In 2000, Bill and Hillary Clinton owed millions of dollars in legal debt. Since then, they’ve earned over $130 million. Where did the money come from?
In his New York Times bestselling books Extortion and Throw Them All Out, Schweizer detailed patterns of official corruption in Washington that led to congressional resignations and new ethics laws.
In Clinton Cash, he follows the Clinton money trail, revealing the connection between their personal fortune, their “close personal friends”, the Clinton Foundation, foreign nations, and some of the highest ranks of government.
Schweizer reveals the Clinton’s troubling dealings in Kazakhstan, Colombia, Haiti, and other places at the “wild west” fringe of the global economy. In this blockbuster exposé, Schweizer merely presents the troubling facts he’s uncovered. Meticulously researched and scrupulously sourced, filled with headline-making revelations, Clinton Cash raises serious questions of judgment, of possible indebtedness to an array of foreign interests, and ultimately, of fitness for high public office.” (Clinton Cash)
(Timeline editor’s note: With many thanks to Diana West for allowing us to republish her Robert Mueller timeline in its entirety. We believe it’s important to provide information on some of the more powerful officials who are/were in charge of the various investigations we are covering in this timeline. We also intend to include career timelines on James Comey and Rod Rosenstein.)
“Robert Mueller became Director of the FBI exactly one week before 9/11. No account of his Bureau tenure is complete without underscoring his shocking obstruction of efforts to bring to light information about key cells of the Saudi-centered conspiracy and terror attacks against the United States: in San Diego, explained here by Andrew Cockburn, and in Sarasota, explained here by Dan Christensen.
From the very start, FBI Director Mueller was not one to follow evidence where it leads. Instead, as the 9/11 record shows, he was one to divert others from where evidence leads.
2001: GR: Quashes FBI investigation that might have prevented 9/11
Colleen Rowley (Credit: public domain)
Ret. FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley elaborates: “Although he bore no personal responsibility for intelligence failures before the attack, since he only became FBI Director a week before, Mueller denied or downplayed the significance of warnings that had poured in yet were all ignored or mishandled during the spring and summer of 2001. Bush administration officials had circled the wagons and refused to publicly own up to what the 9/11 Commission eventually concluded, “that the system had been blinking red.” Failures to read, share or act upon important intelligence, which a FBI agent witness termed “criminal negligence” in later trial testimony, were therefore not fixed in a timely manner. (Actually some failures were never fixed.)
2001:GR: Concurs with decision to okay exit (escape?) of Saudi persons connected to Bin Laden. As noted above, Mueller misleads, deflects, blocks scrutiny of Saudi cells in San Diego and Sarasota.
2001: Paul Sperry reported at WorldNetDaily: “Despite a shortage of Arabic translators, the FBI turned down applications for linguist jobs from nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews in New York following the World Trade Center attacks.” The New York FBI office had solicited applications from a charity working with Arab Jews, but Washington “headquarters made the final cuts.”
2001: MH: Mueller’s FBI botches “the anthrax killer case, wasting more than $100 million in taxpayer dollars, destroying the lives of multiple suspects, and chasing bad leads using bad methods.”
The FBI absolutely bungled its investigation into the Anthrax attacker who struck after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Carl Cannon goes through this story well, and it’s worth reading for how it involves both Comey and his dear ‘friend’ and current special counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI tried in the media its case against Hatfill. Their actual case ended up being thrown out by the courts.
Scooter Libby (Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
2003: Rep. Gohmert: The Framing of Scooter Libby
The entire episode was further revealed as a fraud when it was later made public that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald, FBI Director Mueller, and Deputy Attorney Comey had very early on learned that the source of Plame’s identity leak came from Richard Armitage. But neither Comey nor Mueller nor Fitzgerald wanted Armitage’s scalp. Oh no. These so-called apolitical, fair-minded pursuers of their own brand of justice were after a bigger name in the Bush administration like Vice President Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. Yet they knew from the beginning that these two men were not guilty of anything.
Nonetheless, Fitzgerald, Mueller and Comey pursued Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, as a path to ensnare the Vice President. According to multiple reports, Fitzgerald had twice offered to drop all charges against Libby if he would ‘deliver’ Cheney to him. There was nothing to deliver.
Is any of this sounding familiar? Could it be that these same tactics have been used against an innocent Gen. Mike Flynn? Could it be that Flynn only agreed to plead guilty to prevent any family members from being unjustly prosecuted and to also prevent going completely broke from attorneys’ fees? That’s the apparent Mueller-Comey-Special Counsel distinctive modus-operandi.
2004: MH: “Another black mark on Mueller’s record at the FBI was the pursuit of what the bureau dramatically claimed was an Israeli spy ring operating out of the Pentagon. … It turned out that the bureau had gone after a policy analyst who had chatted with American lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Charges were also pursued against two AIPAC employees. Those charges were later dropped and the sentence of the first person was dropped from 13 years to 10 months of house arrest and some community service.”
2006: Rep. Louie Gohmert writes in his searing 48-page brief on Mueller: “…the Robert Mueller-led FBI took horrendously unjust actions to derail Curt Weldon’s re-election bid just weeks before the vote.” After an anonymously sourced national story appeared claiming that an investigation into illegal activities by Weldon and his daughter was underway, the FBI staged a 7am raid on the home of Weldon’s daughter. All of this generated negative headlines, and Weldon lost his re-election bid — but there was no follow-up — no questioning, no grand jury, no investigation, nothing. It was all theater staged to destroy an FBI and Clinton administration critic. Jack Cashill reports here.
Gohmert writes: “Please understand what former FBI officials have told me: the FBI would NEVER go after a member of Congress, House or Senate, without the full disclosure to and blessing of the FBI Director. Even if the idea on how to silence Curt Weldon did not come from Director Mueller himself, it surely had his blessing and encouragement, though and, at best, his silence and inaction.”
Ted Stevens (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
Mueller’s FBI [put Sen. Ted] Stevens in its cross-hairs, pushing to get an indictment that came 100 days before his election, and engaging in third world dictator-type tactics to help an innocent man lose his election, after which he lost his life.
As reported by NPR, after the conviction and all truth came rolling out of the framing and conviction of Senator Stevens, the new Attorney General Eric Holder, had no choice.
He “abandoned the Stevens case in April 2009 after uncovering new and ‘disturbing’ details about the prosecution…”
Unfortunately for Ted Stevens, his conviction came only eight days before his election, which tipped the scales on a close election.
… Under Director Mueller’s overriding supervision, the wrongdoer who helped manufacture the case stayed on and the whistleblower was punished. Obviously, the FBI Director wanted his FBI agents to understand that honesty would be punished if it revealed wrongdoing within Mueller’s organization.
2008: DW: Mueller’s FBI publishes Counterterrorism Analytical Lexicon. This lexicon is devoid of all words necessary to discuss, describe, understand and thus think about jihad, i.e., Islamic terrorism.
The words “Islam,” “Muslim,” “jihad,” “Muslim Brotherhood,” even “al-Qaeda” — all of which appear in the 9/11 Commission Report — have disappeared entirely from the lexicon of FBI analysis. Instead, agents must focus on the literally meaningless concept of “violent extremism.” As if that’s not mentally paralyzing enough, the FBI definition of violent extremism includes this: “An analytical judgment that an individual is a ‘violent extremist,’ ‘extremist,’ or ‘radical’ is not predication for any investigative action or technique.”
2010: DW: Hamas operative and HLF trial unindicted co-conspirator Kifah Mustapha gets FBI VIP treatment — invitations to top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and FBI training center at Quantico during a six-week “Citizen’s Academy” hosted by the FBI as part of its “outreach” to the Muslim community.
2010: DW: Mueller’s FBI rolls up “Ghost Stories,” a decade-long FBI counterintelligence operation targeting deep-cover Russian “illegals” attempting to bore into elite US political circles. In June 2010, mid-Russian “reset,” the FBI arrests ten Russian agents and hastily deports them because one Russian had gotten “too close” to a sitting cabinet official/future presidential candidate: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Thus, in 2010, without a single indictment or anything comparable, Mueller’s FBI did its part in deporting from American soil a network of high-value SVR operatives for political reasons; in 2018, without any expectation of prosecution, Mueller’s Special Counsel office indicted a network of Russian Internet hooligans on Russian soil, also for political reasons.
2010: DW: As Congress was considering the Uranium One sale, Mueller’s FBI allegedly hides from Congress evidence it had collected showing that Russian officials were engaged in a bribery scheme aimed at growing their atomic energy business inside the United States.
2012: DW: Mueller’s FBI purges 100s of documents in “islamophobia” purge. There would be a similar purge of military training docs and trainers under JCC Dempsey. Mueller attends announcement at a meeting at FBI HQ with Arab and Muslim groups. More on this purge at Judicial Watch:
2013: DW: Boston Marathan attack. As with the Ft. Hood attack, Mueller’s see-no-Islam FBI was unable to interpret information passed from Russia about the “radical” Chechin Muslim Tsarnaevs. Too busy studying see-no-Islam training materials?
September 4, 2013: Mueller’s last day at the FBI. Enter James Comey.
We are pleased to include some of Jeff Carlson’s work in our Investigations Timeline and appreciate the awesome job he does gathering evidence and then making sense of the FBI/DOJ/FISA abuse scandals. He has saved us countless hours in research and his ability to keep names, dates and events organized is second to none.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for giving us special permission to republish some of his work, and love that we share a common goal to educate the masses the best way we can.
His blog is at themarketswork and is often published at The Epoch Times as well.
Here is a handy list he compiled of individuals with possible involvement or affiliation in Trump surveillance, the Steele Dossier and/or the Russia narrative.
Individuals have been placed into the following groups:
Resignations/Firings – Department of Justice (Non-FBI)
Resignations/Firings – FBI
FBI/DOJ Watch List
FBI – Assignments Away from FBI Headquarters
Other Notable Retirements
Intelligence Officials – United States
Intelligence Officials – Britain
Intelligence Officials – Australia
Devin Nunes – List of Individuals referred to Joint Task Force for open-setting interviews
Sea Island Meeting – Never Trump
Websites/Blogs – Lawfare, Just Security, Moscow Project
Think Tanks – Center for American Progress, Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution
Fusion GPS’ (Bean LLC) Principals and Key Staff
Christopher Steele Connections
Hakluyt – UK private Intelligence firm
Penn Quarter Group
Trump Tower Meeting
Individuals Relating to Magnitsky Act
Oleg Deripaska Connections
FISA Court Judges
Treat this post as a work in progress. Names will be added as we move forward.
To the extent you believe something to be materially wrong or missing, let me know. I will attempt to verify.
Conservative Treehouse has been very generous in allowing us to republish some of their work and we would like to thank them publicly for saving us countless hours in research, and for sharing in a common goal to awaken the masses the best way we can. They have a stellar research team that is doing deep dives into IG Reports, FBI Reports, Congressional testimonies, text messages, emails…where there is information or a document to be found, they’re on it.
They also have an excellent video production team and so I’d like to introduce some of their work that you will find peppered throughout our timelines. In this series of videos, CT reports on the DOJ OIG Horowitz Report and their findings on the Clinton email investigation and the Weiner laptop.
“This is the first of a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department. This report focuses on DOJ’s legal interpretation that virtually assured Clinton would not be prosecuted. And that, as the IG reports states, the FBI and DOJ knew that “by September 2015.”
This is the second in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.
This is the third in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.
This is the fourth in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.
Peter Strzok, the FBI’s lead Investigator in the Clinton email investigation, never intended to investigate the laptop before the election. The evidence, in his own words, is in the report by the Inspector General. In addition, the IG report includes a jaw dropping contradiction regarding the investigation of the laptop. Strozk says one thing. The FBI’s computer experts say another. It calls into question the entirety of the laptop investigation.
The Nation publishes a photo of McCain and Rick Davis, celebrating his seventieth birthday in Montenegro in August 2006. On the same day, the Queen K, a mega yacht owned by Oleg Deripaska, is moored in the same bay. (Credit: The Nation
(…) “In fact, McCain’s drama involved the same foreign lobbyist Paul Manafort; one of the same Russian oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska; the same Russian diplomat, Sergey Kislyak, and the same wily Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, that now dominate the current Trump controversy.
The FBI has said that there is no evidence to date that Trump ever met with a Russian figure banned from the United States.
McCain actually met twice with Deripaska, a Russian businessman and Putin ally whose visa was blocked by the United States amidst intelligence community concerns about his ties to Moscow. The meetings were arranged by Manafort and his lobbying firm partner Rick Davis, who later would become McCain’s campaign manager, according to interviews and documents. Deripaska, a metals magnet, is president of United Company RUSAL, and is considered to be one of the richest men in the world worth an estimated at $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.“My sense is that Davis and Manafort, who were already doing pro-Putin work against American national interests, were using potential meetings with McCain — who didn’t know this and neither did we until after the fact — as bait to secure more rubles from the oligarchs,” John Weaver, one of McCain’s top advisers at the time, told Circa in an interview this month.
Then Governor of Virginia Mark Warner, Senator John McCain, David Gergen and John Sununu are captured during the session ‘The Future of US Leadership’ at the Annual Meeting 2006 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2006. (Credit: Flickr)
(…) “In 2006, Davis and Manafort arranged two meetings with McCain and Deripaska in group settings while the senator was overseas on official congressional trips.
The first occurred in January 2006 in Davos, Switzerland, where McCain had traveled with fellow Republicans for a global economics conference.
When McCain and his other Senate colleagues, John Sununu and Saxby Chambliss, arrived at an apartment for drinks, Davis was present as a host with Deripaska by his side. A group of about three dozen then went to dinner, McCain and Deripaska included.”
(…) “Davis was McCain’s campaign manager in both 2000 and 2008. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager for a brief time, resigned in August 2016, over questions of prior work with Ukrainian political parties.
During the 2008 campaign, the Davis Manafort firm disclosed through its U.S. partner Daniel J. Edelman Inc., that it was working for the political party in Ukraine supporting Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by Putin.
“Davis Manafort International LLC is directed by a foreign political party, the Ukraine Parties of Regions, to consult on the political campaign in Ukraine,” the January2008 ForeignAgent Registration Act filing showed.
The work included developing “a communications campaign to increase Prime Minister Yanukovych’s visibility in the U.S. and Europe,” the report added, indicating that Davis and Manafort were being paid a $35,000 a month retainer for the work that began in spring 2007.” (Read more: Circa, 6/21/2017)
Emails published by Wikileaks that were purportedly hacked from an account belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta suggest a top national security advisor to President Obama struggled to obtain a security clearance.
Cassandra Butts and Ben Rhodes (Credit: public domain)
“An email from late October 2008 appears to show the FBI denied an interim security clearance for Ben Rhodes during the Obama administration transition period, prior to the 2009 inauguration. Rhodes now serves as the White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and has played a key role advising President Obama on national security matters, including the Iran nuclear agreement.
In an email dated October 29, 2008, Obama transition team lawyer Cassandra Butts informed Podesta that the FBI told her they were unlikely to approve a request to provide Rhodes with an interim security clearance.
“The FBI has indicated that they are inclined to decline interim security clearance for Benjamin Rhodes who is OFA senior speechwriter and national security policy person,” Butts wrote. “They have not shared an explanation as to why. If his interim status is denied, the FBI will still undertake a full-clearance process review of his application post-election and make a final determination.”
She added, “In terms of our options, we could ask the FBI for an explanation on the denial and make a determination if it is worth pushing to obtain an interim status, or we can wait for the full review post-election.”
Butts appears to have sent a follow up email to Podesta later that evening informing him the transition team had decided not to challenge the denial.
(…) She then seemingly explained that Rhodes was the only person denied a clearance out of close to 200 people who applied.
“For your information, out of the approximately 187 people who we have moved through the process Benjamin was the only person declined interim status,” the Butts email stated.” (Read more: Law & Crime, 11/03/2016)
Bill Clinton meets with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 2010. (Credit: Mikhael Metzel/The Associated Press)
“Fifteen months before the 13 members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, approved the sale of the Canadian company Uranium One to Russia’s nuclear arm giant Rosatom, the FBI began investigating persons who were connected to the Russian state corporation. The FBI said in court documents and in interviews conducted by Circa that by 2010 they had gathered enough evidence to prove that Rosatom-connected officials were engaged in a global bribery scheme that included kickbacks and money laundering. FBI officials said the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law.
The deal which required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
By the time CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom the FBI’s investigation had already gathered substantial evidence of bribery and kickbacks against a Russian national, Vadim Mikerin, who was then a top official with Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary, according to court documents. The FBI said while at Tenex, which was located in Maryland, Mikerin was involved in multiple bribery and kickback schemes.
(…)The Justice Department didn’t move forward an indictment with prosecution of bribery by people tied to Rosatom, through subsidies and other entities, until 2014 after CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One, leaving the American public without knowledge of the Russian company’s allegedly illegal actives as it went to procure one-fifth of U.S. uranium supply.
(…) “A Russian state-owned enterprise responsible for selling Russian nuclear materials, contracted with a U.S. public relations expert in 2009 to provide public relations and marketing consulting services to TENEX in the United States,” states a court warrant. “The contractor approached the FBI and received authorization to participate in the scheme.”
Victoria Toensing, a lawyer for the FBI informant, said her client “is not only afraid of the Russian people, but he is afraid of the US government because of the threats the Obama administration made against him.”
“My client was providing information for a couple years before this really got voted on by CFIUS, and here’s the rub. High-ranking law enforcement officials in the Obama Administration knew that there was corruption in this company and that information about the corruption in this Russian entity never made it to CFIUS, evidently, because CFIUS authorized the purchase in 2010.”
-Victoria Toensing, lawyer (Video interview at source link)
(…) One of the points of contention for people investigating the Clinton’s connections with Russia and the Uranium One deal was a $500,000 payment given to Bill Clinton by the Russian bank Renaissance Capital for a speech he gave in Moscow in June 2010. Analysts at Renaissance Capital, who paid the Bill Clinton for the speech, spoke highly of Uranium One’s stock saying in July 2010 research report that it was “the best play” in the uranium markets. The speech by Bill Clinton and the 2010 research report by Renaissance Capital happened while CFIUS, of which Hillary Clinton was a sitting member, was looking at the Uranium One sale to Rosatom. A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton did not return calls seeking comment and no evidence has been presented the speech payment made to Bill Clinton had any connection to the passage of the deal. Officials at Renaissance Capital could not be reached immediately for comment.
At the time of the investigation did any of the U.S. law enforcement, intelligence or other agencies involved in the case inform the CFIUS board of the ongoing investigation? If not, why not? If they were informed, why did they make the decision they did to approve the Uranium One transaction? Did the president, himself, know?,” a U.S. official who worked counterintelligence cases related to Russia told Circa.
During the time of the FBI’s investigation which began in 2009, Tenex was able to expand its American foothold with $6 billion in new utility contracts, according to documents and news reports obtained by Circa.
The case being built against Mikerin in 2010 was under the supervision of Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, then an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general. According to court documents, the case was also handled by then Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is currently the deputy FBI director under Trump. The Department of Justice and the FBI would not comment on the bribery investigation of Mikerin.” (Read more: Circa, 10/17/2017)
In a September 2016 Congressional hearing, Justin Cooper will reveal some information about how Clinton’s use of a private email account on her private server begins. He will state: “Secretary Clinton was transitioning from her presidential campaign and Senate role and had been using primarily a BlackBerry for email correspondence. There were limitations to her ability to use that BlackBerry as well as desire to change her email address because a number of people have received her email address over the course of those activities. So we created with a discussion, I believe, with [Clinton aide] Huma Abedin at the time [about] what domains might be of interest. We obtained a domain and we added it to the original server used by President Clinton’s office for [Hillary Clinton] to use with her BlackBerry at the time…”
Note that Cooper registers three domain names on January 13, 2009, so this discussion must have occurred before then.
Representative Mark Meadows (Credit: public domain)
Representative Mark Meadows (R) will ask Cooper in the hearing: “So, your testimony here today is that Huma Abedin said that she would prefer to have Ms. Clinton’s email on a private server versus a server that was actually managed by someone else? That’s your testimony?”
Cooper will reply, “My testimony is that that was communicated to me.”
He will also clarify that when it came to talking to Abedin, “I don’t recall conversations with her about the setting up of the server.” But he also will say, “At some point I had a conversation with her about the setting up of an email account for Secretary Clinton on the server.” (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
However, in Abedin’s April 2016 FBI interview, she will say nothing like this. In fact, she will deny even knowing the server existed until it was mentioned in the media, despite her having an email account hosted on the server for the entire duration of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and at least three email exchanges that show her discussing the server during that time. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
A sample address with the “H” as it appears in an email sent by Clinton. (Credit: public domain)
A September 2016 FBI report will indicate that “some Clinton aides and senior-level State [Department] employees were aware Clinton used a personal email address for State business during her tenure [as secretary of state]. Clinton told the FBI it was common knowledge at State that she had a private email address because it was displayed to anyone with whom she exchanged emails. However, some State employees interviewed by the FBI explained that emails from Clinton only contained the letter ‘H’ in the sender field and did not display her email address.”
The report also notes, “The majority of the State employees interviewed by the FBI who were in email contact with Clinton indicated they had no knowledge of the private server in her Chappaqua residence.”
Even Clinton’s closest aides like her chief of staff Cheryl Mills and deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin will claim they didn’t know, though there is evidence that suggests otherwise (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
While Clinton is secretary of state, she has an office on the seventh floor of State Department headquarters, in an area often referred to as “Mahogany Row.” Her office and the surrounding area is considered a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). Mobile devices such as BlackBerrys are not allowed in SCIF rooms, because they can be taken over by hackers and used to record audio and video.
But according to a September 2016 FBI report, “Interviews of three former DS [Diplomatic Security] agents revealed Clinton stored her personal BlackBerry in a desk drawer in a [Diplomatic Security] post which was located within the SCIF on Mahogany Row. State personnel were not authorized to bring their mobile devices into [the post], as it was located within the SCIF.”
A view from the 8th floor balcony at the State Department. (Credit: Thomas V. Dembski)
However, according to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, Clinton would leave the SCIF to use her BlackBerry, often visiting the eighth floor balcony to do so. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell will later tell the FBI that he never received any complaints about Clinton using her BlackBerry inside the SCIF.
In contrast to the above evidence, in her July 2016 FBI interview, Clinton will claim that after her first month as secretary of state, she never brought her BlackBerry into the SCIF area at all, because she had been clearly told not to do that. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Clinton presents a letter of congratulations and signed photo to Chief Culinary Specialist Oscar Flores during his retirement ceremony aboard the USS Makin Island on April 1, 2010. (Credit: Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Lill / US Navy)
A September 2016 FBI report will mention that the FBI determined “hundreds of emails” were sent by Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and other State Department staffers to a member of Bill Clinton’s staff so he could print them out for Clinton. His name will be redacted, but he is almost certainly Oscar Flores, because the report will mention that he is a member of the US Navy Reserves, which Flores is at the time.
Some of these emails will later be determined to contain information classified at the “confidential” level, including six email chains forwarded by Abedin and one email chain forwarded by Clinton.
But the FBI will determine that Flores received a security clearance at the “secret” level on October 25, 2007 from the Defense Department. Furthermore, although Flores retires from the US Navy Reserves in September 2010, there is no indication his security clearance is deactivated at that time. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Clinton boards the State Department jet while using her BlackBerry, date and location are unknown. (Credit: Andrew Harnik / The Associated Press)
This is according to a September 2016 FBI report. The report indicates that Clinton and her immediate staff were repeatedly “notified of foreign travel risks and were warned that digital threats began immediately upon landing in a foreign country, since connection of a mobile device to a local network provides opportunities for foreign adversaries to intercept voice and email transmissions.”
Additionally, the State Department has a Mobile Communications Team responsible for establishing secure mobile voice and data communications for Clinton and her team wherever they travel. But even so, Clinton and her staff frequently use their private and unsecure mobile devices and private email accounts while overseas.
The number of Clinton emails sent or received outside the US will be redacted in the FBI report. Although it will mention that “hundreds” were classified at the “confidential” level, additional details are redacted. Nearly all mentions of “top secret” emails are redacted in the report, so it’s impossible to know if any of those are sent while Clinton is overseas.
The report will mention that some emails between Clinton and President Obama are sent while Clinton is overseas. However, the exact number will be redacted. None of these overseas emails between them will be deemed to contain classified information. According to the report, “Clinton told the FBI that she received no particular guidance as to how she should use President Obama’s email address…”
The details of the FBI’s report on Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview will indicate that Clinton emailed Obama on July 1, 2012 from Russia. However, it is not clear if she sent the email from on the ground or on a plane. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In March 2015, after it becomes public knowledge that Clinton exclusively used a private email account for all her email usage, she will claim she did this for “convenience,” so she wouldn’t have to carry two personal devices at once.
During a trip to the Middle East, Clinton is seen using two Blackberrys while being filmed for a National Geographic documentary called “Inside the State Department” on June 15, 2010. (Credit: National Geographic)
However, in 2016, Justin Cooper, an aide to Bill Clinton who helps manage the Clinton private server, will claim otherwise. In an FBI interview, “Cooper stated that he was aware of Clinton using a second mobile phone number. Cooper indicated Clinton usually carried a flip phone along with her BlackBerry because it was more comfortable for communication and Clinton was able to use her BlackBerry while talking on the flip phone.”
However, in Clinton’s 2016 FBI interview, “she did not recall using a flip phone during her tenure [as secretary of state], only during her service in the Senate.” In their FBI interviews, Clinton’s aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills “advised they were unaware of Clinton ever using a cellular phone other than the BlackBerry.”
According to FBI investigators, Clinton has “two known phone numbers… which potentially were used to send emails using Clinton’s clintonemail.com email addresses.” One is associated with her BlackBerry usage. Toll records associated with the other phone number “indicate the number was consistently used for phone calls in 2009 and then used sporadically through the duration of Clinton’s tenure and the years following. Records also showed that no BlackBerry devices were associated with this phone number.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In March 2015, after it becomes public knowledge that Clinton exclusively used a private email account for all her email usage, she will claim she did this for “convenience,” so she wouldn’t have to carry two personal devices at once.
A 2009 Blackberry Bold 9700 (left) and a 2013 Blackberry 9720. (Credit: public domain)
However, the FBI will later determine that Clinton actually used in succession 11 email-capable BlackBerrys while secretary of state. She uses two more BlackBerrys with the same phone number after her tenure is over. The FBI will not be able to obtain any of the BlackBerrys to examine them.
The FBI will later identify five iPad devices associated with Clinton which might have been used by Clinton to send emails. The FBI will later obtain three of the iPads. They will only examine two, because one was a gift that Clinton gave away as soon as she purchased it.
Clinton aide Monica Hanley often buys replacement BlackBerrys for Clinton from AT&T stores. Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton aide who helps run Clinton’s private server, usually sets up the new devices and then syncs them to the server so she can access her email inbox. According to an FBI interview with Clinton aide Huma Abedin, “it was not uncommon for Clinton to use a new BlackBerry for a few days and then immediately switch it out for an older version with which she was more familiar.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
The FBI will later determine that Clinton uses 11 BlackBerrys while secretary of state and two more using the same phone number after she leaves office. In a 2016 FBI interview, “Clinton stated that when her BlackBerry device malfunctioned, her aides would assist her in obtaining a new BlackBerry, and, after moving to a new device, her old SIM cards were disposed of by her aides.”
Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton aide who helps manage Clinton’s private server, will later tell the FBI that he “did recall two instances where he destroyed Clinton’s old mobile devices by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer.”
However, according to Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Monica Hanley, “the whereabouts of Clinton’s devices would frequently become unknown once she transitioned to a new device.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Hillary’s signature on the non-disclosure agreement (NDA). (Credit: public domain)
The non-disclosure agreement (NDA) concerns “sensitive compartmented information” (SCI), which is a type of “top secret” classification. In signing the agreement, Clinton acknowledges any “breach” could result in “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 any other relationships with any department or agency that provides me with access to SCI.” (US Department of State, 11/5/2015)
This is one of two NDAs Clinton signs on this day.
It will later be revealed that out of the over 30,000 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department in December 2014, three of them were deemed “top secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information.”
Clinton emails former Secretary of State Colin Powelltwo days after she is sworn in as secretary of state, and asks about his use of a BlackBerry while he was secretary of state from January 2001 to January 2005. A full copy of the email will be released on September 7, 2016.
Clinton writes: “I hope to catch up soon [with] you, but I have one pressing question which only you can answer! What were the restrictions on your use of your BlackBerry? Did you use it in your personal office? I’ve been told that the DSS [Diplomatic Security] personnel knew you had one and used it but no one fesses up to knowing how you used it! President Obama has struck a blow for Berry addicts like us. I just have to figure out how to bring along the State Dept. Any and all advice is welcome.”
Powell replies to Clinton, “I didn’t have a BlackBerry. What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient.) So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels.”
Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton (Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Getty Images)
Powell also warns Clinton, “there is a real danger. If it is public that you have a BlackBerry and it is government and you are using it, government or not, to do business, it may beome an official record and subject to the law.” (US Senate, 9/7/2016)
Powell further writes, “Reading about the President’s BB [BlackBerry] rules this morning, it sounds like it won’t be as useful as it used to be.” Powell is referring to a New York Times article published theday before, regarding Obama winning the fight to use a BlackBerry during his presidency. (New York Times, 01/22/09)
Powell further advises Clinton, “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.”
Clinton emails back the same day, “[I] want to thank you for all the advice about Berries, security, and life on the seventh floor [of State Department headquarters]! I hope we’ll have a chance to visit in person sometime soon.” (US Senate, 9/7/2016)
In a 2016 FBI interview, “Clinton [will indicate] to the FBI that she understood Powell’s comments to mean any work-related communications would be government records, and she stated Powell’s comments did not factor into her decision to use a personal email account.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Clinton’s decision to use a private email account on a private server had already been made before this email exchange.
Around February 2009, the NSA refuses to make a BlackBerry for Clinton that’s secure enough to use in SCIF rooms, citing security concerns. (Highly classified materials can only be read in SCIF rooms, and Clinton’s office in State Department headquarters is a SCIF room.)
According to a September 2016 FBI report, at roughly the same time, Clinton’s executive staff also ask about the possibility of Clinton using an iPad to read her emails in her office. But “this request was also denied due to restrictions associated with the Secretary’s office being in a SCIF.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
However, the FBI will fail to mention that the iPad won’t actually be announced by Apple until January 2010, and won’t be released until a couple of months after that, making the above claim impossible. (Apple.com, 1/27/2010)
Clinton will buy an iPad and begin using it a couple of months after it comes out, in July 2010.
Clinton talks on a flip phone in Washington, DC on November 14, 2006. (Credit: Karen Bleir / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)
An email sent to or received by Clinton on this day has the subject heading: “Re: New cell.” It won’t be found in the over 30,000 Clinton emails given to the State Department in December 2014. Thus, the details are known because she will be asked about it in her July 2016 FBI interview.
According to a later FBI report, “Clinton stated she was familiar with the phone number ending in [redacted] referenced in the email. She believed the number was that of her BlackBerry because she did not recall using a flip phone during her time at State, only while in the Senate.”
However, in the FBI Clinton email investigation final report, evidence will be mentioned that Clinton actually had two phone numbers. One was for her BlackBerry, which she used just for emails, and one for her flip phone, which she used for phone calls. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov receives a “reset” button from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva Switzerland, March, 2009. (Credit: CNN)
“As Hillary Clinton was beginning her job as President Obama’s chief diplomat, federal agents observed as multiple arms of Vladimir Putin’s machine unleashed an influence campaign designed to win access to the new secretary of State, her husband Bill Clinton and members of their inner circle, according to interviews and once-sealed FBI records.
Some of the activities FBI agents gathered evidence about in 2009 and 2010 were covert and illegal.
A female Russian spy posing as an American accountant, for instance, used a false identity to burrow her way into the employ of a major Democratic donor in hopes of gaining intelligence on Hillary Clinton’s department, records show. The spy was arrested and deported as she moved closer to getting inside State, agents said.
Other activities were perfectly legal and sitting in plain view, such as when a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy company hired a Washington firm to lobby the Obama administration. At the time it was hired, the firm was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in pro bono support to Bill Clinton’s global charitable initiative, and it legally helped the Russian company secure federal decisions that led to billions in new U.S. commercial nuclear business, records show.
Agents were surprised by the timing and size of a $500,000 check that a Kremlin-linked bank provided Bill Clinton with for a single speech in the summer of 2010. The payday came just weeks after Hillary Clinton helped arrange for American executives to travel to Moscow to support Putin’s efforts to build his own country’s version of Silicon Valley, agents said.
There is no evidence in any of the public records that the FBI believed that the Clintons or anyone close to them did anything illegal. But there’s definitive evidence the Russians were seeking their influence with a specific eye on the State Department.
“There is not one shred of doubt from the evidence that we had that the Russians had set their sights on Hillary Clinton’s circle, because she was the quarterback of the Obama-Russian reset strategy and the assumed successor to Obama as president,” said a source familiar with the FBI’s evidence at the time, speaking only on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/22/2017)
James Comey states in a July 5, 2017 press conference, his agency will recommend the US Department of Justice (DoJ) not to press official charges against Hillary Clinton. (Credit: MSNBC)
“A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails, two sources briefed on the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Chinese firm obtained Clinton’s emails in real time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.
The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant “courtesy copy” for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found that virtually all of Clinton’s emails were sent to a “foreign entity,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said at a July 12 House Committee on the Judiciary hearing. He did not reveal the entity’s identity, but said it was unrelated to Russia.
Two officials with the ICIG, investigator Frank Rucker and attorney Janette McMillan, met repeatedly with FBI officials to warn them of the Chinese intrusion, according to a former intelligence officer with expertise in cybersecurity issues, who was briefed on the matter. He spoke anonymously, as he was not authorized to publicly address the Chinese’s role with Clinton’s server.
Among those FBI officials was Peter Strzok, who was then the bureau’s top counterintelligence official. Strzok was firedthis month following the discovery he sent anti-Trump texts to his mistress and co-worker, Lisa Page. Strzok didn’t act on the information the ICIG provided him, according to Gohmert.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/27/2018)
The Seagate Expansion External Hard Drive (Credit: Seagate)
When Clinton’s first server is upgraded with a new server in March 2009, a Seagate external hard drive is attached to the server to store back-up copies of all of its data.
Bryan Pagliano, who manages the server at the time, will later tell the FBI that daily changes are backed up onto the hard drive every day, and a complete back-up is made once a week. As space on the hard drive runs out, backups are deleted on a “first in, first out” basis.
This continues until June 2011. That month, Pagliano travels from Washington, DC, where he works in the State Department, and goes to where the server is, in Chappaqua, New York. Pagliano replaces the Seagate external hard drive with a Cisco Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, also to store backups of the server.
The Cisco FS 5500 and 5700 Series Integrated NAS. (Credit: Cisco)
It is unclear what becomes of either back-up device or the data they contained. The FBI’s September 2016 final report on the Clinton email investigation will only mention: “The FBI was unable to forensically determine how frequently the NAS captured backups of the Pagliano Server.” But the report will also complain about the “FBI’s inability to recover all server equipment,” and there will be no mention of any data recovered from either back-up device. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Also in September 2016, Justin Cooper, who helped Pagliano manage the server, will be asked about these hard drives at a Congressional hearing. He will say he only heard about them from reading the FBI final report. (He claims he handled customer service while Pagliano handled the technical aspects.)
He will also be asked if FBI agents ever came to the Clinton’s Chappaqua house to seize any equipment. Cooper worked as an aide to Bill Clinton in the house, but he will say he is unaware of the FBI ever coming to the house. (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
Justin Cooper, an aide to former President Bill Clinton, has been working with Bryan Pagliano, who worked as a computer technician on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, to build a new private server located in the Clintons’ Chappaqua, New York, house. Some time in March 2009, Pagliano and Cooper met at the Chappaqua house to physically install the server and related equipment in a server rack in the basement.
Once the new server is up and running, Pagliano migrates the email data from the old server to the new one. Pagliano will later be interviewed by the FBI, and he will claim that after the migration, no email content should have remained on the old server. He will tell the FBI that he only transferred clintonemail.com email accounts for Clinton aide Huma Abedin and others (whose names will later be redacted), and he was unaware of and did not transfer an email account for Hillary Clinton.
However, Clinton emails using a clintonemail.com domain address start getting sent in January 2009, showing she must had had an account on the old server since that time. Cooper will also later be interviewed by the FBI, and he will say he believed Clinton had a clintonemail.com email account on the old server and Abedin did not. The FBI will be unable to obtain the old server to analyze it, so the dispute has not been fully resolved.
The Dell Power Edge 2900 (Credit: public domain)
This new server will be used for the rest of Clinton’s term as secretary of state, then will be replaced in 2013. Later in March 2009, the old server is repurposed to serve as a personal computer for household staff at Clinton’s Chappaqua house. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
The Washington Post will later report, “The server was nothing remarkable, the kind of system often used by small businesses, according to people familiar with its configuration at the end of her tenure. It consisted of two off-the-shelf server computers. Both were equipped with antivirus software. They were linked by cable to a local Internet service provider. A firewall was used as protection against hackers.” (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)
According to the FBI, the new server initially consists of the following equipment: “a Dell PowerEdge 2900 server miming Microsoft Exchange for email hosting and management, a Dell PowerEdge 1950 server miming BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) for the management of BlackBerry devices, a Seagate external hard drive to store backups of the Dell PowerEdge 2900 server, a Dell switch, a Cisco firewall, and a power supply.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Bryan Pagliano (left), Justin Cooper (right) (Credit: public domain)
In March 2009, Clinton’s private email server is replaced by a larger one built by her computer technician Pagliano. Cooper had been the only person with administrative access for the previous server, but now both him and Pagliano have administrative accounts on the new one.
Pagliano handles all software upgrades and general maintenance. He works at the State Department in Washington, DC, and there is only evidence of him going to Chappaqua, New York, to directy work on the server three times: in March 2009, to install the server; in June 2011, to upgrade the equipment; and in January 2012, to fix a hardware issue.
By contrast, in a later FBI interview, Cooper will describe his role as “the customer service face.” He can add users or reset passwords on the email server. He also works at the Chappaqua house as an aide to former President Bill Clinton, so it is much easier for him to physically interact with the server there.
Cooper and Pagliano both handle the selection and purchase of server-related items.
In a later FBI interview, Hillary Clinton will state “she had no knowledge of the hardware, software, or security protocols used to construct and operate the servers. When she experienced technical issues with her email account she contacted Cooper for assistance in resolving those issues.”
The roles of Cooper and Pagliano will be phased out in mid-2013, with the Platte River Networks company winning a contact to manage Clinton’s server on May 31, 2013.
When Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano is interviewed by the FBI in December 2015, he will recall a conversation with a person whose name is redacted that takes place at the beginning of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. According to the FBI, this person “advised he would not be surprised if classified information was being transmitted to Clinton’s personal server.”
Pagliano joins the State Department in May 2009, and he also is the main person to manage problems with the server. But there is no mention of him taking any action about this warning or passing it on to anyone else. The unnamed person also gives Pagliano advice on how to improve the server security that goes unheeded as well. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Chris Cillizza (Credit: Institute of Politics and Public Service)
Clinton writes in an email: “Dear Lauren [Jiloty] and Huma [Abedin], I have just realized I have no idea how my papers are treated at State. Who manages both my personal and official files? […] Are there personal files as well as official ones set up? […] I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want.”
In June 2016, Chris Cillizza will write in the Washington Post: “[T]his email to Abedin—which came at the start of her four-year term in office—suggests a bit more active agency than Clinton has previously let on. ‘I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want,’ doesn’t strike me as Clinton simply wanting convenience and following the instructions of her IT people on how to make that happen. It reads to me as though Clinton is both far more aware of the email setup and far more engaged in how it should look than she generally lets on publicly.” (The Washington Post, 6/28/2016)
In her July 2016 FBI interview, Clinton will be asked about this email. According to the FBI, “Clinton stated this email pertained to how her ‘files’ were going to be treated at [the] State [Department]. Clinton relayed while in the Senate, she maintained a personal and official paper file. This process was not implemented through Senate procedure or guidance but through Clinton’s own personal process. Clinton was not aware how other State staff maintained their records and was unaware of State’s State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART).” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
A State Department official (whose name is later redacted) sends an email to Clinton. The unnamed official had been sponsored by Clinton for a security position but had failed the security tests, and so he directly appeals to her for assistance.
Clinton forwards the email to her chief of staff Cheryl Mills and her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and asks them, “Could you follow up on this?”
It is unknown what becomes of the official’s request. However, Mills then complains in an email just to Abedin, “Personally, I think this is outrageous that staff go straight to her on this stuff.”
Abedin replies to Mills, “This is unbelievable. And she also should not be giving her email to everyone [because] she will get stuff like this.”
Mills then responds back, “She’s not giving her email to new people. People who emailed her old Senate address are still being forwarded to her new address. Most of her Senate staff had access to that address. Justin [Cooper] can fix it but I need her berry [BlackBerry] and she takes that thing to every toilet, to the shower, so [it’s] hard to get my hands on that thing…” (US Department of State, 6/9/2016)
It will remain publicly unknown until the video is leaked to Fox News in October 2016.
A photo capture of Clinton as she appears in the 2010 cybersecurity video. (Credit: Fox News)
In the video, Clinton says that employees have a “special duty” to recognize the importance of cybersecurity. “The real key to cybersecurity rests with you. Complying with department computing policies and being alert to potential threats will help protect all of us.”
According to a later account by Fox News, “Clinton goes on in the video to underscore the important work the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security and IT department were doing to guard against cyber-attacks. She warns hackers try to ‘exploit’ vulnerabilities and penetrate department systems. She then urges staffers to log onto the internal cybersecurity awareness website or subscribe to their ‘cybersecurity awareness newsletter.’”
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will later find the video ironic, given Clinton’s own security issues with her private email server. He will say, “Hillary Clinton needs only to look into the mirror to find the biggest cybersecurity risk.”
Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon will say, “This is not new. It has been widely reported that during Clinton’s tenure the State Department issued these kinds of warnings about possible cybersecurity to employees. These warnings were more than appropriate given that it was subsequently confirmed that State’s email was hacked.” (Fox News, 10/22/2016)
According to a September 2016 FBI report, Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton aide who is helping to manage Clinton’s private server, contacts a Secret Service agent at some point during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. It is not clear when this happens, but apparently it is not long after the server begins to be frequently targeted by brute force hacking attacks around the middle of 2010.
Cooper will be asked about this in a September 2016 Congressional hearing shortly after the FBI report is published. He will say, “when we first experienced some of the repeated failed login attempts, I reported them to the Secret Service. … There was an instance where we shared some logs with [them]. … The Secret Service looked at logs from the server and made some recommendations to [server manager Bryan] Pagliano about the possible origins of those failed logins and some techniques he might use to mitigate that problem.” (The Secret Service agent will give advice on improving the server’s security that will not be followed.)
However, when Cooper is asked by Representative Blake Farenthold (R), “Did you turn over the logs and notifications that you received to the FBI, the emails of brute force attacks?” Cooper will say the FBI was not contacted.
Representative Jody Hice (Credit: Twitter)
Additionally, when Representative Jody Hice (R) will ask if Cooper consulted with any other “department or agency in the government,” Cooper will say, “No. No consultations of that type.” He will also specifically mention the State Department wasn’t consulted. (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
It’s possible that Pagliano contacted others, but the FBI will interview both Cooper and Pagliano in its investigation and then will mention only the contact with the Secret Service in its final report.
Blake Farenthold (Credit: Bill Clark / Congressional Quarterly)
Bryan Pagliano, the manager of Clinton’s private server while she is secretary of state, will be interviewed by the FBI in December 2015. According to an FBI report, he will claim that the server suffered no known security breaches. However, “he was aware there were many failed login attempts, which he referred to as brute force attacks. He added that the failed attempts increased over the life of the [server], and he set up the server’s logs to alert [Justin] Cooper when they occurred. Pagliano knew the attempts were potential attackers because the credentials attempting to log in did not match legitimate users on the system. Pagliano could not recall if a high volume of failed login attempts emanated from any specific country.”
The FBI report will explain, “A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method used to obtain information, such as a password… In a brute force attack, passwords may be attempted manually or automated software can be used to generate a large number of consecutive guesses as to the targeted information.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Cooper, a Bill Clinton aide who helped Pagliano manage the server, will be asked about brute force attacks in a September 2016 Congressional hearing. He will respond, “I can’t say with any specificity how many had happened. They happened with some limited frequency over the period of, I’d say the last two and a half years, while she was in office. But we had developed systems to tamper these down.”
Representative Blake Farenthold (R) will ask Cooper that if the brute force attacker managed to enter the correct user name and password, “you wouldn’t have been notified, would you? You would have thought it was Mrs. Clinton or some legitimate user actually getting in?”
After further questioning, Cooper will admit that he only looked at failed attempts and didn’t check for related successful log-ins. (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
After Bryan Pagliano sets up Clinton’s new private server in January 2009, he sets up Internet Protocol (IP) filtering on the firewall, once a firewall is established in late March 2009. Pagliano will later tell the FBI that he tried to review the firewall log files once a month.
The US Secret Service Badge (Credit: public domain)
At some point, Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton aide who is helping Pagliano manage the server, puts Pagliano in contact with a US Secret Service agent. The timing of this is not clear. However, in a September 2016 Congresssional hearing, Cooper will say it happened after Clinton’s server started to get frequent “brute force” hacking attacks, and that begins around the middle of 2010.
This agent recommends that Pagliano should also perform outbound filtering of email traffic. According to a September 2016 FBI report, “Pagliano further considered, but ultimately did not implement, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or two-factor authentication to better secure administrative access to the server system by him and Cooper.”
The FBI report will explain: “‘VPN’ is a private network that runs on top of a larger network to provide access to shared network resources, which may or may not include the physical hard drives of individual computers… VPN offers an additional layer of security by encrypting the data traveling to the private network before sending it over the Internet. Data is then decrypted when it reaches the private network. … ‘Two-factor authentication’ is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different components…” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016) (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
Clinton speaks in New York, while then Congressperson Anthony Weiner looks on in 2000. (Credit: Reuters)
Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, writes to Clinton in an email, “OK I will [redacted] just FedEx secure cell phone from [Washington] DC. Anthony leaving office to bring me to airport now so hopefully will make it just in time.”
Four hours later, Clinton responds, “Maybe one of Anthony’s trusted staff could deliver secure phone?”
“Anthony” is a reference to Anthony Weiner, who is both Abedin’s husband and a member of Congress at the time. He will resign one year later, due to a sex scandal.
The Associated Press will later comment, “The emails show the degree of trust Clinton had for Weiner before he was hit by scandal.”
It is unclear where Clinton is on this day. State Department schedules list no public events for her between July 27, 2010 and August 2, 2010. But the Associated Press will also note, “The use of secure cell phones is commonplace among State Department staff when traveling to countries with advanced cyber-espionage capacities, such as China or Russia.”
These emails will be released in November 2016. They were not part of the 30,000 work-related emails Clinton turned over in December 2014, even though they are clearly work-related. It will be one of thousands of emails deleted by Clinton that were later recovered by the FBI.
After the release, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner will say it is unclear how the phone might have been delivered, or if it was at all. He will suggest that, in theory, sending a secure phone through FedEx could have been appropriate if the necessary safeguards were taken. “In 2010, secure cell phones were available to State Department employees, and they could be configured in such a way as to render them suitable for transport. When configured in this manner, the device would be inoperable until paired with additional components.” (The Associated Press, 11/3/2016)
Matt Lussenhop, a press officer at the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, sends an email to over a dozen other US officials. The email is sent to Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who emails it to Clinton. Lussenhop’s email concerns an article that New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins is about to get published. Filkins contacted the embassy in Kabul to get quotes for his story, which alleges that Muhammed Zia Salehi, an aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, is on the payroll of the CIA. The email is two paragraphs long, but the first paragraph will later be completely redacted and deemed classified at the “secret” level, the level below “top secret.” (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)
In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, she will be asked about this email. According to the FBI, “Clinton stated she did not remember the email specifically. [She] stated she was not concerned the displayed email contained classified information [redacted] but stated she had no reason to doubt the judgment of the people working for her on the ‘front lines.'” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Salehi was arrested by Afghan police in July 2010, one month before the Times article about him, due to a US government wiretap on him as part of an anti-corruption case. But he was released the next day on the orders of Karzai. In 2013, Foreign Policy will confirm that not only was Salehi working for the CIA, but he actually was an intermediary who was giving secret CIA cash payments to Karzai. (Foreign Policy, 5/4/2013)
Given that this is one of a small number of emails Clinton will be asked about in her FBI interview, as well its classification at the “secret” level, it stands to reason that Lussenhop confirmed Salehi’s CIA connection.
“Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/17/17)
An email sent or received by Clinton on this day has the subject title ‘‘MbZ call – 7:15am.” Very little is publicly known about its content, such as who sends or receives it, because it will not be included in the over 30,000 work-related emails Clinton will give to the State Department in December 2014. But the FBI will recover the email through other means and ask Clinton about it in her July 2016 FBI interview.
Clinton gestures as she delivers a statement about WikiLeaks on November 29, 2010. (Credit: Yuri Gripas / Reuters)
According to the FBI summary of that interview, “Clinton stated she recalled the time period of the WikiLeaks disclosures because it was a difficult time for State. She spent long hours on the phone with foreign diplomats addressing the WikiLeaks disclosures and ensuring no one was in danger as a result of the disclosures. Regarding the specific email, Clinton did not know why it was not in the approximately 30,000 emails produced to [the] State [Department] and, based on its content, would expect it to be considered work-related.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
From Clinton’s comments, it can be surmised the email deals with the disclosure of 250,000 State Department cables by WikiLeaks, which actually takes place two days later, on November 28, 2010.
Ironically, Clinton makes a public speech on November 29, 2010, that contradict her private reassurances to foreign diplomats that no one was endangered by the leaks. She says, “The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems… So whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.” (US Department of State, 11/29/2010)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2011, and involves two “top secret” emails. The first is sent by Clinton to her aide Jake Sullivan, and the second is Sullivan’s reply. The content of the emails remain unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2011, and involves seven “top secret” emails. The chain begins with an email from Clinton’s aide Jake Sullivan to Clinton. It goes back and forth, with three emails from Clinton to Sullivan, and three more emails from Sullivan to Clinton. The content of the emails remains unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2011, and involves two “top secret” emails. The chain begins with an email written by an unnamed State Department official. It makes its way to Sullivan, who forwards it to Clinton. Clinton then sends a reply to Sullivan. The contents of the emails remain unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2011, and involves five “top secret” emails. The chain begins with an email from Clinton’s aide Jake Sullivan to Clinton. The chain goes back and forth, with two emails from Clinton to Sullivan, and two more emails from Sullivan to Clinton. The contents of the emails remain unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2011, and involves two “top secret” emails. The chain begins with an email written by an unnamed State Department official. It makes its way to Sullivan, who forwards it to Clinton. There is no known reply from Clinton. The contents of the emails remain unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns (Credit: Reuters)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2012, and involves two “top secret” emails. The chain begins with an email written by an unnamed State Department official to other unnamed department officials. It makes its way to Sullivan, who forwards it to Clinton, Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. Clinton then replies to Sullivan. Then there’s another back and forth between Clinton and Sullivan. The contents of the emails remain unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
In July 2016, the State Department will reveal some limited details about 22 “top secret” emails involving Clinton. One email chain is sent sometime in 2012, and involves two “top secret” emails. The chain begins with an email written by an unnamed State Department official. It makes its way to Sullivan, who forwards it to Clinton and Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills. There is no known reply from Clinton. The content of the emails remain unknown. (Vice News, 7/22/2016)
Eric Holder, the US attorney general from 2009 until 2015, writes a memo during the 2012 US presidential race outlining Justice Department policy on how to avoid interfering in elections. It states that department employees (which includes the FBI) “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.” If an employee is “faced with a question regarding the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election,” that person should contact the department’s public integrity section “for further guidance.”
There is an email chain this day started by Clinton, with all emails in it between Clinton, Justin Cooper, Bryan Pagliano, and Oscar Flores. Cooper (a Bill Clinton aide) and Pagliano (a State Department official) are jointly managing Clinton’s private server, with Cooper doing more of the customer service and Pagliano more of the technical aspects. Flores helps manage Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York, where the server is located.
Clinton begins the email chain with the subject heading “Help!” She writes: “Once again, I’m having BB [BlackBerry] trouble. I am not receiving emails although people are getting ones I send but I get their replies on my IP [iPad]. I’ve taken out the battery and done what I know to do but with no luck yet any ideas?”
Cooper sends two replies trying to solve the problem, with Clinton giving a short reply to one of them.
Hillary Clinton (Credit: Robert Shiro / The Associated Press) and Bryan Pagliano (Credit: Fox News)
Then Pagliano writes, “Let me take a look at the server to see if it offers any insight. iPhone is not much different from iPad, however in both cases the security landscape is different from the BlackBerry. -Bryan”
None of these five emails will be included in the 30,000 work-related emails Clinton gives the State Department in December 2014, even though the inclusion of Pagliano, a department official, in the chain makes them work-related. (One email that will be included is simply Pagliano wishing Clinton a happy birthday in 2012.) Instead, one of the emails in the chain will be later recovered by the FBI from Clinton’s deleted emails (with the text of the other four emails included in the reply).
These emails will be released to Judicial Watch on October 12, 2016, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, and Judicial Watch will make them public on October 19, 2016. (US Department of State, 10/12/2016)
Ironically, in the same time frame, on October 13, 2016, Clinton’s written responses to a court deposition will be made public. In one answer, she will write: “Secretary Clinton states that she does not recall having communications with Bryan Pagliano concerning or relating to the management, preservation, deletion, or destruction of any emails in her clintonemail.com email account.” (Judicial Watch, 10/13/2016)
All of the emails between Clinton and Pagliano many never be found, since the FBI could only recover about half of Clinton’s deleted emails, and the file containing all of Pagliano’s emails from his time working at the State Department was mysteriously lost.
Clinton meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 29, 2012. (State Department)
It has been reported that Clinton and President Obama exchanged 18 emails in the four years of Clinton’s secretary of state tenure. However, very few details have been released about any of them, except for this one. This email is an exception because when Clinton will be interviewed by the FBI in July 2016, she will be asked about the email, apparently since it was sent from Russia. A September 2016 FBI report will mention it is sent on July 1, 2012 and that the subject line is: “Fw: Congratulations!”
Additionally, an FBI summary of her interview will mention, “Clinton stated she received no particular guidance as to how she should use the president’s email address [redacted]. Since the foregoing email was sent from Russia, Clinton stated she must have sent it from the plane.”
Elsewhere in the FBI report, it will be mentioned that the FBI was unable to determine whenever Clinton sent emails overseas while on the ground or in an airplane because the State Department didn’t give the FBI detailed enough information about her travel schedule. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin will be asked about this email in an April 2016 FBI interview, though it will be described as “an email chain dated June 28, 2012, with the subject ‘Re: Congratulations!'” According to the FBI summary, “Abedin did not recognize the name of the sender. Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be a pseudonym used by [President Obama], Abedin exclaimed ‘How is this not classified?’ Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email. Abedin provided that she did not go on the trip to St. Petersburg [Russia] and noted that security protocols in St. Petersburg were not necessarily the same as they were in Moscow, where they were not allowed use to their BlackBerrys.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
Based on Abedin’s comments, it appears probable that Clinton sends an email in the chain with her BlackBerry from St. Petersburg, Russia, though it is unclear if she is on an airplane at the time or not, or if the plane is flying on on the ground.
Accordng to some basic details that will be revealed about the Clinton-Obama emails in September 2016, it appears Obama emails Clinton on June 28, 2012, then Clinton replies to him on June 28, 2012, which coincides with her time in St. Petersburg, on June 28 and 29, 2012. Then her aide Monica Hanley sends an email to Obama on July 1, 2012. It is not clear why this Hanley email will later be included in a list of Obama-Clinton emails or why the FBI wil refer to a July 1, 2012 email in Clinton’s FBI interview instead of the June 28, 2012 Clinton email mentioned in the Abedin FBI interview. (Vice News, 09/15/16) (Vicc News, 09/15/16)
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (Credit: Lintao Zhang / The Associated Press)
Clinton is sent an email by State Department official Monica Hanley regarding a phone call to United Nations/Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan. The email is a call sheet to help Clinton with her talking points while speaking to Annan. The first paragraph starts with the text: “(C) Purpose of Call.” The “(C)” is an official code known as a “portion marking,” and it indicates the information is classified at the “confidential” level. Other sections of the email are marked with (SBU), a code meaning “sensitive but unclassified.” (US Department of State, 11/30/2015)
This is the second time it is known Clinton received an email clearly marked as classified, after getting another one from Hanley in April 2012. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) This email’s existence won’t be publicly noticed until after FBI Director James Comey will comment on July 5, 2016 that a very small number of Clinton’s emails were marked classified at the time. (The New York Times, 7/5/2016)
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton honor the victims of the Benghazi terrorist attacks at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14, 2012. (Credit: public domain)
“Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts. The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.
(…) A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.” The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”
The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”
(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)
Hillary Clinton appears before a Senate committee to testify on the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. (Credit: Jack Gruber/USA Today)
The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
The DIA document further details:
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]
“CBS News‘ John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo, [dated October 2012], several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” — a problem the report says was “endemic.”
The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.
Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the State Department’s internal watchdog agency, the Inspector General, told Miller, “We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases.”
In such cases, DSS agents told the Inspector General’s investigators that senior State Department officials told them to back off, a charge that Fedenisn says is “very” upsetting.
“We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing,” she said.
In one specific and striking cover-up, State Department agents told the Inspector General they were told to stop investigating the case of a U.S. Ambassador who held a sensitive diplomatic post and was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.
The State Department Inspector General’s memo refers to the 2011 investigation into an ambassador who “routinely ditched … his protective security detail” and inspectors suspect this was in order to “solicit sexual favors from prostitutes.”
Sources told CBS News that after the allegations surfaced, the ambassador was called to Washington, D.C. to meet with Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, but was permitted to return to his post.
Fedenisn says “hostile intelligence services” allow such behavior to continue. “I would be very surprised if some of those entities were not aware of the activities,” she said. “So yes, it presents a serious risk to the United States government.”
A draft of the Inspector General’s report on the performance of the DSS, obtained by CBS News, states, “Hindering such cases calls into question the integrity of the investigative process, can result in counterintelligence vulnerabilities and can allow criminal behavior to continue.” (Read more: CBS News, 6/10/2013)
US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, with his wife in Brussels, was investigated over claims he solicited prostitutes and minor children. (Credit: Zuma Press)
The following day, Foreign Policy writes, “In a fast-developing story, U.S. ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman has been named as the diplomat accused of soliciting “sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to State Department documents obtained by NBC News. Gutman denied the allegations, in a statement to The Cable and other outlets.
“I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating,” he said. “At no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.” (Read more: Foreign Policy, 6/11/2013)
On June 17, 2013, Foreign Policy writes, “The State Department investigator who accused colleagues last week of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and having sex with minors says that Foggy Bottom is now engaged in an “intimidation” campaign to stop her.
Last week’s leaks by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, shined a light on alleged wrongdoing by U.S. officials around the globe. But her attorney Cary Schulman tells The Cable that Fedenisn has paid a steep price: “They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself.”
Fedenisn’s life changed dramatically last Monday after she handed over documents and statements to CBS News alleging that senior State Department officials “influenced, manipulated, or simply called off” several investigations into misconduct. The suppression of investigations was noted in an early draft of an Inspector General report, but softened in the final version.
Erich Hart, general counsel to the Inspector General, did not reply to a request for comment. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week that “we hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly.” She also announced that the department would request additional review by outside law enforcement officers on OIG inspection processes.” (Read more: Foreign Policy, 6/17/2013)
Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton an email with the message, “Got all this done. Complete refutation on Libya smear. Philippe can circulate these links. Sid.” The email also includes links to four recent Media Matters stories questioning aspects of the House Benghazi Committee’s investigation of the government’s response to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack that is very critical of Clinton and her State Department. For instance, one of the stories, published the same day Blumenthal’s email is written, has the title: “Right-Wing Media’s Libya Consulate Security Mythology Falls Apart.”
None of the articles have a Blumenthal by-line, but his “got this done” comment suggests he is somehow involved in making them. Media Matters is a pro-Clinton media watchdog group chaired by David Brock, who will later head Clinton’s main Super PAC for her 2016 presidential campaign.
Jeremy Bash (left) Leon Panetta (right) (Credits: public domain)
Jeremy Bash, who is chief of staff to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the time, sends an email to four other US officials, including Clinton aides Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills. Sullivan then forwards the email to Clinton. The email has the subject heading: “This a.m. Green on Blue.” That is an idiom referring to when police attacks soldiers. The email refers to an Afghan police officer triggering a suicide vest and killing or wounding 14 Americans or Afghans, including one dead American.
The email will later be classified at the “secret” level, suggesting some important classified information in it, but its redactions make it difficult to understand. There is no indication of a reply from Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)
In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, she will be specifically asked about this email, again suggesting something unusual about it. However, her answer will also be heavily reacted. For instance, “Clinton believed she would be speculating if she were to state what [redacted] meant when he referred to [redacted].” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Dario Lorenzetti (public domain)
On February 4, 2016, NBC News will reveal that the email concerns undercover CIA officer Dario Lorenzetti. He died in the suicide attack described in the email. Lorenzetti’s CIA connection was leaked to the media by anonymous officials four days after his death and was widely reported in the news media, although his CIA cover was not lifted until later.
According to NBC News, in the redacted portions of the email, it seems Bash was trying “to preserve the CIA officer’s cover. But some of the language he used, now that Lorenzetti is known to have been a CIA officer, could be read as a US government acknowledgement that CIA officers pose as State Department personnel in a specific country, Afghanistan — something widely known but not formally admitted.” This is why the email is classified at the “secret” level.
Bash ends the email by instructing a CIA spokesperson to “please lash up with [redacted].” NBC News will indicate the missing word is “presumably either the spy agency or one of its employees.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)
This may be the phrase that the FBI asked Clinton about, and to which she replied that “she would be speculating if she were to state what [redacted] meant when he referred to [redacted].” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
NBC News will also interview Bash about this email. Bash will claim that the email “did not reference the individual’s name, employer, nor any identifying description or information.” Additionally, once the CIA posthumously lifted Lorenzetti’s cover, “the original unclassified email could be read to confirm the general use of cover, prompting the redactions we now see. But any suggestion that this email contained confirmation about the person or his cover, or any inappropriate information, is flat wrong.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)
On December 6, 2012, the non-profit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) files a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asking for records that show the number of Clinton’s email accounts. (US Department of State, 7/29/2016)
Brock Johnson (Credit: Facebook)
Five days later, State Department official Brock Johnson sends an email to Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills about this. It has the subject heading: “FW: Significant FOIA Request.” This email will be made public in July 2016 due to a different FOIA request by Judicial Watch.
Johnson writes in his email: “FYI [For your information] on the attached FOIA request from: ‘The request by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) ask for “records sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.”‘” Then he forwards an email to him about the request, and also includes the entire request as an attachment. (US Department of State, 7/29/2016)
A snippet of Brock Johnson’s email to Cheryl Mills. (Credit: public domain)
It appears likely that Mills then forwards this email to Clinton, because Clinton will be interviewed by the FBI in July 2016, and she will be asked about over a dozen specific emails sent to her, and she will be asked about an email sent on the same date, December 11, 2012, with the exact same subject heading, “FW: Significant FOIA Report.” If Clinton is sent the email, it isn’t included in the over 30,000 work-related emails Clinton will give to the State Department in December 2014.
According to a later FBI report, “Clinton stated she did not recall the specific request and was not aware of receiving any FOIA requests for information related to her email during her tenure as secretary of state. [The] State [Department] had a FOIA department and Clinton relied on the professionals in that department to address FOIA matters.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Although it has not been confirmed Clinton gets the email, there’s no doubt Mills does. And even though Mills is very aware of Clinton’s private email address since she frequently sends emails to it, she doesn’t take any action and merely has an aide monitor the progress of CREW’s request.
Melanie Sloan (Credit: CREW)
Melanie Sloan, the executive director of CREW, will later say, “Cheryl Mills should have corrected the record. She knew this wasn’t a complete and full answer.”
In May 2013, the State Department will respond to CREW, “no records responsive to your request were located.” Other requests for Clinton’s records will meet the same fate until the House Benghazi Committee finds out about her private email account in 2014.
This is according to a FBI report that will be released in September 2016. It is known the staffer whose account gets breached is female, but her name will be redacted. The unnamed hacker uses the anonymity software Tor to browse through this staffer’s messages and attachments on the server.
The FBI will call this the only confirmed “successful compromise of an email account on the server.” But the FBI will not be able to determine who the hacker is or how the hacker obtained the staffer’s username and password to access her account. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Wired will later comment, “The compromise of a Bill Clinton staffer—who almost certainly had no access to any of then-Secretary Clinton’s classified material—doesn’t make the security of those classified documents any clearer. But it will no doubt be seized on by the Clintons’ political opponents to raise more questions about their server’s security.”
Dave Aitel (Credit: Immunity)
Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano is in charge of monitoring the server’s access logs at the time.
But Dave Aitel, a former NSA security analyst and founder of the cypersecurity company Immunity, will later comment that the breach shows a lack of attention to the logs. “They weren’t auditing and restricting IP addresses accessing the server. That’s annoying and difficult when your user is the secretary of state and traveling all around the world… But if she’s in Russia and I see a login from Afghanistan, I’d say that’s not right, and I’d take some intrusion detection action. That’s not the level this team was at.” (Wired, 9/2/2016)
When Pagliano is interviewed by the FBI in December 2015, he will claim that he knew of no instance when the server was successfully breached, suggesting he didn’t know about this incident. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
And when Justin Cooper, a Bill Clinton aide who helped Pagliano manage the server, will be asked about the incident in September 2016, he will say he knew nothing about it until he read about it in the FBI report released earlier that month. (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
In a July 2016 FBI interview, “Clinton [will state] that she received no instructions or direction regarding the preservation or production of records from [the] State [Department] during the transition out of her role as secretary of state in early 2013. Furthermore, Clinton believed her work-related emails were captured by her practice of sending emails to State employees’ official State email accounts.”
At the end of Clinton’s tenure of secretary of state in February 2013, her private server is still being managed by Bryan Pagliano and Justin Cooper, with Pagliano doing most of the technical work and Cooper doing most of the customer service work. The management of the server will be taken over by the Platte River Networks (PRN) computer company in June 2013. It seems possible that the server is not as actively managed in the months in between.
Justin Cooper testifies to the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee on September 13, 2016. (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)
In September 2016, Cooper will be questioned by a Congressional committee. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) will ask him, “[Y]ou stepped back from the day-to-day activities with the Clintons about the time of the transition, is that correct? As she left office?”
He will reply, ‘Yes.”
When asked about his knowledge of what happened to server security after the hacker known as Guccifer broke into the email account of a Clinton confidant and publicly exposed Clinton’s email address on the server in March 2013, Cooper will reply, “At that point in time I was transitioning out of any role or responsibility with the server as various teams were selecting Platte River Networks to take over the email services and I don’t know that I had any sort of direct response.”
Additionally, when Cooper will be asked about his contact with PRN, he will say, “My interaction was handing over user names and passwords and that was the totality of the interaction I’ve had. I’ve never had interaction with them.” (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
It is not known if Pagliano similarly cuts down his involvement with managing the server during this time, since he has refused to publicly comment about his experiences. The FBI has mentioned nothing about the management of Pagliano or Cooper during this time period. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
“Something that has gone unnoticed in all the talk about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails is the content of the original leak that started the entire investigation to begin with. In March of 2013, a Romanian hacker calling himself Guccifer hacked into the AOL account of Sidney Blumenthal and leaked to Russia Todayfour e-mails containing intelligence on Libya that Blumenthal sent to Hillary Clinton.
For those who haven’t been following this story, Sidney Blumenthal is a long time friend and adviser of the Clinton family who in an unofficial capacity sent many “intelligence memos” to Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. Originally displayed on RT.com in Comic Sans font on a pink background with the letter “G” clumsily drawn as a watermark, no one took these leaked e-mails particularly seriously when they came out in 2013. Now, however, we can cross reference this leak with the e-mails the State Department released to the public.
The original Blumenthal email released by Guccifer and missing from Clinton’s emails. (Credit: Guccifer)
This missing e-mail from February 16, 2013 only exists in the original leak and states that French and Libyan intelligence agencies had evidence that the In Amenas and Benghazi attacks were funded by “Sunni Islamists in Saudi Arabia.” This seems like a rather outlandish claim on the surface, and as such was only reported by conspiracy types and fringe media outlets. Now, however, we have proof that the other three e-mails in the leak were real correspondence from Blumenthal to Clinton that she not only read, but thought highly enough of to send around to others in the State Department. Guccifer speaks English as a second language and most of his writing consists of rambling conspiracies, it’s unlikely he would be able to craft such a convincing fake intelligence briefing. This means we have an e-mail from a trusted Clinton adviser that claims the Saudis funded the Benghazi attack, and not only was this not followed up on, but there is not any record of this e-mail ever existing except for the Russia Today leak.
Why is this e-mail missing? At first I assumed it must be due to some sort of cover up, but it’s much simpler than that. The e-mail in question was sent after February 1st, 2013, when John Kerry took over as Secretary of State, so it was not part of the time period being investigated. No one is trying to find a copy of this e-mail. Since Clinton wasn’t Secretary of State on February 16th, it wasn’t her job to follow up on it. (Read more: William Reynolds, 3/07/2016)
In the spring of 2013, Clinton aide Monica Hanley works with Bill Clinton aide Justin Cooper to create an archive of Clinton’s emails. Clinton aide Huma Abedin will later tell the FBI that the archive was created as a reference for the future production of a book. Whereas Hanley will later tell the FBI that the archive was created as a security precaution after Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal had his email account broken into on March 14, 2013, publicly exposing Clinton’s email address.
Cooper gives Hanley an Apple MacBook laptop from the Clinton Foundation and helps her through the process of remotely transferring Clinton’s emails from Clinton’s server to the laptop and a thumb drive. These two copies of the Clinton emails are intended to be stored in Clinton’s houses in Chappaqua, New York, and Whitehaven, Washington, DC. However, Hanley will tell the FBI that this doesn’t happen because she forgets to give the laptop and the thumb drive to Clinton’s staff.
Nearly a full year will pass before Hanley finds the laptop again. She will send it though the mail, only to apparently have it get permanently lost somehow. It is unclear what happens to the thumb drive, but it will not be seen again either. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
On March 14, 2013, the Romanian hacker known as Guccifer broke into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal and learned Clinton’s private email address and thus her clintonemail.com server domain.
A September 2016 FBI report will reveal that “An examination of log files [of Clinton’s server] from March 2013 indicated that IP addresses from Russia and Ukraine attempted to scan the server on March 15, 2013, the day after the Blumenthal compromise, and on March 19 and March 21, 2013. However, none of these attempts were successful, and it could not be determined whether this activity was attributable to [Guccifer].” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
“Judicial Watch today released new documents from the U.S. Department of State showing the Podesta Group working on behalf of the pro-Russia Ukrainian political group “Party of Regions.” The new documents also show longtime Obama and Clinton counselor John Podesta lobbying on behalf of his brother’s firm.
Judicial Watch obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department filed on November 20, 2017, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-02489)). The lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to respond to a September 13, 2017, FOIA request for:
All records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State and any principal, employee, or representative of Podesta Group, Inc.
All records produced related to any meetings or telephonic communications between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State and any principal, employee, or representative of Podesta Group, Inc.
All records regarding the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.
The FOIA request covers the timeframe of January 1, 2012 to the present.
A March 28, 2013, email from now-Deputy Executive Secretary in the Office of the Secretary of State Baxter Hunt shows the Podesta Group, led by Tony Podesta, a Clinton bundler and brother of Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta, represented the Party of Regions, a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine.
In the March 2013 email, to a number of officials including then-U.S. Foreign Service Officer John Tefft (who would go on to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 2014) and State Department director for the Office of Eastern Europe Alexander Kasanof, Hunt writes:
See below, I also stressed to them the need for GOU to take concrete steps to get new SBA with IMF and avoid PFC/loss of GSP. Podesta Group is noted among host of Ukraine lobbyists in article I’ll forward in article on low side.
Ben Chang and Mark Tavlarides of the Podesta Group, which is representing the Party of Regions, told us they were working with Klyuyev on a visit he plans to make to Washington in early May. They are working to broaden the POR’s contacts on the Hill, including setting up a meeting for Klyuyev with Chris Smith, and have advised Kyiv to stop trying to justify their actions against Tymoshenko in Washington. They also noted that during his recent meeting with former EC President Prodi, HFAC Chairman Ed Royce said that Congress would not be enacting sanctions legislation against Ukraine.
The Party of Regions served as the pro-Kremlin political base for Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014.
Like Paul Manafort, who is currently under indictment in the errant special counsel Russia investigation, the Podesta Group had to retroactively file Foreign Agent Registration Act disclosures with the Justice Department for Ukrainian-related work. The filing states that the Podesta group provided for the nonprofit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine “government relations and public relations services within the United States and Europe to promote political and economic cooperation between Ukraine and the West. The [Podesta Group] conducted outreach to congressional and executive branch offices, members of the media, nongovernmental organizations and think tanks.” Unlike Manafort and his partner Rick Gates, the Mueller special counsel operation hasn’t indicted anyone from the Podesta Group. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 5/17/2018)
Clinton sends an email to former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, former Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, State Department official Jeffrey Feltman, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, and Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin. Many of the email recipients continue to advise Clinton after leaving the department at the same time she did, around February 2013.
From left to right, William Burns (Credit: public domain) Kurt Campbell (Credit: public domain) Jeffrey Feltman (Credit: PatrickTsui / FCO)
In the email, Clinton recalls “remember how after US signed 123 deal [with] UAE [the United Arab Emirates] and we were in Abu Dhabi [the capital of the UAE].” This is a reference to a 2009 pact between the US and the UAE to share nuclear energy information and materials, with the UAE also agreeing not to pursue building a nuclear weapon. Much of the rest of the email is unintelligible because it is heavily redacted for containing information that is later considered classified, at the “confidential” level.
The email will be made public in August 2016 due to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents sent by Clinton after her tenure as secretary of state ended to officials still at the State Department. This is the only email in response to the FOIA request sent or received by Clinton later deemed classified.
Department spokesperson John Kirby will later comment: “I am not going to speak to the content but I would point you to that one of the FOIA exemptions here we used was 1.4B which is foreign government information. And as we previously explained, while foreign government information may be protected from public release, both the executive order on classification and the foreign affairs manual acknowledge that foreign government information can often be maintained on unclassified systems.” (NBC News, 9/1/2016) (US Department of State, 6/26/2016)
Datto Cloud engineer Charles Lundblad (left) chats with CEO and founder of Datto, Austin McChord, at the firm’s Norwalk, CT headquarters. (Credit: Erik Traufmann / Hearst Connecticut Media)
On May 31, 2013, Platte River Networks (PRN) takes over management of Clinton’s private server. On the same day, PRN buys a Datto SIRIS S2000 data storage device, which is made by Datto, Inc. Over the next month, this is attached to Clinton’s server to provide periodic back-up copies of the data on the server. PRN sends a bill for the device to Clinton Executive Service Corp. (CESC), which is a Clinton family company.
CESC employees work with PRN employees on how the Datto device is configured. Datto offers a local back-up and a remote back-up using the Internet “cloud.” CESC asks for a local back-up and specifically requests that no data be stored in the Internet cloud at any time.
However, due to an apparent misunderstanding, back-up copies of the server will be periodically made both locally and in the cloud. This will only be discovered by PRN as a whole in August 2015. (US Congress, 9/12/2016)
However, despite internal PRN emails from August 2015 indicating many PRN employees didn’t know about the Datto cloud back-up until that time, the FBI will later find evidence that an unknown PRN employee deleted data from the cloud back-up in March 2015, meaning that at least one PRN employee had to have known about the cloud back-up by that time.
After Platte River Networks (PRN) is selected to manage Clinton’s private email server on May 31, 2013, the company decides to immediately relocate the server and then also replace it with a better one.
The founders of Platte River Network: Brent Allshouse (left) and Treve Suavo (right). (Credit: Platte River Networks)
PRN assigns two employees to manage the new server (which will be the third server used by Clinton). The FBI will later redact the names of these two employees, but it is known that one of them works remotely from his home in some unnamed town and will handle the day-to-day administration of the server, and the other one works at PRN’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado, and handles all hardware installation and any required physical maintenance of the server. Media reports will later name the two employees as Paul Combetta, who works from Rhode Island, and Bill Thornton.
The employee at PRN’s headquarters (who logically would be Thorton) works with Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano to help with the transition. Around June 4, 2013, this person is granted administrator access to the server, as well as any accompanying services.
Equinix Logo (Credit: public domain)
On June 23, 2013, this person travels to Clinton’s house in Chappaqua, New York, shuts down the server, and transports it to a data center in Secaucus, New Jersey, run by Equinix, Inc. This older server will stay at the Equinix facility until it is given to the FBI on October 3, 2015.
The PRN headquarters employee (still likely to be Thornton) turns the old server back on in the Equinix data center so users can continue to access their email accounts. Then he spends a few days there setting up a new server. When he leaves, all the physical equipment for the new server is successfully installed except for an intrusion detection device, which Equinix installs later, once it gets shipped.
Meanwhile, the PRN employee who works remotely (Combetta) does his remote work to get the new server online. Around June 30, 2013, this employee begins to transfer all the email accounts from the old server to the new one. After several days, all email accounts hosted on the presidentclinton.com, wjcoffice.com, and clintonemail.com domains are transferred. However, PRN keeps the old server online at the Equinix data center along with the new server to ensure email continues to be delivered. But the old server no longer hosts email services for the Clintons.
According to an FBI report made public in September 2016, “The new Clinton email server hosted email for [Hillary] Clinton, President Clinton, [redacted], and their respective staffs.”
The Dell PowerEdge R620 (Credit: public domain)
This same FBI report will explain that the new server consists of the following equipment: “a Dell PowerEdge R620 server hosting four virtual machines, including four separate virtual machines for Microsoft Exchange email hosting, a BES for the management of BlackBerry devices, a domain controller to authenticate password requests, and an administrative server to manage the other three virtual machines, a Datto SfRlS 2000 to store onsite and remote backups of the server system, a CloudJacket device for intrusion prevention, two Dell switches, and two Fortinet Fortigate 80C firewalls.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
The FBI report will not make entirely clear what happens to the data on the old server. But a September 2015Washington Post article will assert that after PRN moved all the data onto a new server, everything on the original server was deleted until it is “blank.” However, it was not wiped, which means having the old files overwritten several times with new data until they can never be recovered. (The Washington Post, 9/12/2015)
In June 2013, Platte River Networks (PRN) takes over management of Clinton’s server. Late in the month, they replace the server with a new one and then transfer the data to it. They subcontract with the company Datto, Inc. and purchase a device called the Datto SIRIS S2000 to make periodic back-ups of all the data on the new server. The first such back-up takes place on June 24, 2013.
But data is still being transferred from the old server to the new one. The June 29, 2013 back-up will later prove to be the most important one for FBI investigators, as it apparently is the first one after the data transfer is completed. From that point onwards, emails from Clinton’s four years as secretary of state are likely to only get lost from the server, not added.
The FBI will later report that all of Clinton’s emails at the start of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, from January 23, 2009 to March 17, 2009 were missing from the over 30,000 emails Clinton handed over. But the FBI’s Clinton investigation recovered some these emails because they were “captured through a Datto backup on June 29, 2013. However, the emails obtained are likely only a subset of the emails sent or received by Clinton during this time period.”
Clinton’s first server was replaced around March 18, 2009 by the same server that PRN then decided to replace in June 2013. But presumably some of the emails on the first server were transferred to the second server, from instance by being in email inboxes, and then were transferred again by PRN to the newest (and third) server.
One thing that isn’t clear is how many of the emails from after March 18, 2009 were recovered by the FBI. It also isn’t clear if the FBI recovered emails from a Datto device attached to the new server, or if it was from a copy of the data that Datto kept in the “cloud,” over the Internet. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
According to an unnamed Platte River Networks (PRN) employee, Clinton’s server has encryption protection to combat hackers, but the individual emails have not been protected with encryption. With PRN taking over management of the server in June 2013, this employee will later tell the FBI that “the Clintons originally requested that email on [Clinton’s] server be encrypted such that no one but the users could read the content. However, PRN ultimately did not configure the email settings this way, to allow system administrators to troubleshoot problems occurring within user accounts.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In December 2012, the non-profit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asking for records that show the number of Clinton’s email accounts. (US Department of State, 7/29/2016) But in May 2013, State Department official Sheryl Walter sent a response letter to CREW that stated “no records responsive to your request were located.” US Department of State, 8/29/2016)
In early June 2013, some State Department officials looking over material to possibly give to a Congressional investigation discovered Clinton’s private email address. Then, in the ensuing weeks, senior department officials debated if they were required to turn over such information. In fact, regulations state they are required to do so, but they ultimately fail to share the address with anyone anyway. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)
During this apparent debate period, on August 7, 2013, employees of the department’s FOIA response team search for FOIA requests related to Clinton’s emails.
Geoff Hermesman (Credit: LinkedIn)
Margaret Grafeld mentions in an email to John Hackett, Sheryl Walter, Karen Finnegan, Geoff Hermesman, and two other department officials, “John, you mentioned yesterday requests for Secretary Clinton’s emails; may I get copies, pls [please] and thx [thanks].”
Sheryl Walter replies to the group, “Goeff, can you get a copy of all requests related to this request? Karen, I don’t think we have any litigation on this topic, do we? Did we respond to the CREW request yet?” (Walter actually was the one who wrote CREW in May 2013 that no emails had been found.)
Geoff Hermesman then replies to Sheryl Walter and the group, “Sheryl, A search of the F2 database identified 17 FOIA cases that contain Clinton in the subject line and can be further construed as requests for correspondence between the Secretary and other individuals and/or organizations. Of these, four specifically mention emails or email accounts.” He also mentions that two of those four cases are open and the other two are closed.
Gene Smilansky (Credit: New York Times)
Walter then emails just Karen Finnegan and Gene Smilansky, “What about the CREW request? Is that still outstanding?”
Finnegan explains in subsequent emails to Walter and Smilansky that CREW was sent a response, and then provides the exact quote of the CREW request.
Smilansky, who is a department lawyer and legal counsel, then asks Walter and Finnegan to discuss it with him over the phone, so that is the end of the email trail. (US Department of State, 8/29/2016)
There is no evidence any of the 17 FOIA requesters are told about Clinton emails that are responsive to their cases, presumably due to the above-mentioned higher-level department debate. Only in the later half of 2014 will the department change this policy, after a new Congressional committee search for documents.
From late June 2013 until October 2013, Platte River Networks (PRN) is managing the server, apparently without any anti-hacking software. In October 2013, the software they have been waiting for arrives and is installed. This is an intrusion detection and prevention system called CloudJacket from SECNAP Network Security.
According to a later FBI report, it “had pre-configured settings that blocked or blacklisted certain email traffic identified as potentially harmful and provided real-time monitoring, alerting, and incident response services. SECNAP personnel would receive notifications when certain activity on the network triggered an alert. These notifications were reviewed by SECNAP personnel and, at times, additional follow-up was conducted with PRN in order to ascertain whether specific activity on the network was normal or anomalous. Occasionally, SECNAP would send email notifications to [an unnamed PRN employee], prompting him to block certain IP addresses. [This employee] described these notifications as normal and did not recall any serious security incident or intrusion attempt.”
Additionally, “PRN also implemented two firewalls for additional protection of the network. [This PRN employee] stated that he put two firewalls in place for redundancy in case one went down.”
The FBI report will also conclude, “Forensic analysis of alert email records automatically generated by CloudJacket revealed multiple instances of potential malicious actors attempting to exploit vulnerabilities on the PRN Server. FBI determined none of the activity, however, was successful against the server.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Clinton is greeted by Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg Oleg Markov, as US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul looks on in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 28, 2012. (Credit: public domain)
Clinton gives a private paid speech for Goldman Sachs, a financial services company. In it, she says, “[A]nybody who has ever traveled in other countries, some of which shall remain nameless, except for Russia and China, you know that you can’t bring your phones and your computers. And if you do, good luck. I mean, we would not only take the batteries out, we would leave the batteries and the devices on the plane in special boxes. Now, we didn’t do that because we thought it would be fun to tell somebody about. We did it because we knew that we were all targets and that we would be totally vulnerable.”
She will make similar comments in a private paid speech on August 28, 2014: “[E]very time I went to countries like China or Russia, I mean, we couldn’t take our computers, we couldn’t take our personal devices, we couldn’t take anything off the plane because they’re so good, they would penetrate them in a minute, less, a nanosecond. So we would take the batteries out, we’d leave them on the plane.”
The comments from both speeches will be flagged as potentially politically embarrassing by Tony Carrk, Clinton’s research director. Although the comments are made in private, Carrk’s January 2016 email mentioning the quotes will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)
Based on information from 2016 FBI interviews of Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin, it appears Clinton used her BlackBerry while still secretary of state to send an email to President Obama from St. Petersburg, Russia on June 28, 2012.
In June 2013, Platte River Networks (PRN) took over the management of Clinton’s private server. They immediately moved her server to an Equinix data center in Secaucus, New Jersey, and then transferred the data to a new server. The old server remained turned on next to the new one, apparently to assist with the delivery of incoming emails.
According to a September 2015 FBI interview with Paul Combetta, the PRN employee who does most of the active management of the server, around December 2013, PRN decides that email delivery on the new server is working well. As a result, the old server is turned off. It, along with a NAS back-up hard drive attached to it, will remain disconnected until the FBI picks it up on August 12, 2015. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
When Clinton became secretary of state in January 2009, her emails were hosted on her first private email server, which was an Apple computer (either an Apple Power Macintosh G4 or G5 tower). In March 2009, the server was replaced by a new one built by Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano. The old server was repurposed to serve as a personal computer and/or workstation for household staff at Clinton’s Chappaqua, New York, house.
At some unknown point in 2014, the data on this Apple computer is transferred to an Apple iMac computer. The hard drive of the old Apple computer is then discarded. Clinton’s emails from January 2009 until around March 18, 2009, are apparently lost as a result.
On October 14, 2015, Williams & Connolly, the law firm of Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, tells the Justice Department that a review of the iMac was conducted, as requested by the Justice Department, and no emails were found belonging to Clinton from when she was secretary of state. The FBI will not directly examine the iMac. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In the spring of 2013, Clinton aide Monica Hanley made a copy of all of Clinton’s emails on a MacBook laptop to make a safe back-up copy of them. Then she apparently forgot to do anything with it for nearly a full year.
The 2013 Apple MacBook Air Laptop (Credit: public domain)
In early 2014, Hanley finds the laptop where it has been stored at her personal residence. She attempts to transfer the archive of Clinton’s emails to Platte River Networks (PRN), the computer company which is managing Clinton’s private server by this time. She works with PRN employee Paul Combetta. After trying unsuccessfully to remotely transfer the emails to him, Hanley ships the laptop to his residence in February 2014. Combetta then transfers Clinton’s emails from the laptop onto Clinton’s private server.
This server already should contain all of Clinton’s old emails. But the server that existed when Hanley made the back-up in the spring of 2013 was replaced in June 2013 by a new server, so it is possible that some emails get transferred at the time didn’t get successfully transferred before.
Combetta transfers all of the Clinton email content to a personal Gmail email address he created. Then he downloads all the emails from the Gmail account to a mailbox on the new Clinton server. He will later tell the FBI that he used the Gmail as a middle step because he had format compatibility issues.
Hanley will later tell the FBI that she recommended that PRN wipe the laptop after the emails were transferred to the server. (“Wiping” means repeatedly overwriting the data so it can never be recovered.) However, Combetta will tell the FBI that once the transfer was done, he deleted the emails from the laptop but didn’t do any wiping. He also deleted the emails uploaded to the Gmail account.
According to the FBI’s final report, Combetta then ships the laptop to a person whose name will later be redacted, but works on Clinton’s staff in some capacity. He ships it through the mail, using United States Postal Service (USPS) or United Parcel Service (UPS). The unnamed Clinton staffer will later tell the FBI that she never received the laptop. She will say that Clinton’s staff was moving offices at the time, and it would have been easy for the package to get lost during the transition period.
According to Combetta’s September 2015 FBI interview, he “shipped the foregoing MacBook back to [redacted], but recalled nothing about the return shipment.” That would presumably mean he shipped it back to Hanley, since she shipped it to him. But in Hanley’s January 2016 interview, she will claim to have asked another woman (whose name is redacted) if they ever received laptop and were told they did not. Thus it would appear Combetta and Hanley will have different accounts of who is sent the laptop.
“The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show. Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn.
The EEOC case, which is still pending, was serious enough to require McCabe to submit to a sworn statement to investigators, the documents show.
The deputy director’s testimony provided some of the strongest evidence in the case of possible retaliation, because he admitted the FBI opened an internal investigation into Gritz’s personal conduct after learning the agent “had filed or intended to file” a sex discrimination complaint against her supervisors. (Read more: Circa, 6/27/2017)
The committee reaches an agreement with the State Department “regarding the production of records.” This will be mentioned in a September 2016 FBI report in the context of Clinton’s emails. However, further details are not known. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
A captured shot of Combetta’s ‘stonetear’ GMail account with picture included. (Credit: public domain)
A Reddit user by the name of “stonetear” makes a Reddit post that will later cause controversy. Overwhelming evidence will emerge that “stonetear” is Paul Combetta, one of two Platte River Networks (PRN) employees actively managing Clinton’s private server at the time. The post reads:
“Hello all — I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email that I have both in a live Exchange mailbox, as well as a PST file. Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out. I am not sure if something like this is possible with PowerShell, or exporting all of the emails to MSG and doing find/replaces with a batch processing program of some sort. Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?”
This July 24, 2014 Reddit post contained a request for advice about “stripping out” the email address of a “VERY VIP” email account. (Credit: Reddit)
A response captured in the Reddit chat warning Combetta that what he wants to do could result in “major legal issues.” (Credit: Reddit)
The post in made in a sub-forum frequented by other people who manage servers. One poster comments: “There is no supported way to do what you’re asking. You can only delete emails after they’re stored in the database. You can’t change them. If there was a feature in Exchange that allowed this, it would result in major legal issues. There may be ways to hack a solution, but I’m not aware of any.”
Despite this warning, “stonetear” replies, “As a .pst file or exported MSG files, this could be done though, yes? The issue is that these emails involve the private email address of someone you’d recognize and we’re trying to replace it with a placeholder as to not expose it.” (Reddit, 9/19/2016)
The post occurs one day after the House Benghazi Committee reached an agreement with the State Department on the production of records relating to Clinton’s communications. It also came one day after Combetta sent some of Clinton’s emails to Clinton’s lawyers so they could begin sorting them.
After Combetta is discovered to have authored the post in September 2016, Fortune Magazine will comment, “it’s not clear if there is anything illegal about the Reddit request. But the optics sure don’t look good, and strongly suggest that Combetta turned to social media for advice about how to tamper with government records that should been preserved.” (Fortune, 9/21/2016)
Samuelson’s task is to sort all the emails from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state into those deemed work-related and those deemed personal. She appears to have no security clearance and no special skills or experience for such a task.
In late July 2014, Platte River Networks (PRN), the company managing Clinton’s private server, emails some of Clinton’s emails to the laptops of Samuelson and Cheryl Mills, another Clinton lawyer (and her former chief of staff). PRN sends Samuelson and Mills the rest of Clinton’s emails in late September 2014. In 2016, Samuelson will tell the FBI that the sorting review takes several months and is completed just prior to December 5, 2014, when copies of the work-related emails are given to the State Department.
According to Samuelson’s 2016 FBI interview, she does the sorting on her laptop. She puts the work-related emails she finds into a computer folder. She first adds all emails sent to or from Clinton’s email account with .gov and .mil email addresses. Then she searches the remaining emails for the names of senior leaders in the State Department, as well as members of Congress, foreign leaders, or other official contacts.
Finally, she conducts a keyword search of terms such as “Afghanistan,” “Libya,” and “Benghazi.” Samuelson will claim that she reviews the “to,” “from,” and “subject” fields of every email; but she doesn’t read the content of every individual email. In some instances, she decides a if an email is work or personal by only reviewing the “to,” “from,” and “subject’ fields.
After Samuelson finishes her sorting, she prints all of the emails to be given to the State Department using a printer in Mills’ office. Then Mills and Kendall subsequently reviews emails that Samuelson printed. Any hard copy of an email Mills and Kendall deem not to be work-related is shredded, and the digital copy of the email is removed from the computer folder Samuelson created of all of the work-related emails.
Mills will later tell the FBI that, she only reviewed emails where Samuelson requested her guidance. There is no sign in the FBI’s final report that Kendall was interviewed about this matter.
With the sorting process completed, Samuelson creates a .pst file containing all of the work-related emails, and also makes sure that all work-related emails are printed to give to the State Department. The .pst file is given to Kendall on a USB thumb drive. On August 6, 2015, Kendall will give this thumb drive to the FBI, with consent from Clinton.
This account appears to be based mostly or entirely on the accounts of Samuelson and Mills. An FBI report will note: “The FBI was unable to obtain a complete list of keywords or named officials searched from Samuelson, Mills, or Clinton’s other attorneys due to an assertion of [attorney-client] privilege. ”
The 30,068 emails deemed work-related are given to the State Department, while the 31,830 deemed personal will later be deleted. The FBI will eventually find over 17,000 of the deleted emails, and thousands of them will be determined work-related after all. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, she will claim that she had no role whatsoever in the sorting process, other than telling her lawyers to do it.
In late July 2014, the State Department informally requested Clinton to provide all her work-related emails from when she was secretary of state. Cheryl Mills, one of Clinton’s lawyers (as well as her former chief of staff), then had Platte River Networks (PRN), the company managing Clinton’s private server, send her and Clinton lawyer Heather Samuelson copies of all of Clinton’s emails that were sent to or received from anyone with a .gov email address.
According to a later FBI report, in late September 2014, Mills and Samuelson then ask an unnamed PRN employee to send them all of Clinton’s emails from her tenure as secretary of state, including emails sent to or received from non-.gov email addresses. Mills and Samuelson will later tell the FBI that “this follow-up request was made to ensure their review captured all of the relevant.” The PRN employee does so. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Although the name of the PRN employee is unknown, the only two employees actively managing Clinton’s server at the time are Paul Combetta and Bill Thornton. Combetta sent the earrlier batch of emails in late July 2014.
Cheryl Mills after testifying privately to the House Benghazi Committee while Representatives Elijah Cummings and Trey Gowdy stand behind her, on September 3, 2015. (Credit Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)
On September 3, 2015, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills will testify 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 state.gov 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)
Paul Combetta is the Platte River Networks (PRN) employee doing most of the active managing of Clinton’s private server. In a September 2015 FBI interview, he will claim that a person working for the Clinton family company Clinton Executive Service Corp. (CESC) whose name is later redacted contacts him around December 2014 and tells him that Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin are getting new email accounts on a different server not administered by PRN. Indeed, other sources indicate that in December 2014, Clinton and Abedin get new email accounts on a server with the hrcoffice.com domain name.
As part of this change, Combetta copies Clinton’s email from her firstname.lastname@example.org email address to her new hrcoffice.com address. Clinton began using the email@example.com address in late March 2013, shortly after her tenure as secretary of state ended. Combetta will claim that nobody told him “to transfer any archived email to the new server.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
However, Clinton’s earlier emails could have been transferred to her new email address around the time it was created in late March 2013, in which case they too would get copied to the hrcoffice.com server. But the FBI will never search this server to see if any of Clinton’s emails from her tenure as secretary of state can be recovered from it.
On October 28, 2014, the State Department formally asked Clinton for copies of all her work-related emails, after asking informally for several months. Three lawyers working for Clinton, Cheryl Mills, David Kendall, and Heather Samuelson, then sorted Clinton’s emails into those they deemed work-related or personal.
Paul Combetta (Credit: Facebook)
According to a later FBI report, “on or around December 2014 or January 2015, Mills and Samuelson requested that [Platte River Networks (PRN) employee Paul Combetta] remove from their laptops all of the emails from the July and September 2014 exports. [Combetta] used a program called BleachBit to delete the email-related files so they could not be recovered.” PRN is the computer company managing Clinton’s emails at the time.
The FBI report will explain, “BleachBit is open source software that allows users to ‘shred’ files, clear Internet history, delete system and temporary files and wipe free space on a hard drive. Free space is the area of the hard drive that can contain data that has been deleted. BleachBit’s ‘shred files’ function claims to securely erase files by overwriting data to make the data unrecoverable.”
ScreenConnect Logo (Credit: public domain)
Combetta then remotely connects to the laptops of Mills and Samuelson using the computer program ScreenConnect to complete the deletions. Clinton’s emails are being stored in a .pst file. Combetta will later tell the FBI “that an unknown Clinton staff member told him s/he did not want the .pst file after the export and wanted it removed from the [Clinton server]” as well.
The Clinton emails are deleted from the laptops of Mills and Samuelson around this time. But another copy of all the emails exist on the server. Combetta will delete those emails as well, in late March 2015. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Since early 2009, Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin have had private email accounts on the clintonemail.com domain, which is hosted on Clinton’s private email server.
Chelsea Clinton and Huma Abedin chat while on the campaign trail in 2008. Huma also appears to be holding two flip phones and a BlackBerry. (Credit: Reuters)
According to a September 2016 FBI report, the new domain hrcoffice.com is created in December 2014. In a later FBI interview, Abedin stated the clintonemail.com system was “going away,” and after the initiation of the new domain, she didn’t have access to her clintonemail.com account anymore. Presumably the same is true for Clinton (and the few others who had email accounts on the domain, such as Chelsea Clinton).
The FBI report will indicate the hrcoffice.com domain is hosted on different equipment, which presumably means a different server. But the clintonemail.com server will continue to run until October 2015, when it will be confiscated by the FBI.
As part of the transfer process, Platte River Networks employee Paul Combetta copies all of Clinton’s emails from her current account on the clintonemail.com server to her new acccount on the hrcoffice.com server.
In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, the FBI will summarize Clinton as saying: “Clinton transitioned to an email address on the hrcoffice.com domain because she had a small number of personal staff, but no physical office or common email domain. To address these issues, she moved to a common email domain and physical office space. After this move, Clinton did not recall any further access to clintonemail.com.”
The switch comes about one month after the State Department formally asked Clinton for all of her work-related emails from her secretary of state tenure, when she used her clintonemail.com account. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Gowdy shakes hands with Clinton after she testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on October 22, 2015. (Credit: CNN)
Representative Trey Gowdy (R) sends a letter to Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall on behalf of the House Benghazi Committee, which he chairs. In the letter, he cites over a dozen examples of emails from Clinton’s private clintonemail.com email address relating to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack that have been recently uncovered. He suggests there are probably many more relevant emails still to be discovered. He also notes evidence that Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin has a clintonemail.com email address.
The letter concludes with a formal request for all emails relevant to the Benghazi attack from Clinton’s clintonemail.com address from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012, to be turned over by December 31, 2014. (US Department of State, 2/4/2016)
Clinton will give the State Department over 30,000 emails just three days later, but these will not yet be available to the House Benghazi Committee. The committee will not get the Benghazi-related emails until February 13, 2015, and they will be sent from the State Department, not from Clinton’s lawyer.
In 2016, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills will be interviewed by the FBI. Mills will claim that in December 2014, Clinton decided she no longer needed access to any of her emails older than 60 days. This comes shortly after the State Department formally asked Clinton for all of her work-related emails, on October 28, 2014. This decision has to take place before an email discussing it on December 11, 2014, written Paul Combetta, the Platte River Networks (PRN) employee managing Clinton’s private server.
Paul Combetta (Credit: Facebook)
Even so, Mills will claim she instructed Combetta to modify the email retention policy on Clinton’s clintonemail.com email account to reflect this change. (PRN is managing Clinton’s private server at the time.) This means that the 31,830 Clinton emails that Mills and Clinton’s other lawyers David Kendall and Heather Samuelson recently decided were not work-related will be deleted after 60 days.
However, Combetta will later say in an FBI interview that he forgot to make the changes to Clinton’s clintonemail.com account and didn’t make them until late March 2015.
Clinton will also later be interviewed by the FBI. She will claim that after her staff sent her work-related emails to the State Department on December 5, 2014, “she was asked what she wanted to do with her remaining personal emails. Clinton instructed her staff she no longer needed the emails. Clinton stated she never deleted, nor did she instruct anyone to delete, her emails to avoid complying with FOIA [Freedom of Information Act], State [Department], or FBI requests for information.”
However, Clinton saying her personal emails were no longer needed, then having Mills tell PRN to have them delete them after 60 days, will result in all of Clinton’s emails that her lawyers deemed personal getting permanently deleted. The FBI will later recover some of the emails through other means and discover that thousands actually were work-related. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
On December 10, 2014, “stonetear” asks for advice from Reddit users on how to implement a 60-day email “purge” policy. This will later be revealed to be an alias for Paul Combetta, a Platte River Networks (PRN) employee actively managing Clinton’s private server at the time.
He writes: “Hello. I have a client who wants to push out a 60 day email retention policy for certain users. However, they also want these users to have a ‘Save Folder’ in their Exchange folder list where the users can drop items that they want to hang onto longer than the 60 day window.
All email in any other folder in the mailbox should purge anything older than 60 days (should not apply to calendar or contact items of course). How would I go about this? Some combination of retention and managed folder policy?”
Combetta as ‘stonetear’ asking Reddit users for help. (Credit: Reddit)
Cheryl Mills (Credit: Andrew Harrer / Getty Images)
In 2016, Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills will be interviewed by the FBI. Mills will claim that in December 2014, Clinton decided she no longer needed access to any of her personal emails, and they could be deleted after 60 days. This comes shortly after the State Department formally asked Clinton for all of her work-related emails, on October 28, 2014.
According to a later FBI report based on a February 2016 interview with Combetta, Combetta communicates with Mills and/or Clinton lawyer Heather Samuelson by email on December 10 and 12, 2014, as well as by phone on December 9 and 10, 2014. In these communications, they tell Combetta they want the last 60 days of the emails of Clinton and Clinton aide Huma Abedin moved to new accounts. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
However, as can be seen from Combetta’s Reddit post, it appears Mills wanted Combetta to figure out how to keep some of the emails “longer than the 60 day window,” in contradiction to the later claim in Combetta’s interview, as well as Clinton’s later claim that all of her over 31,000 personal emails were unwanted and should be permanently deleted.
Paul Combetta is a Platte River Networks (PRN) employee who helps manage Clinton’s private server. In his February 18, 2016 FBI interview, his second, he will be asked about some communications from December 2014. An FBI summary of the interview published in September 2016 will state: “December 11, 2014 with the subject line ‘RE: 2 items for IT support,’ and a December 12, 2014 work ticket referencing email retention changes and archive/email cleanup, [Combetta] stated his reference in the email to ‘…the Hillary cover-up operation …’ was probably due to the recently requested change to a 60 day email retention policy and the comment was a joke. He did not recall the prior retention policy.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
Nothing more has been publicly released about this. However, it has been reported that Clinton decided in December 2014 to change the email retention policy on her private server to 60 days, effectively permanently wiping all her emails from her tenure as secretary of state. Combetta is the one given this job, but he will not do it until late March 2015, under mysterious and controversial circumstances.
Note that the FBI summary will merely report Combetta’s claim that “Hillary cover-up operation” comment was a joke and doesn’t give an opinion if that is true or not.
Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr (Credit: public domain)
“Judicial Watch announced today it received 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice which reveal that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.
The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities. Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.
The timeframe for the requested records is January 1, 2015, to December 7, 2017.
The emails between Bruce Ohr and Steele were heavily redacted, including some of the dates they were sent and received.
Just to let you know I shall be in DC at short notice on business from this PM till Saturday eve, staying at the Mayflower Hotel. If you are in town it would be good to meet up, perhaps for breakfast tomorrow morn? Happy to see Nellie too if she’s up for it. Please let me know. Best, Chris
Ohr: Dear Chris –
Nice to hear from you! Nellie and I would be up for breakfast tomorrow and can come into town. What would be a good time for you? Bruce
Steele: Thanks Bruce.
On me at the Mayflower Hotel, Conn Ave NW at 0900 should work but I’ll confirm the time for definite this eve if I may. Looking forward to seeing you. Chris
Ohr: Sounds good, but we won’t let you pay for breakfast! I’ll wait for your confirmation on time. Bruce
Steele: Let’s do 0900 then. See you in the lobby. Chris
Ohr: Very good. See you at 900.
On Saturday, July 30, 2016, Steele sends his thanks to Bruce Ohr for the meeting, “Great to see you and Nellie this morning:”
Ohr: Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce. Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s. Glenn [Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson] is happy to speak to you on this if it would help. Best, Chris
On Friday, September 16, 2016, Steele and Ohr begin planning a meeting in the Capital Hilton:
Steele: Dear Bruce,
I hope you are well. I am probably going to visit Washington again in the next couple of weeks on business of mutual interest. I would like to see you again in person and therefore to coordinate diaries. So when are you planning to be in town please? Thanks and Best, Chris
P.S. I don’t think I have up to date cell or landline phone numbers for you. Grateful if you could send met them.
Ohr: Hi Chris –
It would be great to see you I DC. I’ll be out of town Sept 19-21 but should be here the rest of the time. My numbers are office 202 307 2510 and cell [Redacted] Let me know what works best for you.
Steele: Dear Bruce,
I have now arrived in DC and am staying at the Capital Hilton, 1101 16th Street NW. I don’t know my client-related programme yet but am keen to meet up with you. Might we provisionally say breakfast on Friday morn or even tomorrow morn if necessary? Look forward to hearing back from you. Best, Chris
Ohr: Hi Chris
Would tomorrow for breakfast still work for you? My calendar is pretty good tomorrow morning, not so good on Friday. An early breakfast Friday, say 8 am?, would work too. Should I come to your hotel? Bruce
Steele: Thanks Bruce.
0800 on Friday would still be better for me, at the hotel. More useful to all I think, after my scheduled meetings tomorrow. Thanks, Chris
Ohr: Chris –
Perfect. I’ll see you Friday at your hotel at 8 am. Bruce
“A useful timeline in the OIG report sketches the McCabe-McAuliffe saga—a swamp tale of a particular sort. In 2014, McCabe, a rising star at the FBI, is assistant director of the bureau’s Washington, DC, field office. His wife is a pediatrician in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe is governor.
In February 2015, Dr. McCabe receives a phone call from Virginia’s lieutenant governor. Would she consider running for a state senate seat?
Less than two weeks later, in March 2015, McCabe and his wife drive to Richmond for what they thought was a meeting with a Virginia state senator to discuss Dr. McCabe’s possible run for office.
In Richmond, according to the OIG report, they are told there had been “a change of plans” and that “Governor McAuliffe wanted to speak to Dr. McCabe at the Governor’s mansion.”
It’s around this time that a veteran FBI agent’s radar might start blinking.
McCabe and his wife meet with McAuliffe for 30 to 45 minutes, according to the OIG report. Fundraising was discussed. “Governor McAuliffe said that he and the Democratic Party would support Dr. McCabe’s candidacy.” McAuliffe asked McCabe about his occupation and “McCabe told him he worked for the FBI but they did not discuss McCabe’s work or any FBI business.” McCabe later described it to an FBI official as a “surreal meeting.”
After the meeting, the couple rode to a local event with the governor, then returned to the mansion with the governor to retrieve their car.
McCabe informed FBI ethics officials and lawyers about the meeting and consulted with them about his wife’s plans. No one raised strong objections. McCabe recused himself from all public corruption cases in Virginia and Dr. McCabe jumped into the race.
Jill and Andrew McCabe in their campaign attire on March 7, 2015. (Credit: Sharyl Attkisson)
In July 2015, the FBI opened an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email practices.
Let’s pause to note here that while the official FBI investigation was opened in July 2015, Mrs. Clinton was known to be in hot water as far back as March 2015, when the State Department inspector general revealed her widespread use of a private, non-government email server.
Swamp cats will notice that March 2015 is also when Andrew and Jill McCabe got their surprise audience with McAuliffe, the longtime Clinton money man.
The McCabe fortunes rose in the autumn of 2015. Mr. McCabe was promoted to associate deputy director of the FBI. Dr. McCabe received $675,000 from two McAuliffe-connected entities for her state senate race. They were by far the biggest donations to her campaign.
In November 2015, Dr. McCabe lost her race.
In January 2016, the FBI opened an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
On February 1, Mr. McCabe was promoted again, to deputy director of the FBI.
Despite the McAuliffe connection, the OIG report notes, there was no FBI re-evaluation of McCabe’s recusals following his promotions. Although recused from Virginia public corruption investigations, he retained a senior role in Clinton-related matters.
In May 2016, news broke that McAuliffe was under FBI investigation for campaign finance violations. CNN reported that investigators were scrutinizing “McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative” and Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang, a U.S. permanent resident who made large donations to both the McAuliffe 2013 gubernatorial campaign and to the Clinton Foundation.
On October 23, the Wall Street Journal revealed the McAuliffe-linked donations to Dr. McCabe’s campaign. At FBI headquarters, McCabe resists pressure from senior executives to recuse himself from all Clinton-related matters.
Lanny Davis and Hillary Clinton (Credit: public domain)
Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta emails Cheryl Mills, who is one of Clinton’s lawyers at the time, as well as being her former chief of staff. He writes, “On another matter….and not to sound like Lanny, but we are going to have to dump all those emails so better to do so sooner than later.”
This is in reference to the New York Times front-page story from earlier in the day, publicly revealing that Clinton exclusively used a private email account while secretary of state.
“Lanny” is a likely reference to Lanny Davis, who was a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, and is a longtime media surrogate for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Less than a week later, Davis will publicly advocate that Clinton should be transparent with her emails.
By saying “dump,” Podesta could mean dump them to the public, or he could mean get rid of them. Unfortunately, there are no more comments from him or Mills to help clarify his meaning.
These emails will be released by WikiLeaks in November 2016.
On the morning of March 2, 2015, a front-page New York Times article reveals Clinton’s use of her own private email server. Platte River Networks (PRN) is managing the server.
Bill Thornton (Credit: public domain)
Later in the day, PRN employee Bill Thornton writes in an internal company email, “I spent some time in their firewall just now locking everything down (pretty tight).” (The New York Post, 9/18/2016)
However, on March 4, 2015, an analysis of the server’s publicly visible settings will show it has a misconfigured encryption system. Further articles the next day will expose more security vulnerabilities.
PRN will make more changes to improve the server’s security around March 7, 2015.
On March 2, 2015, a New York Times article publicly reveals Clinton’s use of a personal email account and private server to conduct government business. The FBI’s Clinton email investigation will later identify an increased number of login attempts to her server and its associated domain controller just after this article comes out.
According to the FBI in September 2016, “Forensic analysis revealed none of the login attempts were successful. [The] FBI investigation also identified an increase in unauthorized login attempts into the Apple iCloud account likely associated with Clinton’s email address during this time period.” (Clinton’s email address, which had been publicly revealed in March 2013, was still used as the user name for the account.) “Investigation determined all potentially suspicious Apple iCloud login attempts were unsuccessful.”
Despite all this, Clinton does not simply turn the server off. Instead, Platte River Networks (PRN) employees, who are managing the server, make some security improvements around March 7, 2015.
PRN staff also discuss the possibility of conducting penetration testing against the server to highlight vulnerabilities, so they can be fixed. However, the penetration testing ultimately doesn’t happen. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
On March 2, 2015, the New York Times publishes a front-page story about Clinton’s emails practices and her use of a private email server.
The Equinix data center in Secaucus, NY. (Credit: public domain)
In the days following the publication of the article, Cheryl Mills, who is one of Clinton’s lawyers as well as her former chief of staff, requests that Platte River Networks (PRN), the computer company managing Clinton’s server, conduct a complete inventory of all equipment related to the server.
In response to this request, an unnamed PRN employee travels to the Equinix data center in Secaucus, New Jersey, where the server is located, to conduct an onsite review of the equipment. At the same time, another unnamed PRN employee logs in to the server remotely to check on it.
This will result in some changes to the security settings of the server around March 7, 2015. Additionally, many emails (other than Clinton’s) are deleted from the server on March 8, 2015. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
David DeCamillis, the vice president of sales for Platte River Networks (PRN), emails other PRN employees about the news reported in the New York Timesthe day before revealing Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email address hosted on her private server. He writes, “I’m sure the Republicans are giving each other high fives; especially Jeb Bush.”
PRN is the company that has been managing the server since June 2013. There will later be suggestions that PRN was chosen by Clinton or her employees to manage the server at least in part due to the company’s political preference for Democrats, and this email seems to fit with such a preference.
DeCamillis also wonders what emails the company might be asked to turn over. PRN employee Paul Combetta will send a reply detailing what work he’s done on Clinton’s server. (The New York Post, 9/18/2016)
At the time, Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida, is seen as the Republican frontrunner for the November 2016 presidential election, though he will ultimately fail to win the Republican nomination.
The committee already had requested that the State Department turn over all of Clinton’s emails relating to Benghazi or Libya. But on March 2, 2015, the New York Times reported a front-page story that revealed Clinton’s lawyers had deleted over 31,000 of Clinton’s emails without input from anyone else, deeming them “personal” in nature.
The committee gives a letter to Williams & Connolly, the law firm of Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, requesting the preservation and production of all documents and media related to firstname.lastname@example.org, the email Clinton used while she was secretary of state. In addition, they ask the same for her email@example.com account. This account was only used by Clinton starting one month after she left the State Department, but at the time that isn’t clear. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
One day later, the committee will issue two subpoenas to Clinton, but they have a more limited scope.
In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, the FBI will summarize her as saying, “Concerning the Congressional preservation request on March 3, 2015 for email and other records, Clinton trusted her legal team would comply with the request.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Andrew McCabe (Credit: Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)
“Multiple former FBI officials, along with a Congressional official, say that while there may have been internal squabbling over the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation at the time, there was allegedly another “stand-down” order by McCabe regarding the opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for official government business.
McCabe’s stand-down order regarding Clinton’s private email use happened after The New York Times first reported Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules in March 2015 and before the official investigation was requested by the Justice Department toward the end of July 2015.
After The New York Times publication, the FBI Washington Field Office began investigating Clinton’s use of private emails and whether she was using her personal email account to transmit classified information. According to sources, McCabe was overseas when he became aware of the investigation and sent electronic communications voicing his displeasure with the agents.
“McCabe tried to steer people off the private email investigation and that appears to be obstruction and should be investigated,” said one former FBI official with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the investigation. “Now if the information on the ‘stand-down’ order is obtained by the IG that could bring a whole lot of other troubles to McCabe.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 4/2018)
On March 3, 2015, David DeCamillis, the vice president of sales for Platte River Networks (PRN), wonders what emails the company might be asked to turn over in an email to other PRN employees. This is because of a New York Times article on March 2, 2015 revealing Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email address hosted on her private server, and PRN has been managing that server since June 2013.
Paul Combetta (Credit: CSpan)
PRN employee Paul Combetta replies to the email, although the date of the reply hasn’t been specified. “I’ve done quite a bit already in the last few months related to this. Her [Clinton’s] team had me do a bunch of exports and email filters and cleanup to provide a .pst [personal storage file] of all of HRC’s [Hillary Rodham Clinton’s] emails to/from any .gov addresses. … I billed probably close to 10 hours in on-call tickets with CSEC related to it :).”
CSEC is a likely reference to Clinton Executive Services Corp. (CESC), a Clinton family company paying for PRN’s services. Combetta will delete and then wipe all of Clinton’s emails later in March 2015. His mention of sending Clinton’s emails likely refers to when PRN sent those emails to two of Clinton’s lawyers in late July 2014. (The New York Post, 9/18/2016)
It is not clear if this is all of Combetta’s reply. But if it is, it is notable that he doesn’t mention that he deleted and then wiped all of Clinton’s emails off the laptops of two lawyers working for Clinton by this time, and allegedly was told to change the settings on Clinton’s server so her emails would be deleted over time as well.
Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta writes an email to Cheryl Mills, one of Clinton’s lawyers. The email is written two days after Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email address was publicly revealed, and one day after a House committee requests the preservation of all of Clinton’s emails from when she was secretary of state.
Podesta writes, “Think we should hold emails to and from potus? That’s the heart of his exec [executive] privilege. We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I seems like they will.” “Potus” stands for “president of the United States,” which in this case is Barack Obama.
The email will be released by WikiLeaks in October 2016. Mills’ reply, if any, is unknown. (WikiLeaks, 10/7/2016)
It will later be reported that there were only about 18 emails between Clinton and Obama during her secretary of state tenure.
The Clintons stand behind Terry McAuliffe during his inauguration as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 72nd governor. (Credit: Patrick Semansky / The Associated Press)
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is widely considered the best friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and was co-chair of one of Bill’s presidential campaigns and the chair of Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign. In March 2016, McAuliffe says, “We’re best friends, I’ve been family friends with the Clinton’s for thirty years. It’s a great relationship, we vacationed together for years, we’re just very personal friends…” (The Valley’s Music Place, 3/31/2016)
On March 7, 2015, McAuliffe and other state Democratic Party leaders meet with Dr. Jill McCabe and persuade her to run for a state senator seat in Virginia. Dr. McCabe is a hospital physician who has never run for political office before. This has potentially larger political implications, because her husband is Andrew McCabe, an FBI official who runs the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office at the time.
Dr. Jill McCabe (Credit: Twitter)
FBI officials will later claim that after the March 7, 2015 meeting, Andrew McCabe seeks ethics advice from the FBI and follows it, avoiding involvement with public corruption cases in Virginia, and also avoiding any of his wife’s campaign activities or events.
Five days before Jill McCabe is asked to run, on March 2, 2015, the New York Times publicly reveals Clinton’s use of a private email address, and her use of a private email server is revealed two days later, starting a major and prolonged political controversy. Jill McCabe announces her candidacy on March 12, 2015.
On July 10, 2015, the FBI’s Clinton email investigation formally begins, although it may have informally begun earlier.
Andrew McCabe and Jill McCabe pose at a campaign event in 2015. (Credit: Sharyl Attkisson)
Andrew McCabe’s Washington, DC, field office provides personnel and resources to the investigation. At the end of July 2015, he is promoted to assistant deputy FBI director, the number three position in the FBI.
During the 2015 election season, McAuliffe’s political action committee (PAC) donates $467,500 to Jill McCabe’s campaign. Furthermore, the Virginia Democratic Party, ”over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control,” according to the Wall Street Journal, donates an additional $207,788 to her campaign. “That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him.”
This represents more than a third of all the campaign funds McCabe raises in the election. She is the third-largest recipient of funds from McAuliffe’s PAC that year.
Virginia State Senator Dick Black (Credit: Twitter)
On November 3, 2015, Jill McCabe loses the election to incumbent Republican Dick Black. Once the campaign is over, “[Andrew] McCabe and FBI officials felt the potential conflict-of-interest issues ended,” according to the Journal.
In February 2016, Andrew McCabe is promoted to deputy FBI director, the second highest position in the FBI. In this role, he is part of the executive leadership team overseeing the Clinton email investigation, though FBI officials say any final decisions are made by FBI Director James Comey.
However, that is not the only potential conflict of interest. By February 2016, four FBI field offices are conducting investigations of the Clinton Foundation. McAuliffe was a Clinton Foundation board member until he resigned when he became the governor of Virginia in 2013. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/24/2016)
Also, at some point in 2015, if not earlier, the FBI begins conducting an investigation of McAuliffe. When the existence of this investigation is publicly leaked in May 2016, media reports suggest it may involve McAuliffe’s financial relationship with a Chinese businessperson who has donated millions to the foundation. It is also reported that investigators have looked at McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a yearly conference run by the Clinton Foundation. (CNN, 5/24/2016)
Andrew McCabe (Credit: Getty Images)
In the spring of 2016, Andrew McCabe agrees to recuse himself from the McAuliffe investigation, due to McAuliffe’s donations to Jill McCabe’s election campaign. However, he doesn’t recuse himself from the Clinton Foundation investigation or the Clinton email investigation, despite McAuliffe’s close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/24/2016)
In mid-July 2016, the FBI seeks to reorganize the Clinton Foundation investigation. McCabe decides the FBI’s New York office should take the lead, while the Washington office that he formerly headed should take the lead with the McAuliffe investigation. The Journal will later report, “Within the FBI, the decision was viewed with skepticism by some, who felt the probe would be stronger if the foundation and McAuliffe matters were combined.” However, the decision is implemented.
McCabe also is involved in an effort to shut down the foundation investigation in August 2016, but his role is unclear.
In October 2016, McCabe’s potential conflicts of interest will be revealed by two Wall Street Journal articles. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016) In early November 2016, the Journal will report that “some [in the FBI] have blamed [McCabe], claiming he sought to stop agents from pursuing the [Clinton Foundation] case this summer. His defenders deny that, and say it was the Justice Department that kept pushing back on the investigation.” (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)
Around that time, James Kallstrom, the former head of the FBI’s New York office, will say of McCabe, “The guy has no common sense. He should be demoted and taken out of the chain of command.” (The American Spectator, 11/1/2016)
In the days following a New York Times article revealing Clinton’s use of her private server, Cheryl Mills, who is one of Clinton’s lawyers as well as her former chief of staff, requests that Platte River Networks (PRN), the computer company managing Clinton’s server, conduct a complete inventory of all equipment related to the server. Two unnamed PRN employees do so.
This results in some changes to the server’s security settings around March 7, 2015. According to a September 2016 FBI report, these changes “include disabling the server’s public-facing VPN page and switching from SSL protocol to TLS to increase security.”
The FBI will explain: “TLS is a protocol that ensures privacy between communicating applications, such as web browsing, email, and instant-messaging, with their users on the Internet. TLS ensures that no third-party eavesdrops on the two-way conummication. TLS is the successor to SSL and is considered more secure.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In a September 2016 report, the FBI will reveal that the “FBI forensically identified deletions from [Clinton’s] server on March 8, 2015 of .pst files not associated with Clinton’ s email account or domain, and other server data.”
A .pst or “Personal Storage Table” file is a file format used to store copies of emails and other items within Microsoft software.
This incident will only be mentioned in a footnote in an FBI report, with no mention of who made the deletions or why. It also is not clear how thorough the deletions are. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin had a frequently used email account hosted on the server, but it is unknown if these deletions include her emails.
Platte River Network’s new, 12,000 sq. foot office, which they moved into in mid-2015. (Credit: Stuart Sipkin / Demotis / Corbis))
It seems probable an employee of Platte River Networks (PRN), the computer company managing Clinton’s server, made the deletions. Shortly after a news report made Clinton’s use of the server public knowledge on March 2, 2015, Cheryl Mills, who is one of Clinton’s lawyers as well as her former chief of staff, requested that PRN conduct a complete inventory of all equipment related to the server, and one unnamed PRN employee physically checked the server while another one remotely logged on to check it.
Cheryl Mills, who is one of Clinton’s lawyers at the time, as well as being her former chief of staff, sends an email to some employees at Platte River Networks (PRN), the company that is managing Clinton’s private server. On March 3, 2015, the House Benghazi Committee sent a letter to Clinton’s lawyers, asking that they preserve all of Clinton’s emails. This is because of a New York Times report the day before that indicated Clinton probably had many emails from when she was secretary of state that the State Department did not. Mills’ email to PRN references this preservation request.
In March 2015, PRN is preparing to move from a small downtown loft in Denver, to a more spacious 12,000 sq. foot office space. (Credit: Platte River Networks / Facebook)
PRN employee Paul Combetta is one of the recipients of this email from Mills. In a February 18, 2016 FBI interview, he will claim that he didn’t recall seeing the preservation request mentioned in the email. But he will be interviewed by the FBI again, on May 3, 2016. At that time, he will indicate that he deleted and then wiped all of Clinton’s emails from her server in late March 2015, despite the fact that, according to an FBI report, “he was aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data on [Clinton’s] server.”
It is not clear why he will do this. He will also state during his second interview, “he did not receive guidance from other PRN personnel, PRN’s legal counsel, or others regarding the meaning of the preservation request.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In September 2016, a New York Post article will reveal details of a number of emails between Platte River Networks (PRN) employees, the company managing Clinton’s private server since June 2013.
In it, the Post will mention that PRN employees “frantically sought to ‘cover our asses’ when news broke that [Clinton’s] communications were deleted.” Unfortunately, the article won’t mention which PRN employee wrote the “cover our asses” quote or when that email was sent. (The New York Post, 9/18/2016)
However, the revelation that over 30,000 of Clinton’s emails were deleted occcurs in public comments by Clinton on March 10, 2015, so it seems probable the email is from shortly after that date, although this is not certain. The timing could be important, because the emails won’t actually be deleted from Clinton’s private server by PRN employee Paul Combetta until around March 31, 2015, three weeks after Clinton’s public claim that they were deleted.
In Clinton’s United Nations press conference, she states, “The laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of state allowed me to use my email for work. That is undisputed.” (CBS News, 3/10/2015)
Jennifer L. Costello, assistant inspector general (left), inspectors general from the State Department, Steve Linick (center), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Charles McCullough (right), are swearing in to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 7, 2016. (Credit: CSpan)
However, a May 2016 State Department inspector general’s report will conclude that while it was permissible for a department employee to have a private email account and use it occasionally, it was not allowed to use one exclusively for work matters. Plus, she was required to get approval from other department officials to use a mobile device, to use a private server, and more, and she never did. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)
In July 2016, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, author of the May 2016 report, will be specifically asked under oath in a Congressional hearing about Clinton’s above comment. He will reply, “I can tell you our report said that she didn’t have approval from senior officials at the department. And we don’t believe it was permitted, both under the rules, and none of the senior officials who were there at the time gave her approval or were even aware that she had a server, according to them. So, let me see if I can digest that long answer into a very short, concise statement. It is not an accurate statement.” (C-SPAN, 7//7/2016)
Clinton campaign spokesperson Nick Merrill writes in an email to Clinton aides Jennifer Palmieri and Robby Mook: “[The] State [Department] just called to tell me that [New York Times reporter Michael] Schmidt seems to have what appear to be summaries of some of the exchanges in the 300 emails the [House Benghazi] committee has. He shared 2 anecdotes with State, one was an exchange that [Clinton] had with Jake [Sullivan] about some of the media stories following the attacks, the other an exchange that [Clinton] had with [Clinton aide Cheryl Mills] and [Clinton aide] Huma [Abedin] on non-state.gov accounts, but that was later forwarded to a state.gov account. Again, it appears that he does not have the email but that someone, likely from the committee, is slipping him cherry-picked characterizations of the exchanges. I haven’t heard directly from Schmidt yet but will circle back when I do.”
Top Clinton aides Jennifer Palmieri (left), Huma Abedin (center), and Robby Mook attend a campaign rally with Clinton in 2016. (Credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters)
Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri replies, “This is no bueno [no good]. This is some kind of bullshit. Adding [Clinton campaign chair] John [Podesta] to this chain. If [Representative Trey] Gowdy is doing selective leaks, we are in very different kind of warfare.” (WikiLeaks, 10/29/2016)
Schmidt broke a March 2, 2015 story that Clinton used a private email account as secretary of state. The State Department gave about 300 emails to the House Benghazi Committee, chaired by Gowdy (R).
Presumably, Palmieri is upset that someone is leaking emails to a reporter, not that the State Department is sharing this information about the leak with the Clinton campaign. The department will later claim it never worked to help Clinton with her email controversy, despite emails such as this one.
The email will be made public by WikiLeaks in October 2016.
Clinton tweets a photo of her meeting with President Obama in the White House Situation Room, with Josh Earnest in the background, and unknown (right), on March 23, 2015. (Credit: Hillary Clinton / Twitter)
Clinton meets with President Obama at the White House. This is noteworthy since it appears to be the first time they met since Clinton’s email controversy started on March 2, 2015, and Clinton is only a private citizen at the time. There is no public notice of the meeting beforehand. Afterwards, White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirms that it happened, but provides few details: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton enjoy catching up in person when their schedules permit. This afternoon they met privately for about an hour at the White House and discussed a range of topics.” (Politico, 3/23/2015)
In November 2016, an email released by WikiLeaks will reveal some more about the meeting. One day before the meeting, Clinton aide Huma Abedin emailed Clinton, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, and Clinton foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan. Those three are scheduled to meet with Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes. (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)
President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in the Oval Office. (Credit: Pete Souza / White House)
According to another email released by WikiLeaks, Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough sent Podesta an email on March 17, 2015, asking to meet Podesta in person. Podesta offered to drop by the White House or meet him ‘offsite’ if necessary. The next morning, they ended up meeting at a Starbucks a short walk from the White House. (WikiLeaks, 10/25/2016)
It isn’t known what Clinton and Obama discuss, but it seems probable that Clinton’s email controversy would come up. Three days earlier, onMarch 20, 2015, the House Benghazi Committee formally requested that Clinton turn over her private email server. Sometime between March 25 and 31, 2015, an employee of the company managing Clinton’s private server will delete and wipe all of Clinton’s emails from her private server. Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign will begin one month later.
Platte River Networks (PRN), the computer company managing Clinton’s server, holds a conference call with some members of former President Bill Clinton’s staff. This is according to a later FBI report, but the FBI has not revealed who exactly takes part in the conference call or what is discussed.
The four “President Clinton” aides who had access to the private server were from left to right, Justin Cooper, Doug Band, Jon Davidson, and Oscar Flores. (Credit for all photos: public domain)
PRN employee Paul Combetta will later say that in the days just after this call, between March 25 and 31, 2015, he suddenly remembers that he did not make changes to the email retention policy to Clinton’s email account, as one of Clinton’s lawyers (and her former chief of staff) Cheryl Mills requested him to do back in December 2014. He will then proceed to do so, resulting in the permanent deletion of all of Clinton’s emails that had been deemed personal.
Platte River Networks (PRN) is managing Clinton’s private server, and two PRN employees are occasionally working on it. Around December 2014, PRN employee Paul Combetta was told by one of Clinton’s lawyers (and her former chief of staff) Cheryl Mills to delete all copies of Clinton’s emails off Mills’ computer and the computer of another lawyer working for Clinton, Heather Samuelson. He did so. But he says he was also told by Mills to change the email retention policy on Clinton’s clintonemail.com email account so that Clinton’s unwanted “personal” emails would be deleted after 60 days, and he forgot to do that.
Combetta will be interviewed by the FBI on February 18, 2016. At that time, he will say that after a conference call between PRN and the staff of former President Bill Clinton on March 25, 2015, roughly between March 25 and 31, 2015, he will realize he forgot to make the change, but then will tell the FBI that he didn’t do anything about it.
However, Combetta will be interviewed by the FBI again on May 3, 2016, and his answers will change. This time, he will say he had what told the FBI was “an ‘oh shit’ moment.” Then, sometime between March 25 and 31, 2015, he deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from Clinton’s server. Furthermore, he used BleachBit to delete the exported .pst files he had created on the server system containing Clinton’s emails.
There are six employees leading PRN in 2015. From left to right they are Brent Allshouse, David DeCamillis, Treve Suavo, Sam Hickler, Craig Papke, and Dave Robinson (not pictured). (Credit: Linked In and Platte River Networks)
An FBI report will explain, “BleachBit is open source software that allows users to ‘shred’ files,” as well as other functions. “BleachBit’s ‘shred files’ function claims to securely erase files by overwriting data to make the data unrecoverable.”
Additionally, the FBI investigation will later find “evidence of these deletions and determined the Datto backups of the [Clinton’s] server were also manually deleted during this timeframe.” However, the FBI will not mention if they figured out who deleted the Datto back-ups, whether it is Combetta or someone else.
BleachBit System Cleaner 1.8 (Credit: BleachBit)
Note that Combetta was only asked by Mills to change the deletion policy on Clinton’s account, which would have deleted only her “personal” emails 60 days later. He actually immediately deleted all of her emails, including her work-related ones, and then used a program to make their later recovery impossible. It is not clear if anyone told him to do this, and if so who, or if he did it on his own.
Furthermore, Combetta took these actions even though Mills sent him (and others at PRN) an email on March 9, 2015, which mentioned how the House Benghazi Committee had requested to Clinton’s lawyers that all of Clinton’s emails should be preserved. In his first FBI interview, he will deny being aware of this. But in his second FBI interview, according to the FBI, at the time he made the deletions, “he was aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data on [Clinton’s] server.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
In March 2013, Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal’s email account was broken into by the Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer, and some emails between Blumenthal and Clinton were publicly revealed. Cody Shearer was a business partner with Blumenthal in a company called Osprey Global Solutions that is sometimes mentioned in the hacked emails.
When contacted by Gawker for a comment about such emails, Shearer says that “the FBI is involved and told me not to talk. There is a massive investigation of the hack and all the resulting information.”
Nothing else is known about this investigation, presuming it exists. Shearer is also described by Gawker as “a longtime Clinton family operative.” (Gawker, 3/27/2015)
On November 19, 2015, an unnamed Datto executive will be interviewed by the FBI. Datto had provided back-up service and equipment to Platte Rivers Networks (PRN) when PRN was managing Clinton’s private server from June 2013 onwards. It will later be reported that in early August 2015, PRN employees discovered that in addition to a Datto back-up device attached to Clinton’s server, Datto had been also backing up Clinton’s server to the Internet “cloud.” Some internal PRN emails from early August 2015 show some employees acting surprised after being told about this.
A graphic of Datto’s cloud structure. (Credit: Datto, Inc.)
However, according to a later FBI summary of the Datto executive’s interview, he said that PRN must have known about the cloud back-up all along. “As evidence, [he] stated the partner portal, that PRN had log-in credentials to, had a feature displaying backed-up data an options to ‘delete cloud’ or ‘delete local.’ [He] stated PN would have seen their back-ups under ‘delete cloud.'”
More crucially, during the interview, the FBI will show him a Datto document “indicating email records were manually deleted from the Datto secure cloud back-ups of the [Clinton] server in March 2015.” He then will tell the FBI that it couldn’t have been a Datto employee who made the deletions, because there would have been a work ticket created showing that. Furthermore, IP addresses associated with the deletions indicate that someone from PRN must have done it, although PRN had a shared account so it can’t be proven who exactly made the deletions. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 10/17/2016)
A Datto letter sent to the FBI in October 2015 will indicate that Datto technical experts reviewed administrative files and discovered through the device’s Internet interface that a series of deletions took place on the device on March 31, 2015, between 11:27 a.m. and 12:41 a.m. Furthermore, a much greater amount of data had been “deleted automatically based on the local device’s then-configured pruning parameters.” (US Congress, 9/12/2016) It is unclear if this refers to data deleted from the local Datto device or the Internet cloud back-up.
Although it is unknown who made these deletions, in a May2016 FBI interview, PRN employee Paul Combetta will confess to deleting all of Clinton’s emails on her server as well as the Datto back-up device in precisely this time period, between March 25, 2015 and March 31, 2015.
Platte River Networks (PRN) is a computer company managing Clinton’s private server. PRN employee Paul Combetta will later admit to the FBI that he deleted all of Clinton’s emails from her server and then used the computer program BleachBit to permanently eliminate the emails. This is despite the fact that he claims he had only been told by one of Clinton’s lawyers (and her former chief of staff) Cheryl Mills back in December 2014 to change the email retention policy on Clinton’s account.
On March 25, 2015, there was a conference call between PRN employees and members of former President Bill Clinton’s personal staff. On March 31, 2015, there is another conference call. Combetta will later say he made the deletions at some point between the two calls.
Details about the second call are murky because the FBI only discovered it took place due to discovering a PRN work ticket about it. The ticket mentions PRN employees talking to Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall as well as her lawyer Mills. But when Combetta was asked about it, according to the FBI, “PRN’s attorney advised [him] not to comment on the conversation with Kendall, based upon the assertion of the attorney-client privilege.”
In 2016, Mills will be interviewed by the FBI. She will state that she was unaware that Combetta made such deletions and modifications in March 2015. This presumably would mean they were not discussed in the second conference call, or any time after that. Clinton will also be interviewed in 2016, and she will also claim she was unaware of the March 2015 email deletions. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
An unnamed State Department official who worked in the Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS) will be interviewed by the FBI on August 17, 2015. She will claim there was a deliberate effort to change some Clinton emails bearing the “B(1)” code, which classifies information due to “national security,” to the “B(5)” code, which classifies information mostly due to “interagency or intra-agency communications.”
This person “believed there was interference with the formal [Freedom of Information Act] FOIA review process. Specifically, [the State Department’s] Near East Affairs Bureau upgraded several of Clinton’s emails to a classified level with a B(1) release exemption. [Redacted] along with [redacted] attorney, Office of Legal Counsel called State’s Near East Affairs Bureau and told them they could use a B(5) exemption on an upgraded email to protect it instead of the B(1) exemption.”
Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy (Credit: Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images)
The interviewee reported in early May 2015 that Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy “held a closed-door meeting with [redacted] and [redacted] [Justice Department’s] Office of Information Programs where Kennedy pointedly asked [redacted] to change the FBI’s classification determination regarding one of Clinton’s emails, which the FBI considered classified. The email was related to FBI counter-terrorism operations.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
In October 2016, Fox News will report, “This appears to be one of two emails that kick-started the FBI [Clinton email investigation] in the summer of 2015.” (Fox News, 10/6/2016) The email in question was sent on November 18, 2012 by department official Bill Roebuck and forwarded to Clinton by her aide Jake Sullivan. If Kennedy tried to change the classified code on this email he must have failed, because when the email is published on May 22, 2015, it is classified at the “secret” level (the medium level below “top secret”) due to a section using the B(1) code. (US Department of State, 5/22/2015)
However, classification codes may be changed on other emails. On August 26, 2015, Fox News will report that “Kennedy, who was deeply involved in the Benghazi controversy, is running interference on the classified email controversy on Capitol Hill. Two sources confirmed that Kennedy went to Capitol Hill in early July  and argued [the November 18, 2012] email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan [plus one other email] did not contain classified material. … One participant found it odd Kennedy insisted on having the discussion in a secure facility for classified information, known as a SCIF,” although Kennedy claimed the two emails were unclassified. (Fox News, 8/26/2015)
Then, on September 1, 2015, Fox News will report that “At least four classified Hillary Clinton emails had their markings changed to a category that shields the content from Congress and the public… in what State Department whistleblowers believed to be an effort to hide the true extent of classified information on the former secretary of state’s server. The changes, which came to light after the first tranche of 296 Benghazi emails was released in May , was confirmed by two sources — one congressional, the other intelligence. The four emails originally were marked classified after a review by career officials at the State Department. But after a second review by the department’s legal office, the designation was switched to ‘B5’…”
Kate Duval (Credit: LinkedIn)
One of the lawyers in the office where the changes are made is Kate Duval, who once worked for Williams & Connolly, the same law firm as Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall. Duval also served as an attorney and advisor in the Obama Administration on oversight issues and high-profile investigations, most recently at the Department of State and, before that, as Counselor to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. There are internal department complaints that Duval, and a second lawyer also linked to Kendall, “gave at the very least the appearance of a conflict of interest during the email review. A State Department spokesman did not dispute the basic facts of the incident, confirming to Fox News the disagreement over the four classified emails as well as the internal complaints. But the spokesman said the concerns were unfounded.” (Fox News, 9/1/2015)
Kennedy will also be interviewed by the FBI on December 21, 2015. Redactions will make the interview summary difficult to follow, but apparently he will be asked about these accusations. He will say that while the official who accused him “says it like it is” and has “no fear of telling truth to power,” he “categorically rejected” the allegations of classified code tampering. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
“Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said that he believes some foreign intelligence agencies possess the contents of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“I think that foreign intelligence services, the good ones, have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses,” Morell said Friday in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
“I don’t think that was a very good judgment,” he added of Clinton’s decision to use the private server for official State Department business. “I don’t know who gave her that advice, but it was not good advice.”
“When considering who were the FBI contractors, with special program access to the NSA database, conducting unauthorized searches and extracting results… there’s a specific type of contractor described by FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer. One who was able to work around the security protocols: [Page 21] “systems …. that do not interface with NSA’s query audit system“.
In 2018 congressman Jim Jordan made mention of an issue where James Comey had a special employee on assignment ‘off-the-books’. People started asking questions and Fox NewsCatherine Herridge detailed how Daniel Richman held special access privileges to the FBI, as an outcome of former FBI Director James Comey authorizing his friend as a “Special Government Employee” or SGE.
(VIA FOX) […] The professor, Daniel Richman, confirmed the special status in response to an inquiry from Fox News, while referring other questions, including on the scope of his work, to the FBI.
“I did indeed have SGE status with the Bureau (for no pay),” Richman wrote in an email.
Richman emerged last year as the former FBI director’s contact for leaking memos documenting his private discussions with President Trump – memos that are now the subject of an inspector general review over the presence of classified material. Sources familiar with Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman’s status was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding. (read more)
Wait, let’s look at something here.
From the article the benefits included: “Sources familiar with Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman’s status was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding.”
A few paragraphs later, this: “Richman’s portfolio included the use ofencrypted communications by terror suspects.”
Oh my. Well, well, well… You see what’s being described here. There’s only one way to gain access to “encrypted communications” and that means having access to the FBI and NSA database.
Accepting he obviously had such access…. what would be the probability that Daniel Richman was one of these?
Former National Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough (Credit: Getty Images)
“Two secret letters the FBI sent to the State Department have revealed for the first time that the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and the classified emails sent through it, stemmed from a so-called “Section 811” referral from the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General (ICIG). The ICIG determined that classified, national security information in Clinton’s emails may have been “compromised” and shared with “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.”
Section 811 of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 “is the statutory authority that governs the coordination of counterespionage investigations between Executive Branch departments or agencies and the FBI.” A Section 811 referral is a report to the FBI about any unauthorized information that may have been disclosed to a foreign power.
A Section 811 referral “arises whenever there is a compromise of classified information — for whatever reason,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “It could include espionage, but it could also include negligence, inadvertence, or something else…. Section 811 does not assert a violation of criminal law.”
The two letters, dated October 23, 2015 and January 20, 2016, and marked “For Official Use Only,” were written by Peter Strzok and Charles H. Kable IV, the section chiefs of the FBI’s counterespionage section, and sent to Gregory B. Starr, the assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They were written while the FBI was investigating Clinton’s use of an unsecure, private email server and the dissemination of classified information.
A snippet from Peter Strzok’s letter proving he was aware Clinton’s emails may have been compromised by a foreign power.
“The potential compromise was identified when, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request [by VICE News], the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the ICIG reviewed electronic mail (email) communications from the private email accounts previously used by a former Secretary of State during her tenure at DoS,” Kable wrote. “An initial review of this material identified emails containing national security information later determined by the US Intelligence Community to be classified up to the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information Level.”
The letters were turned over to VICE News in response to a FOIA lawsuit we filed against the FBI last year seeking, among other records, correspondence between the FBI and the State Department about Clinton’s private server and the FBI’s probe into it. The FBI had previously said that if it were to disclose the contents of these letters — even the identities of the senders and receivers — it would jeopardize its investigation.” (Read more: VICE News, 8/09/2016)(FBI Vault)
“Congressional investigators have gathered enough evidence to suggest that the FBI, under the Obama administration, ignored a major lead in the Clinton-email probe, according to transcripts of closed-door testimonies of several current and former bureau officials.
The office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General informed the FBI in 2015 that a forensic review of Hillary Clinton’s emails unearthed anomalies in the metadata of the messages. The evidence in the metadata suggested that a copy of every email Hillary Clinton sent during her tenure as the secretary of state was forwarded to a foreign third party.
The existence of the lead was first revealed during the public testimony of Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz in June last year. Horowitz acknowledged the existence of the specific lead and said he spoke about it to Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Charles McCullough. Yet, despite the alarming nature of the referral, Horowitz’s 568-page report on the FBI’s handling the Clinton-email investigation made no mention of the lead or how the bureau handled it. The omission caught the attention of Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who pressed Horowitz for an explanation. Horowitz said he would get back to the committee with answers.
It’s unclear if Horowitz ever followed up on that promise. Meadows went on to question several current and former FBI officials about the lead, including Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bill Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, John Giacolone, and James Comey. In all of the interviews, transcripts of which were reviewed for this article, the officials claimed to remember nothing about the specific referral from the ICIG, suggesting that the lead was either suppressed or ignored by investigators.
During questioning, Meadows repeatedly suggested that Strzok, the former FBI official best known for being fired from the agency last year for his anti-Trump text messages, ignored the lead and never followed up with the ICIG regarding the referral. The bureau also didn’t interview anyone from the ICIG’s office, including Frank Rucker, the investigator who initially briefed the FBI team about the anomalies, according to the transcripts.
An official from the ICIG communications office didn’t respond to repeated requests for an interview with Rucker.
Meadows summed up what lawmakers have learned about the ICIG lead while questioning Comey on Dec. 17 last year. Comey served as the director of the FBI during the Clinton-email probe. He was one of the last witnesses interviewed by lawmakers shortly before the House judiciary and oversight committees wrapped up their review of actions taken and not taken by the FBI and the DOJ during the 2016 presidential election.
“Well, just to be clear, Mr. McCullough has indicated to Members of Congress that there was zero followup,” Meadows told Comey. “There are allegations they believe were largely ignored by the FBI.” (The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)
In September 2016, the FBI will reveal in a publicly released report, “On July 10, 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated a full investigation based upon a referral received from the US Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), submitted in accordance with Section 81 1(c) of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 and dated July 6, 2015, regarding the potential unauthorized transmission and storage of classified information on the personal email server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The FBI’s investigation focused on determining whether classified information was transmitted or stored on unclassified systems in violation of federal criminal statutes and whether classified information was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign governments or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
However, according to an account by CNN in August 2015, the FBI had already begun investigating Clinton’s emails in late May 2015, so presumably this merely formalized it. CNN, 8/20/2015)
(…) “Strzok was one of four officials briefed on the anomalies. He was transferred to FBI headquarters from the field office in Washington to work on the Clinton-email probe around two months after it was opened and, eventually, the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. According to Meadows, Strzok called the ICIG office 10 minutes after Comey exonerated Clinton in July 2016 and asked to close out the inspector general’s referral.
The ICIG referred the Clinton-email case to the FBI on July 6, 2015, pursuant to the Intelligence Authorization Act, which requires agencies to advise the FBI “immediately of any information, regardless of its origin, which indicates that classified information is being, or may have been, disclosed in an unauthorized manner to a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,” according to the Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the handling of the email case. The bureau officially opened the investigation on July 10, 2015.
Meadows confronted Strzok about the metadata anomalies in Clinton’s emails during a closed-door interview on June 27 last year.
“Sir, I am — I do not recall a meeting where the IC IG made any reference to changes in the metadata,” Strzok said. “What I can tell you, Congressman, is that our technical experts, any allegation of intrusion, any review of metadata that might be indicative of an act, was pursued by our technical folks, and I am very confident that they did that thoroughly and well. I am certainly unaware of anything that we did not pursue or had not pursued.”
McCullough told The Epoch Times that he did interact with the bureau after the initial meeting when he referred the Clinton-email case. He tasked Rucker to handle day-to-day interactions with the bureau. Rucker would go on to pass information to the FBI in several tranches.
Louie Gohmert (Credit: Getty Images)
It’s unclear whether the lead on metadata anomalies was passed along during the initial referral or as part of a separate meeting. According to a version of events put forth by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) during Strzok’s public testimony in June last year, Rucker passed on the referral during a meeting with four FBI officials. Jeanette McMillian, the legal counsel for the ICIG, also attended the meeting, according to Gohmert.
According to the transcripts, three of the four FBI officials briefed by the ICIG were Strzok, then-Executive Assistant Director John Giacalone, and then-Section Chief Dean Chappell. The identity of the fourth official remains unclear. Moffa, who was a lead analyst on the Clinton-email probe, told lawmakers during a closed-door interview on Aug. 24 last year that he met the ICIG together with Counterespionage Section Chief Charles Kable. Moffa said he and Kable met the ICIG two or three times during the early days of the investigation.
Lawmakers asked at least two of the four present at the meeting, Strzok and Giacalone, about their interactions with the ICIG. Both claim to not remember being told anything about anomalies in the metadata of Clinton’s emails and the possibility that a copy of every message was sent to a foreign actor. Giacalone told lawmakers he remembers a specific country of concern being discussed during either a face-to-face meeting or other communication.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
“On July 30, 2015, McCabe was suddenly promoted to the No. 3 position within the FBI as associate deputy director and was transferred to FBI headquarters. Strzok would soon be transferred to headquarters as well.
Approximately two months after the opening of the Clinton investigation, FBI leadership asked for the transfer of hand-selected agents from the Washington Field Office. Strzok was one of those chosen, and he was moved to FBI headquarters probably in September or October 2015.
According to Priestap, Coleman had “set up a reporting mechanism that leaders of that team would report directly to him, not through the customary other chain of command” in the Clinton email investigation. Priestap, who said he didn’t know why Coleman had “set it up,” kept the chain of command in place when he assumed Coleman’s position in January 2016.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
At some point in August 2015, employees at Datto, Inc., a company that specializes in backing up computer data, realize that a private server they have been backing up belongs to Clinton. The server is being managed by Platte River Networks (PRN), and Datto made the connection after media reports revealed PRN’s role.
According to an unnamed Datto official, due to worries about the “sensitive high profile nature of the data,” Datto then recommends that PRN should upgrade security by adding sophisticated encryption technology to its backup systems.
Andy Boian (Credit: Fox News)
PRN spokesperson Andy Boian later acknowledges receiving upgrade requests from Datto, but he says, “It’s not that we ignored them, but the FBI had told us not to change or adjust anything.”
Boian adds, however, the company did not take Datto’s concerns to the FBI.
The newest version of the server is still in use by the Clintons’ personal office at the time, despite being in news headlines since March 2015. (The Washington Post, 10/7/2015)
On August 12, 2015, the FBI takes an older version of the server from PRN’s control. The FBI doesn’t realize Clinton’s emails were moved from the old server to the new one. They eventually will figure this out and take the new server away as well, on October 3, 2015.
Justin Cooper testifies to the House Oversight Committee on September 13, 2016. (Credit: CSpan)
Justin Cooper is a former Bill Clinton aide who helped Bryan Pagliano manage Clinton’s private server while Clinton was secretary of state.
In September 2016 Congressional testimony, Cooper will reveal that he was interviewed by the FBI three times as part of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. The first time is in August 2015, the second time is in the fall of 2015, and the third time is in the spring of 2016. He will say he was never offered an immunity deal. (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
Cooper appears to have been the first key play in the Clinton email controversy to have been interviewed by the FBI.
Clinton’s server has been managed by Platte River Networks (PRN) since June 2013. And since that time, PRN has subcontracted Datto, Inc. to make periodic back-ups of all the data on the server. PRN has thought that the back-ups have been only made through a device attached to the server called the Datto SIRIS S2000.
Sam Hickler (Credit: public domain)
However, on August 1, 2015, an unnamed PRN employee notices that data from the server was possibly being sent to an off-site Datto location. On August 6, 2015, Sam Hickler, PRN’s vice president of operations, contacts Datto employee Leif McKinley about this, CCing PRN employees Paul Combetta and Treve Suazo.
McKinley confirms that, due to a misunderstanding, Datto has been making periodic back-ups of the server data through the Internet “cloud” as well as locally through the device. Furthermore, periodic back-ups have been made this way since June 2013.
Treve Suazo (Credit: Platte River Networks)
Suazo, the CEO of PRN, tells Datto on August 6, 2015, that “This is a problem.” This is because the Clinton Executive Services Corp. (CESC), the Clinton family company that hired PRN to manage the server, explicitly stated from the beginning that they didn’t want any remote back-ups to be made. Thus, PRN employees tell Datto not to delete whatever data was stored in the cloud, and instead work to get it back to the control of PRN.
On August 7, 2015, Datto and PRN employees discuss saving the data on a thumb drive and sending it to PRN. Then, according to an email from one unnamed PRN employee to another, they would have Datto “wipe [the data] from the cloud.”
This is according to a letter that will be sent in October 5, 2015 to Datto CEO Austin McChord by Senator Ron Johnson (R). Johnson is chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and is conducting oversight of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. However, Johnson will be unable to determine what happened next, such as if the thumb drive was sent and the data was wiped. Furthermore, McChord will not be able to reveal that information to Johnson because Datto needs PRN’s permission to share that information and PRN won’t give it. (US Congress, 9/12/2016) (US Congress, 9/12/2016)
Williams & Connolly, the law firm of Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, gives the FBI a thumb drive which has a .pst file containing 30,524 emails. On December 5, 2014, Clinton’s lawyers gave the State Department 30,490 emails, sorted to be all of Clinton’s work-related emails. It isn’t clear why there is a 34 email difference.
On July 31, 2016, the Justice Department asked Kendall to turn over his thumb drive.
Platte River Networks (PRN) is the computer company that has been managing Clinton’s private server since June 2013. On August 8, 2015, Senator Ron Johnson (R), chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, asks PRN for a staff-level briefing on the server. A July 2016 letter co-written by Johnson will indicate that there was an “initial production” by PRN later in August 2015 about various matters, “including maintaining Secretary Clinton’s private server.” (US Congress, 7/22/2016) (Politico, 11/13/2015)
However, it seems apparent that PRN says nothing about the later-revealed fact that PRN employee Paul Combetta deleted and wiped all of Clinton’s emails off her server in late March 2015, because Johnson will show no knowledge of that in the above-mentioned letter or other letters. Furthermore, in September 2015, PRN will publicly state that it has no knowledge of the server being wiped.
Furthermore, when the FBI picks up Clinton’s server from a data center in New Jersey on August 12, 2015, they only pick up one server. But actually there are two servers there, both being managed by PRN, and Clinton’s emails had been transferred from the old one to the new one. The FBI will discover this on their own and pick up the newer server as well on October 3, 2015, so it seems probable that PRN is not honest with the Congressional committee about this basic fact either.
Additionally, when Johnson’s committee asks to interview PRN employees one month later, the company will refuse and will cease cooperating with Congressional investigators.
In March 2015, the House Benghazi Committee subpoenaed records, including work-related emails from personal accounts, from ten former Clinton aides, for a two-year period surrounding the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. The State Department then asked those ten people for their records. It is known that four of the aides—Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, and Philippe Reines—have turned over records, including from personal email accounts. However, it is not known what happened with the other six, or even who they are.
Clinton wrote in a sworn affidavit on August 6, 2015 that Abedin had an email account on Clinton’s private server and that Mills did not. Otherwise, department officials and Clinton’s staff have failed to reveal who else had an email account on Clinton’s server or even which other aides had any kind of personal email account.
The Intelligence Community inspector general’s office says it is not currently involved in any inquiry into Clinton’s former top aides because it is being denied full access to the aides’ emails by the State Department.
The media outlet Gawker is suing for access to Reines’ emails. Bradley Moss, a lawyer for Gawker, says: “I think the headline is that there’s nothing but murkiness and non-answers from the State Department. I think the State Department is figuring this out as it goes along, which is exactly why no one should be using personal email to conduct government business.” (McClatchy Newspapers, 8/11/2015)
The State Department inspector general’s office says it is reviewing the use of “personal communications hardware and software” by Clinton’s former top aides, after requests from Congress. In March 2015, three Republican Senate committee chairs—Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, and Bob Corker—requested an audit of some of her aides’ personal emails.
Douglas Welty, a spokesperson for the inspector general’s office, says, “We will follow the facts wherever they lead, to include former aides and associates, as appropriate.” However, the office won’t say which aides are being investigated. (McClatchy Newspapers, 8/11/2015)
Platte River Networks (PRN) has been managing Clinton’s private email server. According to a New York Post article in September 2016, around August 2015, PRN wants to double check their behavior after media reports that the FBI is investigating Clinton’s server. “Company execs scrambled to find proof that Clinton’s reps had months earlier asked to cut the retention of emails from 60 days to 30 days.”
Paul Combetta (left) Bill Thornton (right) (Credit: AP)
On August 12, 2015, PRN employee Bill Thornton writes, “OK, we may want to work with our attorneys to draft up something that absolves us of that question. I can only assume that will be the first and last question for us, ‘Why did we have backups of the system since the time of inception, then decide to cut them back to just 60 or 30 days?’ If we can get that from them in writing, I would feel a whole lot better about this.”
The other PRN employee who has been actively managing the Clinton account with Thornton, Bill Combetta, responds that he believes the request was made to PRN by phone.
An email exchange between the two on the same topic several days later will make clear that the Clinton representatives are employees of Clinton Executive Services Corp. (CESC) the Clinton family company that has been paying PRN. (The New York Post, 9/18/2016)
Obama announces that he will nominate current CIA Director Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, and General David Petraeus as the next director of the CIA on April 11, 2011. (Credit: CNN)
An unnamed State Department official who works in the Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS) is interviewed by the FBI on this day. According to a later FBI summary of the interview, she claims that around August 10, 2015, just a week before the interview, “[redacted] from Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) called [her] and told her Centcom records showed approximately 1,000 work-related emails between Clinton’s personal email and General David Petraeus, former commander of Centcom and former director of the CIA. Most of those 1,000 emails were not believed to be included in the 30,000 emails that IPS was reviewing. Out of the 30,000 emails, IPS only had a few emails from or related to Petraeus…” She “recommended the FBI should talk with [redacted] regarding the alleged 1,000 emails between Clinton and Petraeus.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
On September 25, 2015, the New York Times will report on the existence of 19 work-related emails between Clinton and Petraeus sent in January 2009 that were not turned over when Clinton gave what she said was all her 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department in December 2014. Since that time, neither these 19 emails nor any other of the alleged 1,000 emails between them have been made public.
PRN grew exponentially in 2015, including a number of new employees. (Credit: Platte River Networks)
Paul Combetta, an employee of Platte River Networks (PRN), sends an email to Leif McKinley, an employee of Datto, Inc. PRN is managing Clinton’s private server, and Datto has been subcontracted by PRN to provide back-up for the server. Combetta writes: “We are trying to tighten down every possible security angle on this customer. It occurs to us that anyone at PRN with access to the Datto Partner Portal (i.e. everyone here) could potentially access this device via the remote web feature. Can we set up either two-factor authentication, or move this device to a separate partner account, or some other method (disable remote web access altogether?) to allow only who we permit on our end to access this device via the Internet?” (US Congress, 9/12/2016)
On May 14, 2015, a photo of PRN employees was posted to their website and suggests the number of employees working there at the time to be approximately 28. (Platte River Networks, 5/14/15)
In September 2016, after the email is publicly released, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) will comment, “If I understand the email correctly, every single employee of PRN could have accessed some of the most highly classified national security information that’s ever been breached at the State Department.” (US Congress, 9/13/2016)
Clinton’s top campaign officials are debating a statement Clinton would make on her use of an email server in her home. Campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon writes in an email, “We should not think it is fine to find something that ‘should have been classified at the time.’ Our position is that no such material exists, else it could be said she mishandled classified info.” The email is sent to Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, as well as Clinton aides Jen Palmieri, Robby Mook, and three others. (WikiLeaks, 10/10/2016)
After the email is leaked in October 2016, Bloomberg News will note that “Fallon’s [email] came just days after Clinton gave a vague answer on the erasure of emails that her lawyers deemed not to be work-related. Asked if she’d wiped her server, she responded: ‘Like with a cloth or something?’”
Additionally, “It wasn’t immediately clear when or if Clinton delivered the statement suggested by Fallon, which would have come after months of downplaying the issue. Four days after Fallon wrote the email, Clinton said using the server ‘clearly wasn’t the best choice. I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any email that was marked classified.” (Bloomberg News, 10/13/2016)
“Internet researcher Katica (@GOPollAnalyst) may have found the hidden thread that unravels a much bigger story within the Uranium One-Clinton-FBI scandal.
In an otherwise innocuous FBI FOIA file Katica located a notice for preservation of documents sent by an FBI special agent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on August 28th, 2015. What is interesting about the preservation request(s) are the recipients, their attachment to CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States), and the timeline of events surrounding the agent’s notification.
(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)
The time-line here is very important as it might change the perception of exactly what the FBI was investigating as it relates to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Therefore a backdrop to understand content and context is important.
Up to now the general perception of the FBI’s involvement surrounding the Clinton emails has been against the backdrop of using a personal email server to conduct business, and the potential for unlawful transmission of classified data.
Additionally, the circumvention of official information technology protocols was the narrative most often discussed. The headlines were “Clinton used bad judgement” etc.
In essence, throughout 2015, 2016, 2017 the arguments, including FBI legal probes, were thought to center around “process“. However, Katica’s discovery re-frames that argument to focus on the subject matter “content” within the emails, and not the process.
The first notification of a Clinton email problem stemmed from the discovery that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her personal email (and server) to conduct official government business. Those initial revelations were discovered around March of 2015. [New York Times, March 2nd]
The discovery by Katica shows that on August 28th, 2015, an FBI special agent sent a notification to preserve records to: •Nuclear Regulatory Commission; •The U.S. Dept. of Treasury; •Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI James Clapper); •The National Counter Terrorism Center; and the •U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).
Each of these agencies was intricately involved in the 2010 approval of the Uranium One deal. Indeed, each of these specific agencies is involved in the CFIUS approval process for the purchase within the Uranium One deal. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State at the time.
Five Days later, on September 2nd, 2015, the FBI special agent sent another notification for preservation of records to the same agencies -beginning with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission- and adding: the National Security Agency (NSA – Admiral Mike Rogers) and the United States Secret Service (USSS).
The following day, on September 3rd, 2015, the FBI special agent submitted a supplemental notification for preservation of records to: •The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), •Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and •The Department of Defense:
Platte River Networks (PRN) is the computer company that has been managing Clinton’s private server. In August 2015, the Senate Homeland Security Committee asked PRN for a staff-level briefing on the server, and got one later that month.
In earlySeptember 2015, Congressional investigators communicate with Ken Eichner, a lawyer working for PRN, asking to interview five employees in Denver, Colorado, where PRN is located. But on September 17, 2015, Eichner writes in an email, “I am going to respectfully decline [permission for] any interviews.”
In September 2015, some PRN employees are interviewed by the FBI, but details of that remain unknown. In November 2015, it will be reported that PRN isn’t cooperating with Congressional investigators at all, and isn’t allowing Datto, Inc., a company it subcontracted to help back up Clinton’s server, to cooperate either. (Politico, 11/13/2015)
Ken Eichner has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” for more than a decade and named by 5280 Magazine as one of Colorado’s top criminal lawyers. (Super Lawyers) (5280 Magazine)
Platte River Network (PRN) is the company that has been managing Clinton’s private server since June 2013. In November 2015, Politico will report that the FBI interviewed some PRN employees in September 2015. This will be confirmed by PRN spokesperson Andy Boian. The same month, PRN turns down a request for the Senate Homeland Security Committee to interview five of its employees.
It isn’t known how many employees are interviewed by the FBI or who they are. The FBI Clinton email investigation’s final report released in September 2016 will make no mention of any PRN interviews in 2015 at all (though there could be mentions that are redacted).
However, it will later be revealed that PRN only had two employees doing the work on the Clinton server, and one of them was Paul Combetta, so it seems likely he would be interviewed. But the FBI report will say that Combetta was only interviewed twice, both times in 2016. It will later be revealed that Combetta was the person who deleted and then wiped all of Clinton’s emails from her server. (Politico, 11/13/2015)
Maura Pally (Credit: Sylvain Gaboury / Patrick McMullan)
Longtime Clinton advisor Neera Tanden emails Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. The subject heading is “Re: This Bryan Pagliano situation.” Most of their email exchange appears to be about other matters, but Tanden makes the comment, “Bryan was the one who retrieved all our emails for Maura to read. Maybe that is why he’s avoiding testifying.” (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)
This email comes one day after it is first reported that Pagliano is going to plead the Fifth before a Congressional committee that wants to question him about his role managing Clinton’s private email server when she was secretary of state. (The New York Times, 9/5/2015)
It is not clear who “Maura” is. However, the only Maura in Clinton’s inner circle at the time is Maura Pally. She was deputy counsel on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013, she began working for the Clinton Foundation. She was the interim CEO of the foundation from January until April 2015, and she has been vice president of programs at the foundation since then. (Politico, 5/30/2013) (Politico, 4/27/2015)
Clinton campaigns in Portsmouth, NH with Senator Jeanne Shaheen on September 5, 2015. (Credit: Cheryl Senter / The Associated Press)
On September 2, 2015, it was reported that Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano would take the Fifth and refuse questions from a House committee. On September 5, 2015, Clinton says in response, “I would very much urge anybody who is asked to cooperate to do so.” (The New York Times, 9/5/2015)
But in November 2015, it will be reported that two computer companies involved with Clinton’s private server, Platte River Networks and Datto, Inc., are refusing to cooperate with Congressional investigators. Furthermore, the Clinton campaign will fail to comment on whether Clinton’s lawyers have encouraged these two companies to cooperate. (Politico, 11/13/2015)
“Within the Inspector General report into how the DOJ and FBI handled the Clinton email investigation, on Page #164, footnote #124 the outline is laid bare for all to witness. The Clinton classified email investigation was structured to deliver a predetermined outcome.
John Spiropoulos delivers the first video in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s review into the investigation of Hillary Clinton. This segment focuses on DOJ’s legal interpretation that virtually assured Clinton would not be prosecuted. And that, as the IG reports states, the FBI and DOJ knew that “by September2015.″ (Conservative Treehouse,6/25/2018)
Platte River Networks (PRN) has been managing Clinton’s private server since June 2013, and since that time they used the service of another company, Datto, Inc., to make back-ups of the data on the server. As a result, they need PRN’s permission to share data.
Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto, Inc. (Credit: Erik Traufmann / Hearst Connecticut Media)
On this day, David Kendall, Clinton’s personal lawyer, and PRN agree to allow Datto to turn over the data from the backup server to the FBI. This is according to an unname person familiar with Datto’s storage, quoted in McClatchy Newspapersfour days later.
Datto says 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.”
However, according to McClatchy Newspapers, the unnamed source says “that Platte River had set up a 60-day retention policy for the backup server, meaning that any emails to which incremental changes were made at least 60 days prior would be deleted and ‘gone forever.’ While the server wouldn’t have been ‘wiped clean,’ the source said, any underlying data likely would have been written over and would be difficult to recover.” (McClatchy Newspapers, 10/6/2015)
It appears that the FBI does get data from Datto over the next couple of weeks, because an October 23, 2015 letter from Datto to the FBI will refer to some Datto back-up data that is now in the FBI’s possession. (US Congress, 9/12/2016)
A Datto back-up device was attached to the server, and the data was backed up to the “cloud” as well. It is unknown if the FBI ever gets useful data from the cloud copy.
An inside look at the Equinix facility in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Credit: Chang W. Lee / New York Time)
Although the mainstream media in 2015 generally mentions only one Clinton email server, there actually are two in existence at this time. Both are located at an Equinix data center in Secaucus, New Jersey, and both are managed by Platte River Networks (PRN).
Clinton’s emails and other data had been transferred from the old server (which the FBI will later call the “Pagliano Server”) to the new server (which the FBI will call the “PRN Server”) in late June 2013, leaving the old server mostly empty but still running. On August 12, 2015, the FBI only picked up the old server for analysis.
A September 2016 FBI report will explain, “At the time of the FBI’s acquisition of the Pagliano Server, Williams & Connolly [the law firm of Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall] did not advise the US government of the existence of the additional equipment associated with the Pagliano Server, or that Clinton’s clintonemail.com emails had been migrated to the successor PRN Server remaining at Equinix. The FBI’s subsequent investigation identified this additional equipment and revealed the email migration.”
The report will continue, “As a result, on October 3, 2015, the FBI obtained, via consent provided by Clinton through Williams & Connolly, both the remaining Pagliano Server equipment and the PRN Server, which had remained operational and was hosting Clinton’s personal email account until it was disconnected and produced to the FBI.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Starting in October 2015 and into the first three months of 2016:
Oct. 12, 2015: Louis Bladel was moved to the New York Field Office.
Dec. 9, 2015: Charles “Sandy” Kable was moved to the Washington Field Office.
Dec. 1, 2015: Randall Coleman, Assistant Director – head of Counterintelligence, was named as executive assistant director – Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, and was replaced by Bill Priestap.
Feb. 1, 2016: Mark Giuliano retired as Deputy FBI Director and was replaced by Andrew McCabe.
Feb. 11, 2016: John Giacalone retired as Executive Assistant Director and was replaced by Michael Steinbach.
March 2, 2016: Gerald Roberts, Jr. was moved to the Washington Field Office.
Comey was the only known involved senior FBI leadership official who remained a constant during the entirety of the Clinton email investigation.
Strzok told lawmakers last year that the Clinton Mid-Year Exam was opened out of headquarters by then-Assistant Director Coleman. Strzok also noted that Section Chief Kable was involved in that effort. The FBI investigation into the Clinton emails was formally opened on July 10, 2015.
At this time, Strzok was an Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Field Office. The Assistant Director in Charge at the Washington Field Office during this period was Andrew McCabe, a position he assumed on Sept. 14, 2014.
Notably, on the same day, John Giacalone was appointed as the executive assistant director of the National Security Branch at FBI Headquarters, a position that had been held by McCabe prior to his move to head the Washington Field Office. Giacalone became the supervisor of Priestap’s predecessor, Coleman. Also on Sept. 14, Michael Steinbach replaced Giacalone as assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division. Steinbach would later replace Giacalone as the executive assistant director of the National Security Branch on Feb. 11, 2016, when Giacalone retired. With this appointment, Steinbach became Priestap’s direct supervisor.
Strzok said the decision to open the Clinton case at FBI headquarters as opposed to the Washington Field Office was made by senior executives at the FBI—certainly at or above Assistant Director Coleman’s level. At this time, Coleman was serving as the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division—the same position Priestap would take over in January 2016.
On July 30, 2015, within weeks of the FBI’s opening of the Clinton investigation, McCabe was suddenly promoted to the No. 3 position within the FBI. With his new title of associate deputy director, McCabe was transferred to FBI headquarters from the Washington Field Office and his direct involvement in the Clinton investigation began.
Peter Strzok (Credit: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
Strzok would shortly rejoin his old boss. Approximately two months after opening the Clinton investigation, FBI headquarters reached out to the Washington Field Office, saying they needed greater staffing and resources “based on what they were looking at, based on some of the investigative steps that were under consideration.”
Strzok was one of the agents selected and, likely in September or early October 2015, he was assigned to the Mid-Year Exam team and transferred to FBI headquarters.
On Jan. 29, 2016, FBI Director Comey appointed McCabe as Deputy FBI Director, replacing the retiring Giuliano, and McCabe assumed the No. 2 position within the FBI after having held the No. 3 position for all of six months.
Strzok, in his comments to lawmakers, acknowledged that the newly formed investigative team was largely made up of personnel from the Washington Field Office and FBI headquarters.
This new structure resulted in some unusual reporting lines that went outside normal chains of command. Strzok, who did not normally fall under Priestap’s oversight, was now reporting directly to him. Priestap described the structure as being established by his predecessor, Randall Coleman, during his testimony:
“I don’t know why he [Coleman] set it up, but he set up a reporting mechanism that leaders of that team would report directly to him, not through the customary other chain of command. And I kept that on when I assumed responsibility,” Priestap said.
Sometime around September or October 2016, Strzok was promoted to Deputy Assistant Director, a position that came under Priestap’s normal line authority. By this time the Clinton email case was formally closed and Strzok had already opened the counterintelligence investigation into then-candidate Trump on July 31, 2016.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
“In congressional testimonies reviewed by the Epoch Times, both Bruce and Nellie Ohr testified separately to congressional investigators last year that they had minimal contact with each other about their work, which could have posed an inherent conflict of interest.
Newly released documents and emails obtained by Judicial Watch, however, show that Nellie emailed Bruce dozens of times about Russia-related topics between October 2015 and September 2016. Nellie also routinely included several other DOJ officials in these communications.
The emails also indicate that both Nellie and Bruce were in contact with Nellie’s boss, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.
Bruce Ohr (l) Glenn Simpson (c) and Nellie Ohr (Credit: public domain)
Nellie told congressional investigators in her Oct. 19, 2018, closed-door testimony, that part of her work for Fusion GPS was to research the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, including campaign associate Carter Page, early campaign supporter Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as Trump’s family members, including some of his children.
In court documents filed on Dec. 12, 2017, Simpson referred to Nellie Ohr as a “former government official expert” who was hired “to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.”
Prior to her work for Fusion GPS, Nellie had worked as an independent contractor for the CIA for as many as six years.
Email communications between her and Bruce Ohr show that she routinely sent Bruce articles on Russia—most carrying a similar negative slant.
The emails continued throughout the duration of Nellie’s employment with Fusion GPS and usually contained a brief, often one-line commentary from Nellie. An example from page 319: “Lesin’s death (This looks “fishy”…) See the 6 November notes…”
The responses Nellie received were minimal and often non-existent, but she continued to forward emails to Bruce, along with several other DOJ officials, during her employment with Fusion GPS. The result was a steady stream of negative articles, and brief commentary on Russia being fed into the DOJ through her husband that almost certainly were the result of her work for Fusion GPS.
Bruce, however, had previously testified that he and Nellie typically did not discuss details of their work with each other.
A graphic that appears during Megyn Kelly’s interview with James Kallstrom. (Credit: Fox News)
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom is interviewed by Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly about President Obama’s comments on October 8, 2015 regarding the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. He says, “I know some of the agents, Megyn. I know some of the supervisors and I know the senior staff. And they’re P.O.ed [pissed off], I mean, no question. This is like someone driving a nail, another nail into the coffin of the criminal justice system and what the public thinks about it.”
He adds that he doesn’t think the FBI investigators will allow Obama’s comments to affect them. And he concludes, “[I]f it’s a big case and it’s pushed under the rug, they won’t take that sitting down.” (Fox News, 10/16/2015)
Clinton’s State Department jet offered phone lines for secure and non secure calls. (Credit: CNN)
While interviewed under oath by the House Benghazi Committee, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin reveals that when Clinton traveled a secure cell phone usually traveled with her. “We didn’t need to use it very often because she was always within close enough proximity with an actual hard line secure phone, but now that you’ve asked me, I actually do remember that on occasion there was a secure cell phone.” She ends up admitting that Clinton traveled with the phone most of the time. Sometimes it was carried by Abedin, and sometimes by other Clinton aides. (House Benghazi Committee, 10/16/2015)
Huma Abedin (center) enters a hearing held by the House Benghazi Committee on October 16, 2015. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin / The Associated Press)
While interviewed under oath by the House Benghazi Committee, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin says that Clinton “absolutely used the secure phones” installed in her houses in Washington, DC, and Chappaqua, New York. However, “The secure fax was deployed very little, mostly because we often had technical challenges receiving the faxes. She sometimes struggled with the equipment and…”
Abedin is interrupted with a recollection of an email in which she wrote, “Don’t ever use the fax machine.”
Abedin replies, “Yes. It was so maddening to try and execute it without there being some challenge, so, you know, secure faxes, we pretty quickly gave up on. And when she was in Washington, it was very convenient to have a pouch delivered. She often had a pouch delivered anyway. She lived in very close proximity to the State Department so we would just ask those documents to be included in the pouch.” Documents were delivered by courier to Clinton in Chappaqua as well. (House Benghazi Committee, 10/16/2015)
Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin is interviewed under oath by the House Benghazi Committee. She makes the following claims in her testimony:
Huma Abedin arrives to testify at a hearing before the House Benghazi Committee on Oct. 16, 2015. (Credit: Saul Loee / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)
While she was at the State Department she was aware that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account for all her email communications. However, although many higher-ups in the State Department know Clinton used a personal email account, none of them knew that she used it exclusively.
Asked if she ever had any conversation with Clinton “about using personal email versus official email” prior to Clinton becoming secretary of state, Abedin replies, “It doesn’t mean it’s out of the realm of possibility, but I don’t recall any specific conversations with her.”
When asked if she was aware that Clinton’s email account was maintained on a private server, she replies, “I know it was an email address that was provided by the IT [information technology] person in President Clinton’s office. [She later identifies this as Justin Cooper.] I’m not certain that I was aware of what server it was on or not on.” However, she says she was “absolutely” certain it wasn’t on a State Department server.
She had three email accounts: a state.gov one, a Yahoo mail one, and a clintonemail.com one.
Anyone who asked for Clinton’s private email address was given it, and she doesn’t recall a time when a person was denied it.
Sidney Blumenthal’s memoir of his four years as a presidential assistant to Bill Clinton. (Credit: public domain)
She knew Sid Blumenthal well from her earlier work under the Clintons going back to when Bill Clinton was president, she never saw him at the State Department and didn’t have communication with him by phone or email. She was only dimly aware of how often he emailed Clinton because she would print out his emails for Clinton sometimes.
She had a “top secret” security clearance while she worked at the State Department but it lapsed shortly after she left the department in early 2013 and she doesn’t have one anymore. (House Benghazi Committee, 10/16/2015)
David Kendall (Credit: Agence France Presse / Getty Images)
On this day, Williams & Connolly, the law firm of Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, gives two BlackBerrys to the FBI and indicates they might contain or have previously contained emails from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. But FBI forensic analysis will find no evidence that either BlackBerry were ever connected to one of Clinton’s personal servers or contained any of her emails. The two BlackBerrys don’t even contain SIM cards or Secure Digital (SD) cards.
The FBI determines that Clinton used 11 BlackBerrys while secretary of state, and two more using the same phone number, but these two BlackBerrys are not any of those. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
A snippet from the invoice published by Complete Colorado on October 19, 2015. (Credit: Todd Shepherd / Complete Colorado) (Used with express permission from CompleteColorado.com. Do not duplicate or republish.)
On October 19, 2015, Complete Colorado reports that Platte River Networks (PRN), the company managing Clinton’s private server, drafted an invoice to Clinton’s representatives, asking to be reimbursed for legal and public relations (PR) expenses relating to the Clinton email controversy.
The invoice totals at least $44,000, but it may be incomplete. The expenses were incurred from late July 2015 to mid-September 2015. The only PRN employee mentioned by name in the invoice is Paul Combetta. In September 2016, it will be revealed that he was one of two PRN employees handling Clinton’s server, and he deleted all of Clinton’s emails from the server. (Complete Colorado, 10/19/2015)
However, on November 13, 2015, Politico will report that the Clinton campaign says Clinton is not paying PRN’s legal and PR bills, and Clinton never received the invoice. (Politico, 11/13/2015)
Her testimony took place on September 3, 2015. Only minor redactions are made. They do this without the permission of the Republicans heading the committee, claiming they were forced to do it “in order to correct the public record after numerous out-of-context and misleading Republican leaks.” This comes just one day before Clinton is due to testify in public before the committee. (House Benghazi Committee, 10/21/2015) (House Benghazi Committee, 10/21/2015)
During Clinton’s testimony under oath before the House Benghazi Committee, Representative Jim Jordan (R) asks Clinton questions about how her emails from her tenure as secretary of state were sorted and some of them deleted in late 2014. He asks, “You have stated that you used a multi-step process to determine which ones were private, which ones were public, which ones belonged to you and your family, which ones belonged to the taxpayer. Who oversaw this multi-step process in making that determination which ones we might get and which ones that were personal?”
Clinton replies, “That was overseen by my attorneys and they conducted a rigorous review of my emails…”
Jordan visually identifies the three lawyers who were known to be involved in the sorting process — David Kendall, Cheryl Mills, and Heather Samuelson — because they are sitting right behind Clinton in the hearing, and Clinton confirms those are the ones. He then asks Clinton what she means by “rigorous.”
Sitting behind Clinton at the Benghazi committee hearing are, starting left in order of appearance, Heather Samuelson, Jake Sullivan, Phil Schiliro, Cheryl Mills, Katherine Turner and David Kendall. (Credit: Getty Images)
Clinton explains, “It means that they were asked to provide anything that could be possibly construed as work related. In fact, in my opinion — and that’s been confirmed by both the State Department…”
Jordan interrupts, “But I’m asking how — I’m asking how it was done. Was — did someone physically look at the 62,000 emails, or did you use search terms, date parameters? I want to know the specifics.”
Clinton responds, “They did all of that, and I did not look over their shoulders, because I thought it would be appropriate for them to conduct that search, and they did.”
Then Jordan asks, “Will you provide this committee — or can you answer today — what were the search terms?”
Clinton answers, “The search terms were everything you could imagine that might be related to anything, but they also went through every single email.”
When asked for more specifics, she says, “I asked my attorneys to oversee the process. I did not look over their shoulder. I did not dictate how they would do it. I did not ask what they were doing and how they made their determinations.”
After more questioning, Clinton refuses to mention any of the search terms.
Additionally, when asked if there were in fact two servers, she says there was just one.
She also says, “There was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received.”
Jordan concludes his questioning by asking, “If the FBI finds some of these emails that might be deleted, as they’re reviewing your server, will you agree to allow a neutral third party — like a retired federal judge — to review any emails deleted to determine if any of them are relevant to our investigation?”
On July 7, 2016, after concluding the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails, FBI Director James Comey will be questioned under oath by Representative Trey Gowdy (R). Gowdy will refer to Clinton’s testimony on this day when he asks, “Secretary Clinton said her lawyers read every one of the emails and were overly inclusive. Did her lawyers read the email content individually?”
Comey will reply, “No.”
Gowdy will also ask, “Secretary Clinton said she used just one device. Was that true?”
Comey will answer, “She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as secretary of state.”
Gowdy then will ask if it’s true she never sent or received information marked classified on her private email.
Comey will reply, “That’s not true. There were a small number of portion markings on I think three of the documents.”
Later in the hearing, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) will ask Comey if the FBI has investigated the truthfulness of Clinton’s testimony under oath. After Comey says that would require a referral from Congress, Chaffetz will promise to get him one right away. (Politico, 7/7/2016)
Representative Jim Jordan asks Clinton pointed questions during the House Benghazi hearing on October 22, 2015. (Credit: Zach Gibson / The New York Times)
During Clinton’s testimony under oath before the House Benghazi Committee, Representative Jim Jordan (R) asks her about her private email server or servers. “[T]here was one server on your property in New York, and a second server hosted by a Colorado company in — housed in New Jersey. Is that right? There were two servers?”
Clinton replies, “No. … There was a… there was a server…”
“Just one?” Jordan presses.
Clinton continues, “…that was already being used by my husband’s [Bill Clinton’s] team. An existing system in our home that I used. And then later, again, my husband’s office decided that they wanted to change their arrangements, and that’s when they contracted with the company in Colorado,” Platte River Networks.
Jordan asks, “And so there’s only one server? Is that what you’re telling me? And it’s the one server that the FBI has?”
Clinton answers, “The FBI has the server that was used during the tenure of my State Department service.”
However, in a public speech on July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey will reveal that 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… (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 7/5/2016)
Two days later, Comey will be questioned under oath in a Congressional hearing by Representative Trey Gowdy (R). Gowdy will refer to Clinton’s testimony on this day when he asks, “Secretary Clinton said she used just one device. Was that true?”
Comey will answer, “She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as secretary of state.”
Later in the hearing, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) will promise to give the FBI a referral from Congress so the FBI can investigate the truthfulness of this and other comments Clinton made under oath. (Politico, 7/7/2016)
Steven Cash is a lawyer for Datto, Inc., the company that has been backing up the data on Clinton’s private server. They have been subcontracted to do this by Platte River Networks (PRN), the company managing the server. Cash emails an unnamed FBI agent, informing him of several issues to be aware of prior to a conference call planned for later that day.
A Datto hard drive, the Datto SIRIS S2000, has been attached to Clinton’s server since June 2013. Cash says that Datto technical experts have reviewed administrative files and discovered through the device’s Internet interface that a series of deletions took place on the device on March 31, 2015, between 11:27 a.m. and 12:41 a.m. The data had a date range from January 28, 2015 to March 24, 2015.
Furthermore, a much greater amount of data had been “deleted automatically based on the local device’s then-configured pruning parameters.” Cash writes that “These manual requests were requested from the Local Device’s web interface for the [redacted] agent…” (US Congress, 9/12/2016) While it is possible a person’s is in the redacted space, it could also be something such as “PRN employee.”
In a May 2016 FBI interview, PRN employee Paul Combetta will confess to deleting all of Clinton’s emails on her server as well as the Datto back-up device in precisely this time period, between March 25, 2015 and March 31, 2015. It is not known if the FBI knew of the deletions prior to this letter from Datto. However, the letter certainly makes it clear, but this will not become public knowledge until an FBI report released in September 2016, almost one year later.
Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri sends an email to Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta and White House spokesperson Eric Schultz. In it, she forwards a link to a new New York Times article in which FBI Director James Comey suggests that crime could be rising nationwide because police officers are becoming less aggressive due to the “Ferguson effect,” anti-police sentiment following unrest earlier that year in Ferguson, Missouri. Comey’s claim is highly controversial.
Palmieri then comments, “Get a big fat ‘I told you so’ on Comey being a bad choice.”
There is no apparent reply from either Podesta or Schultz.
“The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under “extraordinary circumstances” before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews.
This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.
(…) “In an interview with NBC Newsearlier this week, Veselnitskaya acknowledged her contacts with Trump Jr. and in Washington were part of a lobbying campaign to get members of Congress and American political figures to see “the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act.”
That work was a far cry from the narrow reason the U.S. government initially gave for allowing Veselnitskaya into the U.S. in late2015, according to federal court records.
Denis Katsyv (Credit: public domain)
During a court hearing in early January 2016, as Veselnitskaya’s permission to stay in the country was about to expire, federal prosecutors described how rare the grant of parole immigration was as Veselnitskaya pleaded for more time to remain in the United States.
“In October the government bypassed the normal visa process and gave a type of extraordinary permission to enter the country called immigration parole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni explained to the judge during a hearing on Jan. 6, 2016.
“That’s a discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances. In this case, we did that so that Mr. Katsyv could testify. And we made the further accommodation of allowing his Russian lawyer into the country to assist,” he added.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/12/2017)
Platte River Networks (PRN) is the computer company that has been managing Clinton’s private server since June 2013. Politico reports that it has declined requests by the Senate Homeland Security Committee to interview five employees about the security of Clinton’s server.
The Datto Logo (Credit: Datto)
Additionally, Datto, Inc. was employed by PRN to back up data from the server. On October 6, 2015, McClatchy Newspapers quoted Datto’s attorney who said the company had permission from representatives of Clinton and Platte River to cooperate with the FBI investigation. But on October 19, 2015, Datto told the committee that it can’t answer questions from the committee because it has a confidentiality agreement with its client PRN and can only answer questions about that account with their permission. PRN gave permission initially but then changed its mind.
PRN spokesperson Andy Boian says that the interview requests from Congress weren’t “formal” inquiries, even though request letters were delivered on official Senate letterhead. He adds, “We as a company have felt like we have done everything we can to comply with every request by both the FBI and the Homeland Security Committee, and we really have nothing left to give.”
The Infograte Logo (Credit: Infograte)
Tania Neild, CEO of the technology broker company InfoGrate, helped Clinton select PRN to run their server. She declined to be interviewed by Congressional investigators, invoking a nondisclosure agreement she had with her client.
The SECNAP Logo (Credit: SECNAP)
Another computer company, SECNAP, was involved in the security of the server. They apparently aren’t cooperating with Republican investigators either, because Dennis Nowak, a lawyer for SECNAP, says that communications technology companies are governed by a law that imposes criminal and civil penalties for disclosing customer information, and that can only be waived by subpoena, search warrant, court order, or consent of the client.
These four companies apparently have fully cooperated with the FBI. But Politico reports, “While the firms have voluntarily produced some information for Congressional Republicans in the past, now it seems they’re not willing to go beyond their legal obligations when it comes to responding to committee inquiries.”
In September 2015, Clinton publicly said regarding the FBI’s Clinton investigation that she “would very much urge anybody who is asked to cooperate to do so.” However, Politico asked the Clinton campaign if it had encouraged these computer companies to cooperate with Congressional investigators, and the campaign had no comment. (Politico, 11/13/2015)
These companies will continue to refuse to cooperate with Congress. In August 2016, Congressional Republicans will issue subpoenas to PRN, Datto, and SECNAP to finally force their cooperation.
“One of the bombshell admissions from a closed-door testimony by DOJ official Bruce Ohr was that his wife, Nellie Ohr, was working for opposition research firm Fusion GPS already in late 2015.
Previously, it had been reported that Nellie Ohr was hired to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump in the spring of 2016.
“Ohr testified that Fusion approached his wife for a job and that she began working for the research firm in late 2015,” the Daily Caller reported.
In addition to the new time-frame for Nellie Ohr’s employment, Bruce Ohr also confirmed that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page all knew he was talking to former British MI6 spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the now-infamous opposition research dossier on Trump, which was used as the core evidence of an application for a [Title 1] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
More importantly, Ohr also informed Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann about his dossier-related work and interactions with Steele. Ohr made these internal disclosures before Weissmann joined special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Mueller Team has known of Ohr’s involvement with the Steele Dossier from the start of their formal investigation.
These events are likely intertwined. To understand why, we need to revisit an April 26, 2017, unsealed FISA Court Ruling, that was declassified by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
There is a staggering amount of information contained within the ruling, including these two disclosures:
“NSA estimates that approximately eighty-five percent of those queries, representing [Redacted] queries conducted by approximately [Redacted] targeted offices, were not compliant with the applicable minimization procedures.”
“The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to a [Redacted] … is largely staffed by private contractors … the [Redacted] contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI’s requests.”
The Court said these practices had been going on since at least November 2015 and noted that “there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015-April 2016 period coincided with an unusually high error rate.”
The FISA Court also pointed out that the government could not say how, when, or where the non-compliant information was used. Once an individual had access to the information, it could no longer be traced or tracked.
What the FISA Court disclosed is alarming in its simplicity.
Illegal NSA Database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA Database. Once in their possession, the FISA Data could not be traced.
Ben Rhodes, right, speaks as Susan Rice listens during the White House Daily Briefing on March 21, 2014. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
“Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.
“What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.
“The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”
Other official sources with direct knowledge and who requested anonymity confirmed to TheDCNF diGenova’s description of surveillance reports Rice ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election.
Also on Monday, Fox News and Bloomberg News, citing multiple sources reported that Rice had requested the intelligence information that was produced in a highly organized operation. Fox said the unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director.
Joining Rice in the alleged White House operations was her deputy Ben Rhodes, according to Fox.
Critics of the atmosphere prevailing throughout the Obama administration’s last year in office point to former Obama Deputy Defense Secretary Evelyn Farkas who admitted in a March 2 television interview on MSNBC that she “was urging my former colleagues,” to “get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration.”
According to a July 2016 Yahoo News article, the FBI contacts the DNC in late 2015 and tells their IT (information technology) staffers that there has been a hacking attack on the DNC’s computer network. The FBI provides no details, such as who the hackers might be.
It will later be discovered that a hacker broke into the DNC network in the summer of 2015. Despite the FBI warning, the hacker won’t be ejected from the network until around June 2016. (Yahoo News, 7/29/2016)
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, made the baseless insinuation that Donald Trump compromised national security by inviting a man with Russian ties to his intelligence briefing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) sits next to retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (left), Jill Stein (right) as they attend an exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of RT (Russia Today) television news channel in Moscow, Russia, December 10, 2015. (Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Reuters)
Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mook said Trump was accompanied to his first intelligence briefing on Aug. 17 by “someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.” Mook claimed this “gentleman” — whom he did not name — “was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin” at RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December, and he demanded that Trump disclose “whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.”
Who is this mysterious, unnamed gentleman? The Clinton campaign told us Mook was referring to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who until two years ago was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama.
Flynn is not “on the payroll of the Russia Times.” He was merely one of many speakers at RT’s anniversary conference on Dec. 10, 2015, in Moscow. RT is a Russian government-funded TV station once known as Russia Today.
Mook made his misleading assertion about Flynn shortly after he claimed that “real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin.” Host George Stephanopoulos questioned Mook about that claim — which has been part of the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Trump ever since it was reported that Russia was likely behind the successful attacks on computer servers at the Democratic National Committee and the release of DNC emails.
Stephanopoulos: You’re saying he’s a puppet for the Kremlin?
Mook: Well, real questions are being raised about that. We — again, there’s a web of financial ties to the Russians that he refuses to disclose. We’ve seen over the last few week, him parroted Vladimir Putin in his own remarks. We saw the Republican Party platform changed. She saw Donald Trump talk about leaving NATO and leaving our Eastern European allies vulnerable to a Russian attack. The gentleman he brought with him to his security briefing just last week is someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. He was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin at their 10th anniversary gala.
There are a lot of questions here. And we need Donald Trump to disclose all of his financial ties and whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.
However, Paul Manafort, who until last week was Trump’s campaign chairman, did have business dealings with Russian-aligned leaders in Ukraine, as uncovered by the New York Times. With Manafort gone, Mook redirected the campaign’s guilt-by-association attack on Trump by questioning Flynn’s associations with the Kremlin.”
(…) “In an Aug. 15 article, Flynn told the Washington Post that his speaking engagement was arranged by his speaker’s bureau and that he was paid for it. He said he was introduced to Putin, but did not speak to him.
The Clinton campaign provided no evidence that Flynn is “on the payroll” of RT or that he is “having meetings with the Kremlin,” as Mook alleged. It forwarded us a Politico story from May that said Flynn “makes semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst.” Politico wrote that Flynn is “presumably” paid for those TV appearances, but the retired lieutenant general told the Post that he is not paid by RT or any other TV stations, because “I want to be able to speak freely about what I believe.” (Read more: FactCheck, 8/23/2016)
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell writes an email to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on this day about the Republican-led House Benghazi Committee investigation. “Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt. Basic fault falls on a courageous ambassador who thoughts [sic] Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place.” He is referring to former ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
Powell also comments, “But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. [Patrick] Kennedy, Intel community, [State Department] and yes HRC,” referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“Rep. Yvette Clarke’s deputy chief of staff came into the office on a Saturday in December 2015 and caught the New York Democrat’s part-time IT aide, Abid Awan, rummaging through the congresswoman’s work area with new iPods and other equipment strewn around the room, according to a House document and interviews with Hill staff.
Wendy Anderson told Abid to get out of the office, the document said. She told Capitol Hill investigators that she soon suspected Clarke’s chief of staff, Shelley Davis, was working with Abid on a theft scheme, multiple House staffers with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Caller News Foundation. They also said that Anderson pushed for Abid’s firing.”
(…) “House Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko testified in a public hearing in April that “the House IG discovered evidence of procurement fraud and irregularities [and] numerous violations of House security policies” by the Awans. The alleged procurement fraud included submitting suspicious invoices to bill equipment to House offices.”
(…) “Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told TheDCNF the Capitol Police “requested that the shared employees be allowed to continue to use their IT credentials until February 2017 because they didn’t want to tip off the employees.”
But Anderson soon concluded that the investigation was compromised because another high-level staffer based in New York was feeding information about authorities’ activities to Abid, a House staffer Anderson spoke with in detail about the situation told TheDCNF.
“Her district office chief, a female, was actively going against Wendy,” the staffer said. “She was good friends with Omar and was feeding him information. Clarke would tell this person and the woman was backdooring stuff to Omar. She was undermining the investigation.” Anderson told that to House investigators as well, the staffer said.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/24/2018)
In January 2016, Alexandra informed a senior official at the Democratic National Committee about the potential connections between Trump and Russia, and warned that Paul Manafort may entangle himself in the 2016 election soon as a result. Simultaneously, Alexandra was also warning members of the Ukrainian-American community about Manafort.
On February 27, 2016, Alexandra hosted a discussion about the Ethnic Democrats for the Afric Vision Network.
On March 24, 2016, Alexandra discussed Manafort and his ties with Russian interests during a meeting at the Ukrainian Embassy with Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and his aide, Oksana Shulyar. Ambassador Chaly dismissed the discussion as he expected Trump to lose the nomination. The meeting also discussed a reception in June 2016 at an event featuring Hanna Hopko and Melanne Verveer.
Andrii Telizhenko was then ordered by Shulyar to assist Alexandra in her research of Manafort, Trump and Russia, as the Ukrainian Embassy was coordinating an investigation with the Clinton campaign. Alexandra, at the time, prepared opposition research files on Manafort.
Four days later, on March 29, 2016, the day after the announcement that Trump had hired Manafort to corral the delegates, Alexandra then briefed the communications staff of the Democratic National Committee about Manafort, Trump and Russia.
After this, Alexandra pushed for the Ukrainian Embassy staff — with encouragement from the Democratic National Committee — to arrange an interview with President Poroshenko to discuss Manafort’s ties to Yanukovych, although the Ukrainian Embassy declined the request.
However, at some point, Telizhenko was brought into a meeting with Alexandra by Shulyar as an American media organisation was conducting their own investigation into Manafort, while Alexandra wanted to push for a Congressional hearing on either Manafort or Trump for September 2016.
On March 30, 2016, Ukraine In Washington was hosted at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, which was attended by Ambassador Chaly and David Kramer.
In the first week of April 2016, Alexandra discussed with a foreign policy legislative assistant who worked in the Office of Representative Marcy Kaptur about the potential of a Congressional investigation into Manafort.
On April 20, 2016, Alexandra received messages from the administrators of her Yahoo! e-mail account, which warned that state sponsored actors were attempting to gain access to her account.
Three days later, on April 23, 2016, Alexandra, Nancy DiNardo and Amy Dacey addressed a gathering at the Belvedere Restaurant in New Britain, CT, where she rallied Ukrainian-Americans against Manafort. The same day, EuroMaidan Art & Graphics declared Manafort as “Putin’s Trojan Horse” and called for his dismissal, and arranged a protest of Manafort as New Britain, CT was his hometown for the same day.
On April 27, 2016, Alexandra held a panel at the Library of Congress, where she met with a delegation of 68 Ukrainian investigative journalists in a program sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center. During this time, she discussed her research on Manafort. After the panel, Isikoff then escorted Alexandra to a reception hosted at the Ukrainian Embassy.
Other attendees to the event at the Library of Congress included executive director John O’Keefe, Oksana Syroid, Bohdan Futey, Richard Bennett, Myroslava Gongadze and Ambassador Chaly. The events are commonly connected to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.
“In his address to the guests of the Embassy Ambassador of Ukraine to the US Valeriy Chaly noted that the meeting was very symbolic when all brunches of power gathered under one roof and felt united by the common goal. He urged Ukrainian delegations to take advantage of their visit to the US and disseminate the information about the situation in Ukraine in the context of counteracting Russian aggression, explore opportunities for the launch of new Ukraine-US projects as well as apply new experience and knowledge in Ukraine, in particular in the areas of reforming the justice sector, fighting corruption and ensuring transparency.” — Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
On May 3, 2016, Alexandra sent an e-mail to Luis Miranda at the Democratic National Committee, where she discussed her panel at the Library of Congress. This was in response to an e-mail from Luis, which featured a link from Politifact: “Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s top adviser, and his ties to pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine” by Aleksandra Kharchenko.
A lot more coming down the pipe. I spoke to a delegation of 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine last Wednesday at the Library of Congress — the Open World Society’s forum — they put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort and I invited Michael Isikoff whom I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in the next few weeks and something I’m working on you should be aware of.” — Alexandra Chalupa to Luis Miranda
Alexandra also provided a screenshot of the error to Luis.
The screenshot features two tabs — one of which is “Paul Manafort isn’t a GO…”
This is an article written by Franklin Foer of Slate, which was originally titled “Paul Manafort isn’t a GOP retread. He’s made a career of reinventing tyrants.” The article was published on April 28, 2016, the day after Alexandra’s Library of Congress visit, and its current title is “The Quiet American”.
Shortly after the e-mail was sent, a number of executives at the Democratic National Committee became concerned and concluded that the Russians were the state sponsored actors behind the recent phishing attempts. The executives then ordered for Alexandra to cease her research efforts.
“But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones. After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work. ‘That’s when we knew it was the Russians,’ said a Democratic Party source who has knowledge of an internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, ‘we told her to stop her research.’” — Michael Isikoff
Three days later, on May 6, 2016, John McCarthy sent an e-mail to Alexandra from his personal gmail account to arrange for religious leaders to stage a protest at the Republican National Convention.
On July 1, 2016, Rokas Beresniovas tweeted: “Thank you @TheDemocrats @NickSeminerio @AlexandraChalup It was a great event with @Simas44 of the WhiteHouse”.
On July 25, 2016, Isikoff published the article “Exclusive: Suspected Russian hack of DNC widens — includes personal email of staffer researching Manafort” in Yahoo! News, which featured information about Alexandra’s e-mails. The same day, Alexandra was in Philadelphia, where she introduced Senator Amy Klobuchar to the crowd.
In late July 2016, Alexandra left the Democratic National Committee in order to commit full-time to her investigations of Manafort, Trump and Russia, where she became an unofficial source for a number of journalists investigating the three.
On July 31, 2016, Andrea was interviewed by Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk about Alexandra’s e-mails being hacked.
ANDREA CHALUPA: “Yeah, well, you know, as- as- as, Nataliya, I have friends who are journalists who asked to speak with my sister, and I just keep saying ‘no’ because right now it’s just not a good time for her. Um, she is, you know, working for the DNC right now, and she has a lot on her plate with this election. It’s- it’s- it’s very much an all-hands-on-deck election, things are extremely serious. Things are very, very scary here. Um, so, but what I will say — what I’m allowed to say — because, you know, I can’t speak for my sister, um, she will speak when the time comes, um, but what I can say is that… you know… watching her work tirelessly, tirelessly, from the very beginning, many, many months ago to say: ‘Paul Manafort has just been brought in to run Donald Trump’s campaign. This is a huge deal. This is a very, very, very, very, very serious… warning bell going off, because this is who Paul Manafort is.’ He is a- a- a puppet master of some of the most vile dictators around the world, and of course, we who have focused on Ukraine know the name Paul Manafort increasibly well.”
“So my sister was- was- an instrumental voice inside the Democratic Party as has been reported to say, you know, this is someone we need to research. And she was leading that research. And… here in the U.S., you know, we have a lot of our own issues that we’re focusing on, so foreign affairs is something that is still abstract to many Americans, so doesn’t get prioritised, um, in elections as it should. But I- I just wanted to finish that point by saying it’s hilarious to me — and it’s hilarious to anyone that’s been following the situation that my sister finally got her message out there to the world in a major way thanks to the Russians. Thanks to the Russians hacking the DNC. Now everybody knows just how dangerous Paul Manafort is.”
In August 2016, Chalupa was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where they imaged both her laptop and her smartphone as part of an investigation into the Russian cyber-attacks.
“Democrats, seizing on a potential vulnerability for Mr. Trump, are increasing their own ethnic outreach this year, an effort that has been caught up in Russian political intrigue.
The personal emails of the woman running the outreach effort, Alexandra Chalupa, were among those hacked at the Democratic National Committee, a breach American intelligence officials attribute to Russian spies. Ms. Chalupa, who is of Ukrainian descent, had been researching Mr. Manafort while consulting for the committee when the hack occurred.She has been traveling the country, talking to Democrats about what she has found.
‘I’d talk about the Russia connection and what we were seeing,’ she said in an interview. ‘People were terrified.’” — The New York Times
Now take note of the various locations she was in, and the EuroMaidan protest that was arranged on the same day she was in town.
On September 9, 2016, Alexandra attended the premiere of the Hollywood film “Snowden”, which was also attended by Bill Binney, Oliver Stone, Michael Isikoff, Representative Alan Grayson and the wife of CNN’s Jake Tapper, Jennifer Tapper.
As Election Day drew nearer, Andrea tweeted: “‘The Kremlin also has both video and audio recordings of Trump in a kompromat file.’ #TrumpSexTape”, in which she quoted an article written by Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald, “Why Vladimir Putin’s Russia Is Backing Donald Trump”.
As noted by user /u/JohnWardCinematics on November 1, 2016 on Reddit’s The_Donald, #TrumpSexTape was trending and the originator was Andrea Chalupa. While he confused Andrea and Alexandra with each other in relation to the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council, he noted the existence of Digital Maidan’s connection to two “Tweet Storms”, one of which related to #TreasonousTrump.
The website on Google which discussed the hashtag #TreasonousTrump followed the same method of social media integration used previously for Digital Maidan to transform anybody into a Maidan activist, instead this time turning anybody into a Trump resister through two planned Twitter Storms: October 20, 2016 and October 26, 2016.
This did not stop Donald Trump from becoming the next President of the United States.
On November 9, 2016, Alexandra posted a Facebook message in response to Hillary Clinton’s concession, where she discussed Russian interference initiating in May 2016, Russian hacking of election systems in over half the states of America, praise for Robby Mook, an apparent discussion between Trump and Manafort about a ‘rigged election’ talking point and Manafort’s federal investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
During this message, Alexandra also mentioned that an organisation known as “The Protectors” based in Washington, DC actively assisted both the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Department of Justice as they monitored activity on November 8, 2016.
“3) Homeland Security/DOJ teamed up with a group that is part of Anonymous based in Washington, D.C. called ‘The Protectors.’ This group saw a lot of activity during Election Day from the Russians and believe that the voting results projected don’t match the internal and public polls because the voting results were manufactured in favor of Trump in heavily Republican counties in key states, and voting results may have been decreased for Clinton in key Democratic counties via malware that was placed by the Russians when they hacked the election systems of more than half our states.” — Alexandra Chalupa
The day after, on November 10, 2016, Andrea tweeted twofollow-ups in response to this:
“My sister led Trump/Russia research at DNC. US hackers protecting voting systems believe Russia hacked vote tallies.”
“All election day Anonymous hackers working w/DOJ updated my sister: they were at war w/RU hackers in our systems”.
As such, it can be concluded that “The Protectors” were in touch with Alexandra on November 8, 2016.
“Alexandra Chalupa, a former DNC consultant who during the campaign investigated links between Moscow and Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, is also participating in the attempt to secure recounts or audits.
‘The person who received the most votes free from interference or tampering needs to be in the White House,’ said Chalupa. ‘It may well be Donald Trump, but further due diligence is required to ensure that American democracy is not threatened.’” — The Guardian
(…) “The FBI relied in large part on allegations contained in the so-called Steele dossier in obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The author of the dossier, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, as well as the company he was hired by, Fusion GPS, were both feeding information to the FBI through different channels.
A key conduit for Steele to the FBI was high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
Asked if he was familiar with Ohr, Priestap told lawmakers, “I think I’ve seen Bruce Ohr, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a meeting with Bruce Ohr.” Priestap also said he never worked with Ohr on a counterintelligence investigation, which would include the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion:
Ms. Shen: So you have never worked with Bruce Ohr on a counterintelligence —
Mr. Priestap: I have not, no.
Priestap appeared to be completely unaware of the role that Ohr played in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign—or of Ohr’s meetings with the FBI.
In either late September or early October 2016, Ohr had another meeting—this time with Strzok, Page, and two or three DOJ career officials from the criminal division: Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, and Andrew Weissman (Ohr testified that he was unsure whether Weismann was at this or a later meeting).
On Nov. 21, 2016, Ohr had an additional meeting with Strzok and Page where he was introduced to FBI agent Joe Pientka, who would become Ohr’s FBI handler. Pientka was also present with Strzok during the Jan. 24, 2017, interview of then-national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
On the following day, Nov. 22, 2016, Ohr met alone with Pientka. Ohr would continue to relay his communications with Steele to Pientka. Unbeknownst to Ohr, Pientka was transmitting all the information directly to Strzok for use in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation Priestap was overseeing.” (The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
When Bryan Pagliano, who managed Clinton’s private server, is interviewed by the FBI on this day, he will mentioned that he recalled finding “a virus” on her server at some point. But according to the FBI, he “could provide no additional details, other than it was nothing of great concern. FBI examination of the [server] and available server backups did not reveal any indications of malware.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
“Newly unredacted text messages, sent between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, suggest that the agency initiated an offensive counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign as early as December 2015.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released 500 pages of documents and texts on June 4, the bulk of which consists of messages between Page and Strzok. One message, which was previously redacted, shows that FBI agents were working to recruit double agents as early as Dec. 28, 2015.
According to Chris Farrell, a former counterintelligence officer who ran double-agent operations for the U.S. Army, “oconus” stands for “outside the continental United States,” while “lures” refers to people used as bait to snag a potential double agent.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 6/07/2018)
(…) “The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials. Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration. Although the corporate press accuses Trump of conspiring with Russia to stop Hillary Clinton, the reverse now seems to be the case: the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block “Siberian candidate” Trump.
Sir Richard Dearlove (Credit: Reuters)
The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove, Halper’s friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London’s venerable Garrick Club, according toThe Washington Post, Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous “golden showers” opposition research dossier, that Trump “reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin.”
Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn’t work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal.
Former director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan (Credit: GCHQ)
Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as “The Walrus” for his impressive girth, other participants include:
Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA.
Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat.
Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow.
Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic.
James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence.
John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst).
A few things stand out about this august group. One is its in-bred quality. After helping to run an annual confab known as the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself “The Cambridge Security Initiative.” Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt’s international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaidadvisor.
CIA director John Brennan, visits Hakluyt’s New York office in January, 2018. Hakluyt retains close ties to the British Intelligence Agencies MI6 and GCHQ, as well as the intelligence agencies of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, also known as the Five-Eyes Alliance. (Credit: public domain)
Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale. In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump’s future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd. (Read more: Consortium News, 5/31/2018)
Although the details remain complex, the structure underlying Spygate—the creation of the false narrative that candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the spying on his presidential campaign—remains surprisingly simple:
John Brennan (Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
1. CIA Director John Brennan, with some assistance from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, gathered foreign intelligence and fed it throughout our domestic Intelligence Community.
2. The FBI became the handler of Brennan’s intelligence and engaged in the more practical elements of surveillance.
3. The Department of Justice facilitated investigations by the FBI and legal maneuverings, while providing a crucial shield of nondisclosure.
4. The Department of State became a mechanism of information dissemination and leaks.
5. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee provided funding, support, and media collusion.
6. Obama administration officials were complicit, and engaged in unmasking and intelligence gathering and dissemination.
7. The media was the most corrosive element in many respects. None of these events could have transpired without their willing participation. Stories were pushed, facts were ignored, and narratives were promoted.
Let’s start with a simple premise: The candidacy of Trump presented both an opportunity and a threat.
Initially not viewed with any real seriousness, Trump’s campaign was seen as an opportunistic wedge in the election process. At the same time, and particularly as the viability of his candidacy increased, Trump was seen as an existential threat to the established political system.
The sudden legitimacy of Trump’s candidacy was not welcomed by the U.S. political establishment. Here was a true political outsider who held no traditional allegiances. He was brash and boastful, he ignored political correctness, he couldn’t be bought, and he didn’t care what others thought of him—he trusted himself.
Governing bodies in Britain and the European Union were also worried. Candidate Trump was openly challenging monetary policy, regulations, and the power of special interests. He challenged Congress. He challenged the United Nations and the European Union. He questioned everything.
Brennan became the point man in the operation to stop a potential Trump presidency. It remains unclear whether his role was self-appointed or came from above. To embark on such a mission without direct presidential authority seems both a stretch of the imagination and particularly foolhardy.
Brennan took unofficial foreign intelligence compiled by contacts, colleagues, and associates—primarily from the UK, but also from other Five Eyes members, such as Australia.
Individuals in official positions in UK intelligence, such as Robert Hannigan—head of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the National Security Agency)—partnered with former UK foreign intelligence members. Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove, former Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood, and private UK intelligence firm Hakluyt all played a role.
Click on the infographic at The Epoch Times to enlarge.
“A member of the Ukrainian parliament accused in his home country of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was identified in congressional testimony in October as a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.
“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ohr, whose husband is Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, testified that she was not aware of Leshchenko’s source information, but that she knew he was providing information to Fusion GPS, where she worked between late 2015 and the 2016 election.
(…) Nellie Ohr did not describe the Leshchenko-Fusion GPS source relationship in greater detail, so it is not clear whether the Ukrainian lawmaker was paid, how he transmitted information to Fusion or with whom at the firm he maintained contact.
(…) Nellie Ohr testified that Leshchenko also provided Fusion GPS with information on Manafort.
Leshchenko, a member of Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, is widely credited with publishing a so-called “black ledger” that purported to show that Manafort received $12.7 million in illicit cash payments through 2012 from then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Manafort worked as a public relations consultant for Yanukovych and his political party from 2004 through 2014, when Yanukovych was forced out of office.
Leshchenko was a prominent media presence during and after the 2016 campaign, leveling allegations against Manafort and making it clear that he sought to portray Trump as a “pro-Russian candidate.”
“A Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy,” Leshchenko told the Financial Times days after publicizing the black ledger on Aug. 14, 2016. “For me, it was important to show not only the corruption aspect, but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.”
Hillary Clinton (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)
“An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s.
And, awareness of this activity doesn’t require you to spin conspiracy theories about what may or may not have been said during some seemingly innocuous conversation. In this case, you have open admissions about how these Russian/Kremlin claims were used.
Indeed, you have the words of Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, in his opening statement at last week’s public hearing on so-called “Russia-gate.” Schiff’s seamless 15-minute narrative of the Trump campaign’s alleged collaboration with Russia followed the script prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele who was hired as an opposition researcher last June to dig up derogatory information on Donald Trump.
Steele, who had worked for Britain’s MI-6 in Russia, said he tapped into ex-colleagues and unnamed sources inside Russia, including leadership figures in the Kremlin, to piece together a series of sensational reports that became the basis of the current congressional and FBI investigations into Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow.
Since he was not able to go to Russia himself, Steele based his reports mostly on multiple hearsay from anonymous Russians who claim to have heard some information from their government contacts before passing it on to Steele’s associates who then gave it to Steele who compiled this mix of rumors and alleged inside dope into “raw” intelligence reports.
The luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow. (Credit: public domain)
Besides the anonymous sourcing and the sources’ financial incentives to dig up dirt, Steele’s reports had numerous other problems, including the inability of a variety of investigators to confirm key elements, such as the salacious claim that several years ago Russian intelligence operatives secretly videotaped Trump having prostitutes urinate on him while he lay in the same bed in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton used by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
That tantalizing tidbit was included in Steele’s opening report to his new clients, dated June 20, 2016. Apparently, it proved irresistible in whetting the appetite of Clinton’s mysterious benefactors who were financing Steele’s dirt digging and who have kept their identities (and the amounts paid) hidden. Also in that first report were the basic outlines of what has become the scandal that is now threatening the survival of Trump’s embattled presidency.” (Read more: Consortium News, 3/29/2017)
(…) “Late 2015: According to several former and current western intelligence sources who spoke to this reporter, the investigations into President Donald Trump and his campaign began much earlier than has been reported and for that matter, it did not begin in the United States but rather across the Atlantic Ocean, in Great Britain.
An aerial view of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), located in the suburbs of Cheltenham, England. (Credit: public domain)
Intelligence community counterparts in Great Britain, specifically GCHQ, which is similar to America’s NSA, had already begun looking into what they alleged was contact between Russians and some members of the Trump campaign and played “an early, prominent role” according to these sources. But whether that information was requested by the U.S. as assistance to an investigation here or whether the British began the investigation on their own is still not clear.
The Guardianreported that British Intelligence sources shared its signals intelligence on people connected to Trump campaign with the United States. However, The Guardian also reports that Germany, Poland, and Estonia also shared communications related to members of the Trump campaign with the United States. Great Britain, which is part of what is called the “Five-Eyes” alliance includes the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the countries often shared signals intelligence, raw communications between targets they were investigating.
If what we are being told is true, who inside the U.S. and British intelligence agencies were aware that members of the Trump campaign had their communications intercepted by British intelligence, purportedly investigating the Russians? Was it the U.S. who asked the British to assist in a counterintelligence investigation or did the British do this on their own as claimed in The Guardian? If this did occur, how directly involved were CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in the information being shared by our allies? And how often had American political communications, unknown to the public, been intercepted by foreign governments for political purposes?
Moreover, if members of an administration collect information from allies based on overseas communications between opposition, what happens to that intelligence? How is it safeguarded from abuse and who or what agency has the oversight authority to ensure it is a legitimate counterintelligence investigation? Congressional oversight is always after-the-fact and lawmakers have been hampered by roadblocks set up by the DOJ, FBI and former senior officials of the Obama administration, who either have withheld documentation, evaded answering questions or lied.
If what the British and western intelligence officials are saying is true, then the investigation into the Trump campaign began much earlier than the FBI’s claims at the end of July 2016. More importantly, our allies may have been collecting more communications than we’re aware of on Trump campaign officials and volunteers. What we do know is that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; Carter Page, a short time foreign policy volunteer for the campaign; Paul Manafort, a short-term campaign chair and George Papadopoulos, a young short-term foreign policy advisor were all caught up in the spying dragnet.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/01/2(018)(The Guardian, 4/13/2017)
“The Obama administration distributed thousands of intelligence reports with the unredacted names of U.S. residents during the 2016 election.
During his final year in office, President Obama’s team significantly expanded efforts to search National Security Agency intercepts for information about Americans, distributing thousands of intelligence reports across government with the unredacted names of U.S. residents during the midst of a divisive 2016 presidential election.
The data, made available this week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, provides the clearest evidence to date of how information accidentally collected by the NSA overseas about Americans was subsequently searched and disseminated after President Obama loosened privacy protections to make such sharing easier in 2011 in the name of national security. A court affirmed his order.
The revelations are particularly sensitive since the NSA is legally forbidden from directly spying on Americans and its authority to conduct warrantless searches on foreigners is up for renewal in Congress later this year. And it comes as lawmakers investigate President Trump’s own claims that his privacy was violated by his predecessor during the 2016 election.
(…) “The searches ultimately resulted in 3,134 NSA intelligence reports with unredacted U.S. names being distributed across government in 2016, and another 3,354 reports in 2015. About half the time, U.S. identities were unredacted in the original reports while the other half were unmasked after the fact by special request of Obama administration officials.
Among those whose names were unmasked in 2016 or early 2017 were campaign or transition associates of President Trump as well as members of Congress and their staffers, according to sources with direct knowledge.
The data kept by ODNI is missing some information from one of the largest consumers of NSA intelligence, the FBI, and officials acknowledge the numbers are likely much higher when the FBI’s activity is added.” (Read more: Circa, 5/3/2017)
“A trove of emails and handwritten notes from Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr exposes the continuous contact and communication between the DOJ attorney and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, according to notes and documents obtained by SaraACarter.com. The emails and notes were written between 2016 and 2017.
The notes and emails also reveal that Ohr was in communication with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the embattled research firm Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to hire Steele.
In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.”
(…) “The documents from March 2017, reveal how concerned Steele is with Grassley’s committee and the letter from the senator’s office seeking answers from Steele on the dossier.
In June 2017, Steele tells Ohr, “We are frustrated with how long this re-engagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking. Anything you can do to accelerate the process would be much appreciated. There are some new, perishable, operational opportunities which we do not want to miss out on.”
In October 2017, Steele notes that he is concerned about the stories in the media about the bureau delivering information to Congress “about my work and relationship with them. Very concerned about this. People’s lives may be endangered.”
And in November 2017, Steele, who is trying to engage with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, writes to Ohr saying, “we were wondering if there was any response to the questions I raised last week.”
Ohr responds by saying, “I have passed on the questions (apparently to the special counsel) but haven’t gotten an answer yet.”
Steele then says, “I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC (special counsel) colleagues on the issues you kindly put to them from me. We have heard nothing from them either. To say this is disappointing would be an understatement! Certain people have been willing to risk everything to engage with them in an effort to help them reach the truth. Also, we remain in the dark as to what work has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/16/2018)
“In either late 2015 or early 2016, the IC inspector general, Chuck McCullough, sent Frank Rucker and Janette McMillan to meet with the FBI in order to detail the anomaly that had been uncovered. That meeting was attended by four individuals, including Strzok, then-Executive Assistant Director John Giacalone, and then-Section Chief Dean Chappell. The identity of the fourth individual remains unknown, though Moffa, who also met with the IG at various times, is a possible candidate. Charles Kable, who also met with the ICIG at several points, is another possible candidate.
Priestap testified that he had not been briefed on the Clinton server anomaly by Strzok, noting “this would have been a big deal.”
“I am not aware of any evidence that demonstrated that. I’m also not aware of any evidence that my team or anybody reporting to me on this had advised me that there were anomalies that couldn’t be accounted for. I don’t recall that,” he said.
Priestap’s admission that this was all new information to him, prompted an observation from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) that Strzok appeared to be exercising significant investigative control:
Mr. Meadows: “It sounds like Peter Strzok was kind of driving the train here. Would you agree with that?”
Mr. Priestap: “Peter and Jon, yeah.”
As Meadows noted during testimony, this matter still had to be officially “closed out” by the FBI before the official closing of the Clinton investigation. Strzok personally called the IC inspector general within minutes of Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference on the Clinton investigation, telling him that the FBI would be sending a “referral to close it out.”
Meadows seemed genuinely surprised that Strzok had apparently kept this information successfully hidden from Priestap, noting, “I’m a Member from North Carolina, and you’re saying that I have better intel than you do?” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
Blumenthal appears on MSNBC on May 13, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)
Sid Blumenthal is a Clinton confidant, reporter, and Clinton Foundation employee in the years Clinton is secretary of state. The interview will remain secret until it’s mentioned in a September 2016 FBI report.
The FBI identified at least 179 out of the over 800 emails that Blumenthal sent to Clinton containing information in an intelligence memo format. The State Department determined that 24 Blumenthal memos that contained information currently classified as “confidential,” as well as one classified as “secret” both currently and when it was sent.
Blumenthal tells the FBI that the content of the memos was provided to him from a number of different sources, including former US government officials and contacts, as well as contacts within foreign governments.
(In one email to Clinton, Blumenthal mentioned intelligence that he said came from an active US official, but apparently the FBI doesn’t ask him about this. The FBI report also will not mention emails in which Clinton sent Blumenthal classified information, despite him having no security clearance.)
Blumenthal’s memos contained a notation of “CONFIDENTIAL” in all capital letters. He claims this meant the memos were personal in nature and didn’t refer to the US government category of classified information at the “confidential” level.
The State Department’s inspector general Steve Linick issues a report claiming that the department “repeatedly provided inadequate and inaccurate responses to Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] requests involving top agency officials, including a misleading answer to a request three years ago seeking information on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use.”
Politico states the new report also points to “a series of failures in the procedures the office of the secretary used to respond to public records requests, including a lack of written policies and training, as well as inconsistent oversight by senior personnel.”
According to the report, “These procedural weaknesses, coupled with the lack of oversight by leadership and failure to routinely search emails, appear to contribute to inaccurate and incomplete responses.”
CREW’s Logo (Credit: CREW)
One important flawed department response was a letter sent to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in May 2013 after the organization asked for details on email accounts used by Clinton. State’s response to CREW was, “no records responsive to your request were located.” The report says the inspector general’s office “found evidence that [Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills] was informed of the request at the time it was received and subsequently tasked staff to follow up.” However, according to the report, none of those officials appear to have reviewed the results of the search done in the department’s files, and there was “no evidence” that those staffers who did the search and responded to CREW knew about Clinton’s private email setup. CREW followed up last year by saying it never received any final response to its FOIA request.
The AP Logo (Credit: The Associated Press)
Other flaws pointed out by the inspector general’s report include extreme delays in other cases, such as an Associated Press FOIA request for Clinton’s schedules that was pending without substantive response for five years.
Politico also filed a FOIA request for legal and ethics reviews of former President Bill Clinton’s paid speeches. That request was pending for four years before the department began producing records.
The Gawker Logo (Credit: Gawker Media)
Another failed response involved a Gawker request for emails that former Clinton adviser Philippe Reines exchanged with 34 news organizations. Politico reports “that request initially received a “no records” response from [the] State [Department], even though State has now found 81,000 potentially responsive emails in its official files. At a court hearing last month, a government lawyer would not concede that the no-records response was inadequate.” (Politico, 1/7/2016)
Matthew Axelrod (l), Andrew McCabe (c) and Sally Yates (Credit: public domain)
“Comey wrote in a January 7, 2017 email to FBI leadership that he told Trump that he was providing the briefing about the dossier because “media like CNN had [the dossier] and were looking for a news hook.”
“I said it was inflammatory stuff that they would get killed for reporting straight up from the source reports,” Comey continued.
On January 8, 2017 then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote to senior FBI leadership that “CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story … The trigger for them [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.”
McCabe, who was Lisa Page’s boss, also emailed then-deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and then-principal deputy Attorney General Matthew Axelrod, saying, “Just an FYI, and as expected, it seems CNN is close to running a story about the sensitive reporting.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 9/14/2018)
“Some of the information that passed through Hillary Clinton’s private email server was so sensitive that high-level officials examining the account had to get special security clearance before they could proceed with their probe, NBC’s Ken Dilanian reported on Tuesday.
That is according to an intelligence official familiar with the probe into the former secretary of state’s “homebrew” server, which is being led by the intelligence community’s inspector general, Charles McCullough.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also been looking into whether classified material was mishandled during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department from 2009 to 2013.
SAPs are designed to safeguard information deemed more sensitive than even “top secret.”
“The special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it before viewing the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails,” Dilanian reported.” (Read more: Business Insider, 1/21/2016)