general (IG) of the State Department, Steve A. Linick, said that a review of the 55,000-page email release found "hundreds of potentially classified emails".[91] A July 17, 2015 follow-up memo, sent jointly by Linick and the Intelligence Community (IC) inspector general, I. Charles McCullough III, to Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, stated that they had confirmed that several of the emails contained classified information that was not marked as classified, at least one of which was publicly released.[91] On July 24, 2015, Linick and McCullough said they had discovered classified information on Clinton's email account,[92] but did not say whether Clinton sent or received the emails.[92] Investigators from their office, searching a randomly chosen sample of 40 emails, found four that contained classified information that originated from U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).[92] Their statement said that the information they found was classified when sent, remained so as of their inspection, and "never should have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system".[92]

In a separate statement in the form of a letter to Congress, McCullough said that he had made a request to the State Department for access to the entire set of emails turned over by Clinton, but that the Department rejected his request.[92][93] The letter stated that none of the emails were marked as classified, but because they included classified information they should have been marked and handled as such, and transmitted securely.[93]

On August 10, 2015, the IC inspector general said that two of the 40 emails in the sample were "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information" and subsequently given classified labels of "TK" (for "Talent Keyhole", indicating material obtained by spy satellites) and NOFORN.[94] One is a discussion of a news article about a U.S. drone strike operation.[94] The second, he said, either referred to classified material or else was "parallel reporting" of open-source intelligence, which would also be classified.[94][95] Clinton's presidential campaign and the State Department disputed the letter, and questioned whether the emails had been over-classified by an arbitrary process. According to an unnamed source, a secondary review by the CIA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency endorsed the earlier inspectors general findings concluding that the emails (one of which concerned North Korea's nuclear weapons program) were "Top Secret" when received by Clinton through her private server in 2009 and 2011, a conclusion also disputed by the Clinton campaign.[96]

The IC inspector general issued another letter to Congress on January 14, 2016. In this letter he stated that an unnamed intelligence agency had made a sworn declaration that "several dozen emails [had been] determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, and TOP SECRET/SAP levels." Other intelligence officials added that the several dozen were not the two emails from the previous sample and that the clearance of the IC inspector general himself had to be upgraded before he could learn about the programs referenced by the emails.[97][98][99]

On January 29, 2016, the State Department announced that 22 documents from Clinton's email server would not be released because they contained highly classified information that was too sensitive for public consumption. At the same time, the State Department announced that it was initiating its own investigation into whether the server contained information that was classified at the time it was sent or received.[100]

In February 2016, State Department IG Linick addressed another report to Under Secretary of State Kennedy, stating his office had also found classified material in 10 emails in the personal email accounts of members of former Secretary Condoleezza Rice's staff and in two emails in the personal email account of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.[101][102] None of the emails were classified for intelligence reasons.[103] PolitiFact found a year earlier that Powell was the only former secretary of state to use a personal email account.[104] In February 2016, Clinton's campaign chairman issued a statement claiming that her emails, like her predecessors', were "being inappropriately subjected to over-classification."[101][105]

FBI investigation

The State Department and Intelligence Community (IC) inspector generals' discovery of four emails containing classified information, out of a random sample of 40, prompted them to make a security referral to the FBI's counterintelligence office, to alert authorities that classified information was being kept on Clinton's server and by her lawyer on a thumb drive.[92][93] As part of an FBI probe at the request of the IC inspector general, Clinton agreed to turn over her email server to the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as thumb drives containing copies of her work-related emails. Other emails were obtained by the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi from other sources, in connection with the committee's inquiry. Clinton's own emails are being made public in stages by the State Department on a gradual schedule.[106][107][108]

Clinton's IT contractors turned over her personal email server to the FBI on August 12, 2015,[19] as well as thumb drives containing copies of her emails.[109][110] In a letter describing the matter to Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Clinton's lawyer David E. Kendall said that emails, and all other data stored on the server, had earlier been erased prior to the device being turned over to the authorities, and that both he and another lawyer had been given security clearances by the State Department to handle thumb drives containing about 30,000 emails that Clinton subsequently also turned over to authorities.[111] Kendall said the thumb drives had been stored in a safe provided to him in July by the State Department.[111][111]

On August 20, 2015, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan stated that Hillary Clinton's actions of maintaining a private email server were in direct conflict with U.S. government policy. "We wouldn't be here today if this employee had followed government policy," he said, and ordered the State Department to work with the FBI to determine if any emails on the server during her tenure as Secretary of State could be recovered.[112][113][114] Platte River Networks, the Denver-based firm that managed the Clinton server since 2013, said it had no knowledge of the server being wiped, and indicated that the emails that Clinton has said were deleted could likely be recovered. "Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped," company spokesman Andy Boian told the Washington Post. "All the information we have is that the server wasn't wiped."[115] When asked by the Washington Post, the Clinton campaign declined to comment.[115]

In September 2015, FBI investigators were engaged in sorting messages recovered from the server.[116] In November 2015, the FBI expanded its inquiry to examine whether Clinton or her aides jeopardized national security secrets, and if so, who should be held responsible.[117][118]

Conflicting media sources sized the FBI investigation from 12[119] to 30 agents[120] as of March 2016.

In May 2016, FBI Director James Comey said that Clinton's description of the probe as a "security inquiry" was inaccurate saying "It's in our name. I'm not familiar with the term 'security inquiry'" and "We're conducting an investigation ... That's what we do".[121]

Journalists and experts

According to the New York Times, if Clinton was a recipient of classified emails, "it is not clear that she would have known that they contained government secrets, since they were not marked classified."[1][92] The newspaper also reported that "most specialists believe the occasional appearance of classified information in the Clinton account was probably of marginal consequence."[13] Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said that inadvertent "spillage" of classified information into an unclassified realm is a common occurrence.[13]

An August 2015 review by Reuters of a set of released emails found "at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails," that include what the State Department identifies as "foreign government information," defined by the U.S. government as "any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts."[1] Although unmarked, Reuters' examination appeared to suggest that these emails "were classified from the start."[1] J. William Leonard, a former director of the NARA Information Security Oversight Office, said that such information is "born classified" and that "If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it's in U.S. channels and U.S. possession."[1] According to Reuters, the standard U.S. government nondisclosure agreement "warns people authorized to handle classified information that it may not be marked that way and that it may come in oral form."[1] The State Department "disputed Reuters' analysis" but declined to elaborate.[1]

The Associated Press reported that "Some officials said they believed the designations were a stretch—a knee-jerk move in a bureaucracy rife with over-classification."[94] Jeffrey Toobin, in an August 2015 New Yorker article, wrote that the Clinton email affair is an illustration of over classification, a problem written about by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his book Secrecy: The American Experience.[89] Toobin writes that "government bureaucracies use classification rules to protect turf, to avoid embarrassment, to embarrass rivals—in short, for a variety of motives that have little to do with national security."[89] Toobin wrote that "It's not only the public who cannot know the extent or content of government secrecy. Realistically, government officials can’t know either—and this is Hillary Clinton's problem.[89] Toobin noted that "one of Clinton's potentially classified email exchanges is nothing more than a discussion of a newspaper story about drones" and wrote: "That such a discussion could be classified underlines the absurdity of the current system. But that is the system that exists, and if and when the agencies determine that she sent or received classified information through her private server, Clinton will be accused of mishandling national-security secrets."[89]

Richard Lempert, in an analysis of the Clinton email controversy published by the Brookings Institution, wrote that "security professionals have a reputation for erring in the direction of overclassification."[122] Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, says that "The odds are good that any classified information in the Clinton emails should not have been classified," since an estimated 50 percent to 90 percent of classified documents could be made public without risking national security.[122] Nate Jones, an expert with the National Security Archive at George Washington University, said: "Clinton's mistreatment of federal records and the intelligence community's desire to retroactively overclassify are two distinct troubling problems. No politician is giving the right message: Blame Clinton for poor records practices, but don't embrace overclassification while you do it."[122]

Responses and analysis

Clinton's response

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill defended Clinton's use of the personal server and email accounts as being in compliance with the "letter and spirit of the rules." Clinton herself stated that she had done so only as a matter of "convenience."[123]

On March 10, 2015, while attending a conference at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, Clinton spoke with reporters for about 20 minutes.[124] Clinton said that she had used a private email for convenience, "because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two."[125][126] It was later determined that Clinton had used both an iPad and a BlackBerry while Secretary of State.[125][127][128][129]

Clinton turned over copies of 30,000 State Department business-related emails from her private server that belonged in the public domain; she later explained that instructed her lawyer to err on the side of disclosure, turning over any emails that might be work-related. Her aides subsequently deleted about 31,000 emails from the server dated during the same time period that Clinton regarded as personal and private.[130][131][132]

In a court filing in September 2015, attorneys from the United States Department of Justice Civil Division wrote that Clinton had the right to delete personal emails, noting that under federal guidelines: "There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server. Under policies issue both by the National Archives and Records Administration and the State Department, individual officers and employees are permitted and expected to exercise judgment to determine what constitutes a federal record."[132][133]

Clinton has used humor to shrug off the scandal.[134][135][136] In August 2015, when asked by a reporter whether she had "wiped" her server, Clinton laughed and said: "What? Like with a cloth or something? I don't know how it works digitally at all."[137] In September 2015, Clinton was asked in an interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show about the content of the emails. She laughed it off, saying there was nothing interesting and joking that she was offended people found her emails 'boring'.[138]

Democratic response

In August 2015, the New York Times reported on "interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members" on the email issue.[139] The Times reported that "None of the Democrats interviewed went so far as to suggest that the email issue raised concerns about Mrs. Clinton's ability to serve as president, and many expressed a belief that it had been manufactured by Republicans in Congress and other adversaries."[139] At the same time, many Democratic leaders showed increasing frustration among party leaders of Clinton's handling of the email issue.[139] For example, Edward G. Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania, a Clinton supporter, said that a failure of the Clinton campaign to get ahead of the issue early on meant that the campaign was "left just playing defense."[139] Other prominent Democrats, such as Governor Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, were less concerned, noting that the campaign was at an early stage and that attacks on Clinton were to be expected.[139]

At the October 2015 primary debate, Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, defended Clinton, saying: "Let me say this. Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" Clinton responded: "Thank you. Me too. Me too." Clinton and Sanders shook hands on stage.[140][141] According to the Los Angeles Times: "The crowd went wild. So did the Internet."[140][141] Sanders later clarified that he thinks Clinton's emails is a "very serious issue",[142] but that he thinks Americans want a discussion on issues that are "real" to them, such as paid family and medical leave, college affordability, and campaign finance reform[141]

Republican response

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said, in a statement regarding the June 30 email releases, "These emails ... are just the tip of the iceberg, and we will never get full disclosure until Hillary Clinton releases her secret server for an independent investigation."[143] Gowdy, a Republican, said on June 29, 2015 that he would press the State Department for a fuller accounting of Clinton’s emails, after the Benghazi panel obtained 15 additional emails to Sidney Blumenthal that the department had not provided to the Committee.[144]

On September 12, 2015, Republican Senators Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson, chairmen of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, respectively, said they will seek an independent review of the deleted emails, if they are recovered from Clinton's server, to determine if there are any government related items among those deleted.[115] The Justice Department (DOJ), on behalf of the State Department has argued that personal emails are not federal records, that courts lack the jurisdiction to demand their preservation, and defended Clinton's email practices in a court filing on September 9, 2015. DOJ lawyers argued that federal employees, including Clinton, are allowed to discard personal emails provided they preserve those pertaining to public business. "There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision—she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server," the DOJ lawyers wrote in their filing.[115]

Later responses by Clinton

Clinton's responses to the question, made during her presidential campaign, have evolved over time.[89][145] Clinton initially said that there was no classified material on her server.[89] Later, after a government review discovered some of her emails contained classified information, she said she never sent or received information that was marked classified.[89] Her campaign also said that other emails contained information that is now classified, but was retroactively classified by U.S. intelligence agencies after Clinton had received the material.[146] See also the section above on the May 2016 IG report for a number of Clinton statements that were contradicted by the report, and how she and her supporters responded afterwards.

Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said: "She was at worst a passive recipient of unwitting information that subsequently became deemed as classified."[146] Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri has "stressed that Clinton was permitted to use her own email account as a government employee and that the same process concerning classification reviews would still be taking place had she used the standard '' email account used by most department employees."[94][147] Palmieri later stated: "Look, this kind of nonsense comes with the territory of running for president. We know it, Hillary knows it, and we expect it to continue from now until Election Day."[15]

In her first national interview of the 2016 presidential race, on July 7, 2015, Clinton was asked by CNN's Brianna Keilar about her use of private email accounts while serving as Secretary of State. She said:

Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing…. Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.[148]

On September 9, 2015, Clinton apologized during an ABC News interview for using the private server, saying she was "sorry for that."[149]

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press on September 27, 2015, Clinton defended her use of the private email server while she was secretary of state, comparing the investigations to Republican-led probes of her husband's presidential administration more than two decades ago, saying, "It is like a drip, drip, drip. And that's why I said, there's only so much that I can control".[150]

Clinton and the State Department said the emails were not marked classified when sent. However, Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement which stated that classified material may be "marked or unmarked".[151][152][153][154] Additionally, the author of an email is legally required to properly mark it as classified if it contains classified material, and to avoid sending classified material on a personal device, such as the ones used exclusively by Clinton.[155]

Comparisons and media coverage

Media commentators have drawn comparisons of Clinton's email usage to past political controversies.[156] Pacific Standard Magazine published an article in May 2015, comparing email controversy and her response to it with the Whitewater investigation 20 years earlier.[157]

In August 2015, Washington Post associate editor and investigative journalist Bob Woodward, when asked about Clinton's handling of her emails, said "they remind him of the Nixon tapes" from the Watergate scandal.[158] On March 9, 2015, columnist Dana Milbank wrote that the email affair was a "a needless, self-inflicted wound" brought about by "debilitating caution" in "trying to make sure an embarrassing e-mail or two didn't become public," which led to "obsessive secrecy." Milibank pointed out that Clinton herself had justifiably criticized the George W. Bush administration in 2007 for its "secret" White House email accounts.[159]

On Fox News Sunday, political analyst Juan Williams contrasted the media coverage of Clinton's emails to the coverage of the 2007 Bush White House email controversy.[160]

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an editorial saying that "the only believable reason for the private server in her basement was to keep her emails out of the public eye by willfully avoiding freedom of information laws. No president, no secretary of state, no public official at any level is above the law. She chose to ignore it, and must face the consequences."[161][162] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry wrote in The Week that "Clinton set up a personal email server, in defiance or at least circumvention of rules, with the probable motive of evading federal records and transparency requirements, and did it with subpar security. "[163]

House Select Committee on Benghazi

On March 27, 2015, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi , asserted that some time after October 2014, Clinton "unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean" and "summarily decided to delete all emails."[164][165] Clinton's attorney, David E. Kendall, said that day that an examination showed that no copies of any of Clinton's emails remained on the server. Kendall said the server was reconfigured to only retain emails for 60 days after Clinton lawyers had decided which emails needed to be turned over.[166]

Subpoenas for State Department testimony

On June 22, 2015, the Benghazi panel released emails between Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal, who had been recently deposed by the committee. Committee chairman Gowdy issued a press release criticizing Clinton for not providing the emails to the State Department.[167] Clinton had said she provided all work-related emails to the State Department, and that only emails of a personal nature on her private server were destroyed. The State Department confirmed that 10 emails and parts of five others from Sidney Blumenthal regarding Benghazi, which the Committee had made public on June 22, could not be located in the Department's records, but that the 46 other, previously unreleased Libya-related Blumenthal emails published by the Committee, were in the Department's records. In response, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill, when asked about the discrepancy said: "She has turned over 55,000 pages of materials to the State Department, including all emails in her possession from Mr. Blumenthal."[168]

Republican Committee members were encouraged about their probe, having found emails that Clinton did not produce.[168][169] Clinton campaign staff accused Gowdy and Republicans of "clinging to their invented scandal."[169]

Allegations of politicization

In response to comments made on September 29, 2015 by House Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about damaging Clinton's poll numbers,[170] Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi threatened to end the Democrats' participation in the committee.[171][172][173] Representative Louise Slaughter introduced an amendment to disband the committee, which was defeated in a party-line vote.[174] On October 7, the editorial board of The New York Times called for the end of the committee.[175] Representative Alan Grayson took step towards filing an ethics complaint, calling the committee "the new McCarthyism" and alleging that it violates both House rules and federal law by using official funds for political purposes.[176] Richard L. Hanna, a Republican representative from New York,[177] and conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly acknowledged the partisan nature of the committee.[178]

Clinton's testimony at public hearing

House Select Committee on Benghazi -- Hillary Clinton public hearing

On October 22, 2015, Clinton testified before the Committee and answered members' questions for eleven hours before the Committee in a public hearing.[179][179][180][181]

The New York Times reported that "the long day of often-testy exchanges between committee members and their prominent witness revealed little new information about an episode that has been the subject of seven previous investigations...Perhaps stung by recent admissions that the pursuit of Mrs. Clinton's emails was politically motivated, Republican lawmakers on the panel for the most part avoided any mention of her use of a private email server."[179] The email issue did arise shortly before lunch, in "a shouting match" between Republican committee chair Trey Gowdy and two Democrats, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings.[179] Late in the hearing, Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, accused Clinton of changing her accounts of the email service, leading to a "heated exchange" in which Clinton "repeated that she had made a mistake in using a private email account, but maintained that she had never sent or received anything marked classified and had sought to be transparent by publicly releasing her emails."[179]

Freedom of Information lawsuits

Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State

Judicial Watch, a nonprofit advocacy organization, filed a complaint against the Department of State in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 10, 2013, seeking records under the federal Freedom of Information Act relating to Clinton aide Huma Abedin (a former deputy chief of staff and former senior advisor at the State Department).[182][183] Judicial Watch was particularly interested in Abedin's role as a "special government employee" (SGE), a consulting position which allowed her to represent outside clients while also serving at the State Department.[182] After corresponding with the State Department, Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss its lawsuit on March 14, 2014.[182] On March 12, 2015, in response to the uncovering of Clinton's private email account, it filed a motion to reopen the suit, alleging that the State Department had misrepresented its search and had not properly preserved and maintained records under the act.[182] U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted the motion to reopen the case on June 19, 2015.[184][185]

On July 21, 2015, Judge Sullivan issued supplemental discovery orders, including one that Clinton, Abedin, and former Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Mills disclose any required information they had not disclosed already, and promise under oath that they had done so, including a description of the extent Abedin and Mills had used Clinton's email server for official government business.[186][187] On August 10, 2015, Clinton filed her declaration, stating "I have directed that all my emails on in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State", and that as a result of this directive, 55,000 pages of emails were produced to the Department on December 5, 2014.[188][189][190] Clinton also said in her statement that Abedin did have an email account through that "was used at times for government business", but that Mills did not.[188][189][190] The statement was filed as Clinton faced questions over fifteen emails in exchanges with Blumenthal that were not among the emails she gave to the department the previous year.[189] She did not address the matter of those emails in the statement.[189] On September 25, 2015, several additional emails from her private server[191] surfaced that she had not provided to the State Department.[191][192][193] These emails between Clinton and General David Petraeus, discussing personnel matters, were part of an email chain that started on a different email account before her tenure as Secretary of State,[191][192][193] but continued onto her private server[191] in late January 2009 after she had taken office.[191][192][193] The existence of these emails also called into question Clinton's previous statement that she did not use the server before March 18, 2009.[194]

In February 2016, Judge Sullivan issued a discovery order in the case, ruling that depositions of State Department officials and top Clinton aides were to proceed.[195] On May 26, 2016, Judicial Watch released the transcript of the deposition of Lewis Lukens,[196] on May 31, 2016, the transcript of Cheryl Mills,[197] on June 7, 2016, the transcript of Ambassador Stephen Mull,[198] and on June 9, 2016, Karin Lang, Director of Executive Secretariat Staff.[199] The testimony of Clarence Finney, who worked in the department responsible for FOIA searches, said that he first became curious about Clinton's email setup after seeing the Texts from Hillary meme on the Internet.[200]

Jason Leopold v. U.S. Department of State

In November 2014, Jason Leopold of Vice News made a Freedom of Information Act request for Clinton's State Department records,[201][202] and, on January 25, 2015, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to compel production of resposive documents.[201][202][203] After some dispute between Leopold and the State Department over the request, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered rolling production and release of the emails on a schedule set by the State Department.[204][205][206]

Over the next several months, the State Department completed production of 30,068 emails, which were released in 14 batches, with the final batch released on February 29, 2016.[207] Both the Wall Street Journal and Wikileaks independently set up search engines for anyone who would like to search through the Clinton emails released by the State Department.[208][209]

The emails showed that Blumenthal communicated with Clinton while Secretary on a variety of issues including Benghazi.[143][210][211][212]

Associated Press v. U.S. Department of State

On March 11, 2015, the day after Clinton acknowledged her private email account, the Associated Press (AP) filed suit against the State Department regarding multiple FOIA requests over the past five years. The requests were for various emails and other documents from Clinton's time as secretary of state and were still unfulfilled at the time.[213][214][215] The State Department said that a high volume of FOIA requests and a large backlog had caused the delay.[213][216]

On July 20, 2015, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon reacted angrily to what he said was "the State Department for four years dragging their feet".[216] Leon said that "even the least ambitious bureaucrat" could process the request faster than the State Department was doing.[217] On August 7, 2015, Leon issued an order setting a stringent schedule for the State Department to provide the AP with the requested documents over the next eight months.[215] The order issued by Leon did not include the 55,000 pages of Clinton emails the State Department scheduled to be released in the Leopold case, or take into account 20 boxes given to the State Department by Philippe Reines, a former Clinton senior adviser.[215]

Other suits and coordination of email cases

In September 2015, the State Department filed a motion in court seeking to consolidate and coordinate the large number of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits relating to Clinton and Clinton-related emails. There were at the time at least three dozen lawsuits are pending, before 17 different judges.[218][219]

In an U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia order issued on October 8, 2015, Chief U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts wrote that the cases did not meet the usual criteria for consolidation but: "The judges who have been randomly assigned to these cases have been and continue to be committed to informal coordination so as to avoid unnecessary inefficiencies and confusion, and the parties are also urged to meet and confer to assist in coordination."[219]

In 2015, Judicial Watch and the Cause of Action Institute filed two lawsuits seeking a court order to compel the Department of State and the National Archives and Records Administration to recover emails from Clinton's server. In January 2016, these two suits (which were consolidated because they involved the same issues) were dismissed as moot by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, because the government was already working to recover and preserve these emails.[220]

In March 2016, the Republican National Committee filed four new complaints in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia stemming from Freedom of Information Act requests it had filed the previous year. These new filings brought the total number of civil suits over access to Clinton's records pending in federal court to at least 38.[221]

In June 2016, in response to the Republican National Committee's complaints filed on March 2016, the State Department claims it will take 75 years to complete the review of documents which are responsive to the complaints.[222] It has been observed that a delay of this nature would cause the documents to remain out of public view longer than the vast majority of classified documents which must be declassified after 25 years.

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The court also authorized Judicial Watch to seek the testimony of the following witnesses:
  1. Stephen D. Mull (Executive Secretary of the State Department from June 2009 to October 2012 and suggested that Mrs. Clinton be issued a State Department BlackBerry, which would protect her identity and would also be subject to FOIA requests);
  2. Lewis A. Lukens (Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat from 2008 to 2011 and emailed with Patrick Kennedy and Cheryl Mills about setting up a computer for Mrs. Clinton to check her email account); Lewis Luken’s deposition is HERE
  3. Patrick F. Kennedy (Under Secretary for Management since 2007 and the Secretary of State’s principal advisor on management issues, including technology and information services);
  4. 30(b)(6) deposition(s) of Defendant regarding the processing of FOIA requests, including Plaintiff’s FOIA request, for emails of Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin both during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and after; The deposition transcript is available here.
  5. Cheryl D. Mills (Mrs. Clinton’s Chief of Staff throughout her four years as Secretary of State); Cheryl Mills deposition is HERE
  6. Huma Abedin (Mrs. Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff and a senior advisor to Mrs. Clinton throughout her four years as Secretary of State and also had an email account on; The deposition transcript is available here.
  7. Bryan Pagliano (State Department Schedule C employee who has been reported to have serviced and maintained the server that hosted the “” system during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State);

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Media attempts to suppress the scandal

  • Good Morning America: NYT Report "Raises Questions About" Clinton's "Security And Transparency." During a March 3 report on ABC's Good Morning America, host George Stephanopoulos asserted that the Times report on Clinton's use of personal email "raises questions about" Clinton's "security and transparency." Network White House correspondent Jonathan Karl agreed, saying, "It sure does and it will also likely become a big issue in the upcoming presidential campaign." [ABC, Good Morning America, 3/3/15]
  • Today: Clinton's Use Of Personal Email "A Potential Political Problem" For Her. In a March 3 report for NBC's Today, network correspondent Kristen Welker reported that Clinton's use of personal email during her time as Secretary of State was a "potential political problem as she mulls a presidential run in 2016" that "plays right into the hands of her critics." [NBC, Today, 3/3/15]
  • Wash. Post: Clinton's Private Email Account "Bolster[s] Long-Standing Criticism" She Is Not "Transparent." In a March 3 report on Clinton's use of a personal email account, The Washington Post asserted that the news "appears to bolster long-standing criticism that Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have not been transparent." [The Washington Post, 3/3/15]
  • Time: Clinton "Only Used A Personal Email Account" Despite Law Requiring Emails Be "Kept On Departmental And Not Private Servers." In a March 2 post, Time asserted that Hillary Clinton had "only used a personal email account" despite a stipulation from federal law which required emails be "kept on departmental and not private servers." The post went on to claim that "Clinton's aides allegedly made no effort to upload her personal emails to the department's servers during her four-year tenure, as stipulated under the Federal Records Act." [Time, 3/2/15]
  • The Atlantic: Clinton Has "Contempt For Transparency." The Atlantic's Connor Friedersdorf asserted in a March 3 article that Clinton has a "contempt for transparency" as evidenced by "her willful, flagrant disregard for public records rules." Friedersdorf went on to allege that by using her personal account, Clinton could have hidden "whatever she wants hidden":

    There's no telling what other official or semi-official business Clinton conducted through the private email account that she seems to have begun using just before taking her cabinet job. The emails she has turned over were all chosen by Clinton and her aides, giving her an opportunity to hide whatever she wants hidden. But the episode already confirms what attentive observers have long known: if the Clintons return to the White House, we can expect more suspicious secrets, stonewalling, and opaqueness, much as we've seen in the past. Voters have been given ample warning. [The Atlantic, 3/3/15]



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