September 20, 2016: New Essay! The Hidden Smoking Gun: the Combetta Cover-Up
Platte River Networks Logo (Credit: public domain)

Platte River Networks Logo (Credit: public domain)

Since April 2016, I’ve worked with a team of people to put together the most detailed timeline on the Clinton email controversy. With this in-depth knowledge of the issue, one recently revealed event stands out as the most important “smoking gun” so far that isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves: the deletion and wiping of Clinton’s emails in March 2015. This essay draws on the timeline to put together what is publicly known, revealing aspects that have been completely overlooked. The evidence points to destruction of evidence by people working for Hillary Clinton.

To understand the 2015 deletions, we have to start further back in time, in June 2013. Clinton had ended her four-year tenure as secretary of state earlier in 2013, and she hired the Platte River Networks (PRN) computer company to manage her private email server. This was a puzzling hire, to say the least, because PRN was based in Denver, Colorado, far from Clinton’s homes in New York and Washington, DC, and the company was so small that their office was actually an apartment in an ordinary apartment building with no security alarm system. The company wasn’t cleared to handle classified information, nobody in it had a security clearance, and it hadn’t even handled an important out-of-state contract before.

PRN assigned two employees to handle the Clinton account: Paul Combetta and Bill Thornton. In late June 2013, these two employees moved Clinton’s server from her house in Chappaqua, New York, to an Equinix data center in Secaucus, New Jersey. They removed all the data from the server, moved it to a new server, and then wiped the old server clean. Both the new and old server were kept running at the data center. At the same time, PRN subcontracted Datto, Inc., to back up the data on the new server. A Datto SIRIS S2000 was bought and connected to the server, functioning like an external hard drive to make periodic back-ups.

(Click here to read the rest of the essay!)

The Thompson Timeline is an ongoing project that will continually add and update all the timeline entries as new information is reported or discovered. You can always catch up on all the recently added entries right here!
(Credit Left: Saul Loeb / Agence France Presse / Getty Images) (Center: Mandel Ngan / Agence France Presse) (Right: Kevin Lamarque / The Associated Press)

(Credit Left: Saul Loeb / Agence France Presse / Getty Images) (Center: Mandel Ngan / Agence France Presse) (Right: Kevin Lamarque / The Associated Press)

Why should you care about Hillary Clinton’s email controversies enough to read detailed timelines about them? This essay is a good starting point: “Is Clinton’s Email Scandal for Real?

Also! Check out a two-hour interview of Paul Thompson by Mike Malloy and other news coverage of this timeline effort on the Press & Interviews page. Plus, we now have a page that contains just the most Recently Added Entries—and we’ve got a forum for discussing the timelines over at Jack Pine Radicals now as well.

This is a complicated story, and there’s no way it can be boiled down to a few thousand words. I first created the long timeline, which is now 80,000 words (1028 entries). But, realizing that’s too long for many people, I created a 45,000 word (548 entries) “medium” version and a 25,000 word (333 entries) “short” version. I think the short version is too short and I hope you’ll at least try the medium version. Furthermore, please don’t miss the Clinton Foundation timeline—which is 15,000 words (130 entries) long and is almost entirely different content than any version of the main timeline.

We’ll be replacing the subsequent homepage essay in the next few days; we know it’s outdated. (We’ve just been so busy keeping up with writing new timeline entries for the barrage of latest news items!)
—💙, the Thompson Timeline research team
(September 20, 2016)

Why I Made This Website

I’m a political liberal, and up until a few months ago, I would have gladly supported Hillary Clinton. I didn’t pay much attention to Clinton’s email controversy, and what I heard about it made me suspect that it was another Republican-led controversy that never amounted to much. However, I eventually heard enough concerning news stories about it to make me want to take a closer look. The more I learned, the more shocked and convinced I became that this was a very real and very serious issue.

During the last Bush administration, I was concerned about Islamist terrorism and especially the US government’s poor response to it, so I wrote a book called The Terror Timeline, published by Harper Collins in 2004. That book was a timeline covering 25 years of terrorist acts based on thousands of news stories from the mainstream media. I decided the Clinton email issue could best be understood through a timeline as well.

This is a complicated story. Is Clinton guilty of anything that could send her to prison? Most legal cases rely on large amounts of evidence. Imagine you’re on a jury trying to decide if Clinton is guilty of anything in this case—you’d need to look at a lot of evidence as well. So I’ve read thousands of news stories, picked the most important ones, and boiled them down to their most important points so that the reader doesn’t have to spend thousands of hours to understand all this.

I’m trying my hardest to be objective and summarize the news in neutral language without any personal spin. I’ve set this website up as a wiki so that other people can join the effort and make corrections and additions to aspects I’ve missed. I also have links to the source articles so you the reader can check that everything in the timeline is accurate and dig deeper if you want to. I’ve also tried hard to avoid using blatantly right-wing sources, to make clear this isn’t just right wing spin.

That said, my aim is to document what Clinton did wrong, not what she did right. This website is attempting to make the case that the email issue is a real issue where real crimes were committed. I believe the facts are so strong that simply laying them out in an organized manner makes the case without any spin or extra commentary. I don’t have a legal background and you may not either, so this is not about making a legal case on specific charges, but instead making a general case that serious wrongdoing occurred.

Since different people have different levels of free time and interest, I’ve created short, medium, and long versions of the main timeline. But I’ll warn you that even the short version is fairly long—about 20,000 words. I recommend you read at least the medium length version, because it’s a complicated case and the more you learn, the more compelling the evidence is. Furthermore, there’s a separate timeline just on the conflict of interest about the Clinton Foundation. I highly recommend you read that too. The content there is disturbing in and of itself, but it also helps explain why Clinton would have been motivated to keep all her emails totally private in the first place.

The Political Logic of This Website

I’m a political liberal and a registered Democratic voter. So I’m sure I’m going to get criticism from other Democrats for criticizing Hillary Clinton when she is leading the race for the 2016 presidential nomination. Furthermore, as a liberal, I’m very concerned about Donald Trump becoming president. That said, I believe facts are facts, and if the facts point to someone being guilty of serious crimes, we can’t simply bury our heads in the sand because that person has certain political beliefs or popularity.

During the last Bush administration, I made timelines about terrorism that were very critical of the Republicans then in power, but they were also sometimes critical of the previous Clinton administration, as well as prior administrations, Democratic and Republican. (My timelines then went back to the 1970s). I believe we have to follow the truth wherever it goes, regardless of political party. Criminal behavior is criminal behavior, period, and nobody should be exempt from criticism or punishment because of political power or belief. In fact, those at the top should be held to an even higher standard, because the idea of democracy is that we should be led by the best and the brightest.

That said, I certainly don’t want this timeline to help elect Trump. Clinton has her email controversy, but Trump have their big problems too. And the polls show it: Trump AND Clinton have the highest dislike numbers of any major presidential candidates since favorability numbers began to be polled in the 1970s. It’s bizarre that the two most disliked politicians of the last forty years at least are the ones winning the primaries so far. If you’re a Democrat like I am, and you’ve come to believe as I do that Clinton committed serious crimes with her email usage, then this presidential election could be a disaster.

Luckily, there still are other options. It is unprecedented to have a major presidential candidate with an FBI indictment recommendation hanging over her head in the middle of election season. The Democratic National Convention isn’t until the end of July 2016, and a lot could happen between now and then. It’s been reported that the FBI investigation is winding down and they want to make their decision whether or not to recommend the indictment of Clinton and/or her aides by the middle of May. That could be delayed two months and still happen before the convention.

So between now and late July, Democrats are going to have to decide whether Clinton’s scandal is serious enough to disqualify her to be the next president. If the evidence and the resulting political mood are strong enough, then either Clinton will have no choice but to drop out or the super delegates will switch their support to Bernie Sanders or someone else.

Consider John Edwards and his presidential run in 2008. During Democratic primary season, it came out that he’d impregnated another woman while his wife was sick with cancer. The story became public early in the primary season, and Edwards wasn’t the front-runner. Still, it would have been crazy to simply pretend that scandal didn’t exist and vote for him anyway. That’s what many were saying for several weeks, because the scandal first came out in the National Enquirer and people didn’t know what to believe. I think we’re at a similar stage now, because the facts about the email scandal exist and can’t be denied, but most people don’t know them yet, and more revelations are bound to come out.

This website is to help voters, especially Democratic voters, look at the raw evidence and decide for themselves if Clinton’s email controversy is “for real” or not. If it is, and enough people realize that, there’s plenty of time for the Democratic party to nominate someone else. Personally, I support Bernie Sanders, but if Clinton were to drop out, her delegates could nominate Joe Biden or someone else. It is not written in stone that Clinton has to win the nomination.

If, despite this issue, the Democratic convention goes ahead and nominates Clinton, then I may have to reassess what I want to do with this timeline in what I would consider a terrible, no-win situation. Besides, the Republican Party has vast resources far beyond what a few private citizens can do in their spare time (the Republican National Committee already has a fancy website about the email issue), and they’ll be pushing this issue hard regardless, probably even if Clinton isn’t the nominee. I’m trying to get the facts known before the general election, while it still would be far easier for the Democrats to switch to someone else.

In any case, the facts are the facts and Clinton’s winning politically won’t simply make them go away. This is likely to be a political issue for years to come as more evidence keeps coming out and more investigations, lawsuits, and legal processes keep moving forward. Any voter on the right or the left needs to understand this issue in order to make an informed decision on whom to support and by how much.

Appeal for Help

I have done vast majority of the work on this timeline so far, but I hope it will become more of a collaborative project going forward. That’s why we’re using WordPress, which allows for collaboration. If you’re interested in joining in to add or edit content, please contact me at the email address mentioned at the top of this page. I would especially appreciate people with the expertise to help analyze the legal ramifications, and also people who can help spread the word about the contents of these timelines to educate the general public. Any genuine help is appreciated, including help from people with different points of view interested in getting to the truth, but I also will attempt to weed out disruptors and saboteurs.

About the Author

Paul Thompson

Paul is the author of The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: a Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11—and America’s Response, published by Harper Collins (2004), a compilation of over 5000 reports and articles concerning the September 11, 2001 attacks. Paul’s research has garnered over 100 radio interviews, along with TV appearances of Fox News and Air America. Paul has been featured in The Village Voice and Esquire Magazine’s “Genius Issue.” The Terror Timeline was used as a course text in Richard Clarke’s “Terrorism, Security, and Intelligence” course at Harvard University. In 2005, he was asked to speak at a congressional briefing on the 9/11 Commission’s final report. Paul was born in Pacific Beach, California, and spends his time there and in New Zealand. He holds a degree in psychology from Stanford University and has worked in the past as an environmental activist at an environmental-protection firm. He now works as a freelance researcher. Paul is a progressive Democrat.