Around January 12, 2010: Clinton and her aides allegedly demonstrate lax communication security while in Hawaii.

Clinton speaks on her Blackberry in the lobby of a Honolulu hotel on January 13, 2010. (Credit: Mandel NGAN / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

Clinton speaks on her Blackberry in the lobby of a Honolulu hotel on January 13, 2010. (Credit: Mandel NGAN / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

Bill Johnson, the State Department’s political adviser to the special operations section of the US Pacific Command (PACOM), will later claim that he is present in Honolulu, Hawaii, while Clinton comes to visit. During her trip, news breaks of a large earthquake in Haiti, which takes place on January 12, 2010.

Clinton goes to a security communications facility in the basement of PACOM headquarters to help organize a humanitarian response to the earthquake. She wants to communicate with her top staff back at State Department headquarters in Washington, DC, but she and her aides are not allowed to bring their cell phones into PACOM headquarters because they are using unsecured, personal devices. They ask Johnson for an exception to the rules, but he refuses, citing alarms and lockdowns that would be automatically triggered if anyone brought an unauthorized signal-emitting unit into the building.

So instead, according to Johnson, “She had her aides go out, retrieve their phones, and call [State Department headquarters] from outside,” using open, unsecure lines. “It was really an eye-opener to watch them stand outside using nonsecure comms [communications] and then bring messages to the secretary so she could then conduct a secure [call] with the military” and the State Department. (Newsweek, 5/25/2016)

February 10, 2010: Clinton encourages an aide to email a document on a classified network.

Jake Sullivan (Credit: Charles Dharapak / The Associated Press)

Jake Sullivan (Credit: Charles Dharapak / The Associated Press)

Clinton emails her aide Jake Sullivan that she wants to read a statement regarding Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS). Sullivan emails back that he can’t send it to her immediately because the State Department has put it on the classified network. Clinton quickly replies, “It’s a public statement! Just email it.” However, Sullivan responds, “Trust me, I share your exasperation, But until ops [operations] converts it to the unclassified email system, there is no physical way for me to email it. I can’t even access it.” (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

February 27, 2010: An emails shows that Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin are aware of Clinton’s private server, and a Bill Clinton aide has an email account on it.

Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin sends an email to Justin Cooper, an aide to Bill Clinton. She forwards a message from Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills to Clinton that had bounced, and asks Cooper, “HRC [Clinton] email coming back—is server okay?”

He replies, “UR [You are] funny. We are on the same server.” His reply goes to Mills as well as Abedin, indicating that both of them are aware of the existence of Clinton’s private server.

Cooper’s email domain will be redacted when this email is released in 2016, but his comment indicates his email is on the clintonemail.com domain, the same as Clinton’s. (Abedin has an email account on that domain too, but she sends this email from her State Department state.gov account.) (US Department of State, 6/20/2016) 

Cooper is not a government employee and apparently has no security clearance, but other reports indicate he helps Bryan Pagliano manage Clinton’s server.

March 20, 2010: Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, apparently loses her personal BlackBerry.

In an email to State Department IT [Information Technology] staffer Bryan Pagliano, Mills writes, “Somewhere [between] my house and the plane to NYC yesterday my personal BB got misplaced; no one is answering it though I have called.” Mills uses both a personal and a government-issued BlackBerry, and it is her personal BlackBerry that gets lost. However, details in released emails show that Mills sometimes sent and received work-related emails from her personal BlackBerry, including emails that were retroactively classified. It is unclear if Mills ever finds her BlackBerry after losing it. (The Daily Caller, 1/26/2016) (US Department of State, 1/15/2016) 

A New York Observer article will later comment that Mills “was using her personal BlackBerry for work, including the transmission of classified email. That alone is a crime. Then, in a move worthy of a dark comedy, [she] proceeded to lose that BlackBerry. This would be a career-ender, at best, for any normal US government employee. [But she] suffered no penalties of any kind for this astonishing security lapse.” (The New York Observer, 1/28/2016)

April 24, 2010: A Blumenthal email appears to reveal details of a US criminal investigation in Kyrgyzstan and will later be classified at the “secret” level.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Bob Blake (Credit: The Hundu)

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Bob Blake (Credit: The Hundu)

Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton an email with the subject heading: “Kyrgyzstan Update.” He also marks it “Confidential.” It starts with [redacted] “my friend with deep contacts in Kyrgyzstan and who testified this week on the latest developments there before the House Oversight Committee, has sent me a memo containing important new information and including some recommendations.”

Three pages of analysis from this friend about recent developments in Kyrgyzstan follow, and virtually all of it will be later unredacted. However, there is a section with the title “Criminal Investigation Targeting” [redacted]. That section is later redacted due to four classification codes, including “foreign relations or foreign activities of the US including confidential sources,” and information that could “disclose investigative techniques.” Due to this section, the email will later be classified at the “secret” level, the level below “top secret.”

Clinton sends three emails in response. One is to Blumenthal, thanking him and his friend. Another is to an aide to print the email. A third email goes to Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Bob Blake and two others, asking for their assessment.

All of these emails are later deemed “secret” as well, since they contain Blumenthal’s original email. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016) (US Department of State, 2/29/2016(US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

May 21, 2010—October 21, 2010: Computer records suggest Clinton’s private server could be located at the Clinton Foundation’s headquarters.

The result of an IP location look up of where Clinton's private server was in mid-2010 appears to indicate the middle of Manhattan, New York. (Credit: IP Finder / Google Maps)

The result of an IP location look up of where Clinton’s private server was in mid-2010 appears to indicate the middle of Manhattan, New York. (Credit: IP Finder / Google Maps)

According to publicly available computer records, the IP [Internet Protocol] address for the mail.presidentclinton.com server is 24.187.234.187 from at least 2009 to 2011. Records also show that mail.clintonemail.com server has the same exact IP address, 24.187.234.187, from at least May 21, 2010 to October 21, 2010. That means the two servers must have been in the same location for that overlapping time period.

Computer records can also indicate where the IP addresses are physically located, and that IP address at that time is somewhere in the middle of Manhattan, New York City. That makes sense for presidentclinton.com, since former President Bill Clinton’s offices are there, and the Clinton Foundation headquarters is also there. But that would suggest that Hillary Clinton’s clintonemail.com server used for all her secretary of state work is also based in Manhattan and not Chappaqua, New York, for at least part of 2010. (DNS History, 9/7/2015) (DNS History, 9/7/2015) (IP Tracker, 9/3/2015)

Around Mid-2010 and After: After contacting a Secret Service agent about frequent hacking attacks on Clinton’s server, the managers of the server apparently never contact anyone else from other government departments for help.

Justin Cooper (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Justin Cooper (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

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)

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.

The number of hacking attacks steadily grows through the rest of Clinton’s time in office. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Around Mid-2010 to January 2013: “Brute force” hacking attempts on Clinton’s private server begin and steadily increase, but it is unknown if any are successful.

Blake Farenthold (Credit: Bill Clark / Congressional Quarterly Roll Call)

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)

July 10, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton mentions the name of a secret Defense Department official.

Carlos Pascual (Credit: The Associated Press)

Carlos Pascual (Credit: The Associated Press)

Carlos Pascual, a State Department official based in Mexico City, writes an email meant to be passed to Clinton discussing US government assistance to Mexico after Hurricane Alex. The subject heading and more text in the email will later be redacted with a code indicating the mention of a name of a secret Defense Department official. The message is forwarded to email, but there’s no apparent reply from her. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

July 24, 2010: Clinton may start accessing the Internet at her Washington home using an unsecure, typical Wi-Fi connection.

Philippe Reines (Credit: Washington Post)

Philippe Reines (Credit: Washington Post)

Clinton and Philippe Reines have an email chain about Clinton’s new iPad. Reines is Clinton’s press secretary and a senior advisor. It is a Saturday and apparently Clinton is at her home in Washington, DC, and trying to get her new iPad to work. She cannot connect to the Internet with it, so she asks Reines, “I don’t know if I have wi-fi. How do I find out?” (Wi-Fi technology allows one to connect to the Internet using a wireless local area network.)

Reines responds, “Let me talk to Justin & Huma to check out the situation, and if there is wi-fi I’m happy to swing by and set it up.” “Justin” is a likely reference to Clinton aide Justin Cooper, who registered Clinton’s private server in her Chappaqua, New York, house, and “Huma” is a likely reference to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin. (US Department of State, 11/30/2015) 

It is not known what happens, but it appears Reines is prepared to enable Clinton to regularly use her iPad at her home using a typical Wi-Fi network, without any extra security measures. Clinton begins using her iPad for her emails the next day, while continuing to use her BlackBerry. (US Department of State, 8/31/2015)

July 25, 2010: Clinton begins using an iPad for work, as well as continuing to use her BlackBerry.

Clinton poses with an iPad during a book signing event on June 17, 2014. (Credit: The Associated Press)

Clinton poses with an iPad during a book signing event on June 17, 2014. (Credit: The Associated Press)

An email exchange shows her iPad has recently arrived, and she is excited to learn how to use it. An account on her official website in 2015 will say, “When the iPad came out in 2010, she was as curious as others and found it great for shopping, browsing, and reading articles when she traveled. She also had access to her email account on her iPad and sometimes used it for that too.” (Hillaryclinton.com, 7/13/2015) (US Department of State, 8/31/2015)

July 25, 2010: Clinton invites a US diplomat to discuss communications with foreign ministers with her using her private email address.

100725Montage

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (top left) (Credit: European Press Agency), Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (top right) (Credit: Greek Reporter), Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos (lower left) (Credit: 525-gi gazet), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (lower right) (Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Clinton writes an email to former senator George J. Mitchell (D), who is the US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace at the time. The subject heading is “Here’s my personal email,” and the entire message is “Pls [Please] use this for reply–HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton].” (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) 

Mitchell replies, “I talked with Frattini again and went over the point again. He said he understands and agrees.” The rest of his email is later redacted because it contains “foreign government information.” “Frattini” is a likely reference to Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

Clinton replies, “I told Papandreou the same.” “Papandreou” is a likely reference to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) 

Mitchell then discusses communicating with “Moratinos,” a likely reference to Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

Clinton replies by mentioning a plan to call “Ashton,” a likely reference to the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and “Bibi,” the nickname of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) 

It is not clear why Clinton invites Mitchell to discuss such high-level diplomatic communications via her unsecure personal email address. In 2015, J. William Leonard, former director of the US Information Security Oversight Office, will make the general comment, “If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by US rules that is classified at the moment it’s in US channels and US possession. […] It’s born classified.” (Reuters, 8/21/2015)

August 23, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton apparently reveals an aide to the leader of Afghanistan is being paid by the CIA.

Dexter Filkins (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Dexter Filkins (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

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)

The article will be published in the Times two days later, on August 25, 2010. (The New York Times, 8/25/2010)

Matt Lussenhop (Credit: public domain)

Matt Lussenhop (Credit: public domain)

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.

 

September 12, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton apparently reveals the names and emails of four secret CIA officials.

Judith McHale (Credit: public domain)

Judith McHale (Credit: public domain)

State Department official Mary Sanderson emails over a dozen other officials some analysis about Turkey from the department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). State Department official Judith McHale forwards the email to Clinton and a couple of her aides. Nothing in the analysis will later be deemed classified, but it appears four other recipients of Sanderson’s email are secret CIA officials. (US Department of State, 9/12/2010)

November 2010: Clinton writes she doesn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible” in her emails, contradicting her later claim that her main concern is “convenience.”

The seventeen words that merited a headline by the New Yorker: "Let's get separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible." (Credit: The New Yorker)

The seventeen words that merited a headline by the New Yorker: “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.” (Credit: The New Yorker)

Clinton and her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, discuss the fact that Clinton’s emails to other State Department employees are sometimes not being received. Apparently, they are getting discarded as spam because they are coming from an unofficial address.

Abedin tells Clinton in an email that “we should talk about putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam.”

In response, Clinton writes, “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.” (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)

In 2016, the New Yorker Magazine will comment that Clinton’s “personal being accessible” comment “seem[s] to confirm what many observers have suspected from the outset: Clinton’s main motive in setting up the email system wasn’t to make it easier for her to receive all her messages in one place, or to do all her business on her beloved BlackBerry; it was to protect some of her correspondence—particularly correspondence she considered private—from freedom-of-information requests and other demands for details, for example, from Republican-run congressional committees.” (The New Yorker, 5/26/2016)

These emails between Clinton and Abedin will not be included in the 30,000 work-related emails that Clinton turns over to the State Department in December 2014, even though they clearly discuss work matters. The State Department will later discover them through other means, most likely from Abedin’s email inbox. (The Associated Press, 5/26/2016)

November 26, 2010: Clinton will have no explanation why a work-related email sent this day won’t be included in all the work-related emails she will later hand over.

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.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures as she delivers a statement about WikiLeaks lead at the State Department in Washington November 29, 2010.REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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)

November 28, 2010: WikiLeaks releases over 250,000 State Department cables, but Clinton does not change her unsecure communication methods.

Mark Penn (Credit: PR News)

Mark Penn (Credit: PR News)

WikiLeaks, working with several major media outlets, begins publicly releasing over 250,000 diplomatic cables between the State Department and US embassies around the world. The cables date from 1966 to February 2010. None of the cables are classified at a level higher than “confidential,” the lowest classification level.

Clinton responds with the public comment, “This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests, it is an attack on the international community: the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity. […] It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.” (USA Today, 11/29/2010) (The New York Times, 11/28/2010) 

Mark Penn, Clinton’s chief strategist for her 2008 presidential campaign, sends Clinton an email in which he recommends, “I think you need to order a full scale review and upgrading of the cyber security of the State Department immediately.” (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) 

However, despite this being the largest breach of State Department classified information in history, Clinton doesn’t change her personal communication methods, and continues to use an unsecured BlackBerry and an unsecured private email server. It is unknown if the State Department changes its cybersecurity as a whole, and if so, how.

December 22, 2010: Clinton is told a new rule that all work emails must be preserved.

The National Archives building in Washington, DC. (Credit: public domain)

The National Archives building in Washington, DC. (Credit: public domain)

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issues guidelines to the heads of all federal agencies, including Secretary of State Clinton, stating that all emails and email attachments relating to government business are considered records to be preserved under the Federal Records Act. (The Wall Street Journal, 9/30/2015)

Late 2010: A State Department official falsely claims Clinton’s computer system has legal approval and warns staffers never to speak of the issue again.

John Bentel (Credit: public domain)

John Bentel (Credit: public domain)

Two members of Clinton’s senior executive staff will later claim they discussed their concerns about Clinton’s use of a personal email address, each in a separate meeting with John Bentel, the director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat for Information Resource Management.

In one of those meetings, Bentel says that Clinton’s personal communication system has been reviewed and approved by the department’s legal staff and that the matter is not to be discussed any further. However, a later State Department inspector general investigation will find no evidence that any department lawyers ever make such a review.

The other staff member who raised concerns about the server is told by Bentel that the mission of his office is to support Clinton and, in the words of a May 2016 inspector general report, “instruct[s] the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”

Bentel will later claim he has no memory of any of these issues and will refused to be interviewed by any investigators. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) (Yahoo News, 5/25/2016)

2011: One of Clinton’s “top secret” email chains begins with an email written by Clinton.

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)

2011: One of Clinton’s “top secret” email chains includes three emails written by Clinton.

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)

2011: One of Clinton’s “top secret” email chains includes one email written by Clinton.

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)

2011: One of Clinton’s “top secret” email chains includes two emails written by Clinton.

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)

2011: One of Clinton’s “top secret” email chains ends with an email sent by Jake Sullivan to Clinton.

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)

2011: Clinton misses a cybersecurity presentation meant just for her.

Julia Frifield (Credit: The Department of State Archives)

Julia Frifield (Credit: The Department of State Archives)

State Department diplomatic security staff give a cybersecurity PowerPoint presentation meant for Clinton. However, she doesn’t attend it. According to a 2016 letter by Julia Frifield, the department’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, “although the PowerPoint indicates the briefing was for former Secretary Clinton, we understand from the testimony of the briefers that she was not in attendance.” The PowerPoint presentation has not yet been declassified so it can be publicly released. (US Senate Judiciary Committee, 3/3/2016)

2011: A “top secret” Clinton email contains intelligence from CIA sources and US spy satellites

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency logo. (Credit: public domain)

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency logo. (Credit: public domain)

Very little is known about Clinton’s 22 emails that are later deemed “top secret,” since all details about them have remained classified. However, it is known that one of them is sent sometime this year. A few details about just this one email are known because it will be included in a random selection of 40 emails that will get reviewed by State Department Inspector General Steve Linick in 2015.

After Linick decides the email should be top secret, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will perform a second review and confirm that the email should be top secret. That indicates the email contains information obtained from both CIA sources and US spy satellites. (The New York Times, 9/7/2015) (The New York Times, 2/29/2016)

January 9, 2011–January 10, 2011: Clinton’s private server is shut down after an apparent hacking attack.

Kim Jong Il (front right) posing with Bill Clinton (front left) and his delegation, Justin Cooper (back left), John Podesta (back center), Doug Band (back right), in Pyongyang on August 4, 2009, to secure the release of detained American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling. (Credit: Lee Jin-man / The Associated Press)

Kim Jong Il (front right) posing with Bill Clinton (front left) and his delegation, Justin Cooper (back left), John Podesta (back center), Doug Band (back right), in Pyongyang on August 4, 2009, to secure the release of detained American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling. (Credit: Lee Jin-man / The Associated Press)

Justin Cooper is a former advisor to President Clinton who provides technical support to Clinton’s private email server. On January 9, 2011, he emails Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, that “he had to shut down the server” because he believes “someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in I didn’t want to let them have the chance to.”

Later in the day, Cooper emails Abedin to warn her, “We were attacked again so I shut [the server] down for a few min [minutes].”

On January 10, Abedin emails Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and another Clinton aide and tells them not to email “anything sensitive” to Clinton, and says she can “explain more in person.”

Department policy requires employees to report suspicious cybersecurity incidents to security officials. However, a 2016 State Department inspector general’s investigative report will find no evidence that Clinton or her staff reported this incident to anyone else within the department. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)

January 21, 2011–January 22, 2011: Two emails about the Iran nuclear program are sent to Clinton.

Jake Sullivan (Credit: The Associated Press)

Jake Sullivan (Credit: The Associated Press)

Her aide Jake Sullivan sends the emails which appear to include a summary of secret talks conducted by the “P5 1,” the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. The subject line of the first email is “FW: Summary of Day One of Istanbul P5 1 talks,” and the second contains a summary of day two.

The emails will be published in 2015, but in heavily redacted form. The New York Times will later report, “State Department officials appear to have concluded that those details about conversations among foreign officials should have been classified as ‘secret’ at the time they were sent.” “Secret” is the medium level of classification, below “top secret.” (The New York Times, 9/30/2015) (The New York Times, 9/30/2015) (US Department of State, 12/31/2015)

March 9, 2011: Clinton asks an aide to print a Blumenthal email without any identifiers.

Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton an email with the subject line, “H: Serious problems for Libyan Rebels. Sid.” Blumenthal is a journalist and Clinton Foundation employee who frequently sends intelligence emails to Clinton, despite being a private citizen with no security clearance. Clinton forwards the email to her top aide Huma Abedin and asks her to print it out. But she also asks, “Can you print for me w/o any identifiers?” Abedin replies “Yes.” (The New York Times, 6/29/2015)

March 11, 2011: A State Department security official warns Clinton and others to minimize the use of personal email accounts due to “spear phishing” attacks.

Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell sends a memo to Clinton and other top State Department officials with the subject: “Compromise of Officials’ Personal Email Accounts.”

110311boswell_memo

A sample of Eric Boswell’s memo to Clinton that is titled “Compromise of Officials’ Personal Email Accounts.” (Credit: public domain)

It states, “Threat analysis by the DS [Diplomatic Security] cyber security team and related incident reports indicate a dramatic increase since January 2011 in attempts by”—the next phrase is later redacted on the grounds of containing “foreign government information”—“to compromise the private home email accounts of senior Department officials. … Specifically, the actors are sending cleverly forged emails to victims’ private web-based accounts (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo). These ‘spear phishing’ messages appear to be sent by US government officials but are designed to trick recipients into activating embedded malicious code by clicking on an attachment or link. Although the targets are unclassified, personal email accounts, the likely objective is to compromise user accounts and thereby gain access to policy documents and personal information that could enable technical surveillance and possibly blackmail.”

Boswell concludes, “We urge Department users to minimize the use of personal web email for business, as some compromised home systems have been reconfigured by these actors to automatically forward copies of all composed emails to an undisclosed recipient.” (US Department of State, 11/5/2015

Between May and July 2011, Clinton will get three emails that seems to perfectly fit Boswell’s warning. Despite this, Clinton continues to exclusively use a private email address for all her work and personal emails. (US Department of State, 10/30/2015) (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)

March 11, 2011: Clinton doesn’t think two emails from a former British prime minister should be flagged for classified content.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Credit: David Levene / The Guardian)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Credit: David Levene / The Guardian)

Clinton emails her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and tells her to print out two recent emails from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Both Clinton and Abedin are using private email accounts on Clinton’s server. The emails are CCed to Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who also is using a private email account. Nearly all of the content of Blair’s messages is later redacted, due to containing “Foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the US, including confidential sources.” (Judicial Watch, 1/29/2016) At the time, Blair is the official Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU, and he is heavily involved in Middle Eastern peace negotiations. (BBC, 5/27/2015)

March 18, 2011: Blumenthal’s intelligence to Clinton is coming from at least one active CIA official.

Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton an email which states, “Tyler spoke to a colleague currently at CIA, who told him the agency had been dependent for intelligence from [redacted].” “Tyler” is Tyler Drumheller, a CIA operative until 2005. (Yahoo, 10/8/2015) Blumenthal sent Clinton hundreds of intelligence updates which appear to be based on information from Drumheller. It’s unclear where Drumheller got his information from, but this email suggests Drumheller was getting information from at least one unnamed active CIA agent.

April and May 2011: Clinton and her top aides are warned again to minimize the use of personal emails for business due to hacker attacks.

In March 2011, State Department security officials warned Clinton and other senior officials that there was a “dramatic increase” in hacker attacks specifically targeting senior US officials. It concluded, “We urge department users to minimize the use of personal web email for business.”

This is followed by a cybersecurity briefing in April 2011 and then another one in May. Clinton’s immediate staff and other top officials attend the briefings, but it is not clear if Clinton herself does. However, after Clinton ends her term in 2013, a copy of a classified presentation used during one of the briefings will be found in her papers. It contains warnings similar to the March 2011 warning. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)

April 3, 2011: Clinton’s comments about a Libyan defector will later be deemed “secret.”

Moussa Koussa (Credit: PA)

Moussa Koussa (Credit: PA)

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan sends Clinton a forward of a Reuters article explaining how former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa has just defected to Britain and will be talking to British intelligence. The article will not be redacted later, but all of the extensive comments by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will be. Then Clinton adds three lines of commentary that also will be totally redacted. Her email will later be deemed “secret,” which is the middle level of classification. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

April 5, 2011: Clinton forwards Blumenthal’s unvetted intelligence to the White House after removing his name.

Clinton at a Libya conference in London, Britain, on March 29, 2011. (Credit: WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Clinton at a Libya conference in London, Britain, on March 29, 2011. (Credit: WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Even though Blumenthal is a private citizen with no security clearance, Clinton asks her aide Jake Sullivan, “This is informative. Should we pass on (unidentified) to WH / or other agencies?” (“WH” stands for “White House.”)

Sullivan replies, “Yes, I will do so. Very interesting.”

Politico will later note that Clinton referred to Blumenthal as “(unidentified)” because “The White House barred Clinton from bringing Blumenthal to [The State Department] because of sharp words he used to attack Obama during the 2008 primary.” (Politico, 2/29/2016)

April 10, 2011: An email to Clinton mentions the name of a secret Defense Department official.

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan sends Clinton a three-page email that will later be entirely redacted except for one line that appears to summarize the contents: “Sharpening the Aims and Execution of the Coalition Mission in Libya.”

The sole line prior to this one will later be redacted according to a classification code indicating it reveals the name of a secret official working for the Defense Department. Clinton apparently does not send a reply. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

April 10, 2011: An email forwarded to Clinton appears to contain the most recent US military intelligence, which should have been classified.

US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. He dies from smoke asphyxiation on September 11, 2012, due to a terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. (Credit: Reuters)

US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. He dies from smoke asphyxiation on September 11, 2012, due to a terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. (Credit: Reuters)

The email discusses the current security situation in Libya. It says that due to violence in the town of Ajdabiyah, US Special Envoy Christopher Stevens “is considering departure from Benghazi.” It also discusses Stevens’ concerns about departing and it details the “phased checkout” of Stevens’ staff from the area, possibly in a few hours. Additionally, it contains the latest secret intelligence from AFRICOM (US Africa Command, the US military in Africa), detailing nearby troop movements in the Libyan civil war that could threaten Stevens and his staff. Tim Davis, a special assistant to Clinton, writes the email and then sends it to Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who forwards it to Clinton. Davis marks it “SBU,” which means “sensitive but unclassified.” The email will be released to the public in full on May 13, 2015.

However, the State Department’s inspector general will later conclude that the email should not have been made public without redactions. Furthermore, in August 2015, an unnamed government official familiar with the investigation into Clinton’s emails will tell CBS News that at least the part of the email containing current military intelligence should have been marked classified at the time. Additionally, because that information originated from the military, the State Department did not have the right to declassify it at the time it was sent or later. The unnamed official will say that this kind of mistake is not unusual for State Department officials when they discuss information from multiple sources, but the difference is that this email is stored on Clinton’s private server, which can be easily hacked or monitored. (CBS News, 8/19/2015) (US Department of State, 5/13/2015

In 2015, Fox News will claim that the email contained intelligence from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which oversees satellite imagery. Furthermore, “all three agencies confirmed to the intelligence community inspector general that the intelligence was classified when it was sent four years ago by Abedin to Clinton’s private account, and remains classified to this day.” (Fox News, 8/26/2015) Even though the email will be made public in full in May 2015, it will be reclassified as “secret” in September 2015. “Secret” is the medium level of classification, below “top secret.” (The New York Times, 9/30/2015)

April 26, 2011: An email forwarded to Clinton includes the name and email address of a secret CIA official who might be in Libya.

Christina Tomlinson (Credit: Linked In)

Christina Tomlinson (Credit: Linked In)

State Department official Christina Tomlinson writes an email about a recent traffic accident involving US Special Envoy Christopher Stephens in Libya that killed four Libyan civilians. The email is sent to over 20 other US officials; most of them appear to have jobs related to the US military effort in the on-going Libyan civil war. The name and email address of one recipient will later be redacted due to that person being a secret CIA official. Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills forwards the email to Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

May 13–14, 2011: Clinton appears to be the target of two hacking attacks, but fails to notify security about them.

William Joseph Burns (Credit: Carenegie Endowment for International Peace)

William Burns (Credit: Carenegie Endowment for International Peace)

Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin sends an email to another close Clinton staffer discuss Clinton’s concern that someone has been “hacking into her email” after she received an email with a suspicious link to a website with pornographic material.

The FBI will later report, “There is no additional information as to why Clinton was concerned about someone hacking into her email account or if the specific link referenced by Abedin was used as a vector to infect Clinton’s device…”

Several hours later, Clinton receives an email from the personal account of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns that also has a link to a suspect website.

The next day, Clinton emails Burns: “Is this really from you? I was worried about opening it!” Department policy requires employees to report suspicious cybersecurity incidents to security officials. However, a 2016 State Department inspector general’s investigative report will find no evidence that Clinton or her staff reports this incident to anyone else within the department. It is unknown if either hacking attack is successful, since the incidents were not investigated at the time. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

The FBI will later be unable to determine if Clinton ever opened the attachment. But “Open source information indicated, if opened, the targeted user’s device may have been infected, and information would have been sent to at least three computers overseas, including one in Russia.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

In March 2011, a State Department security official warned Clinton and others that there was a dramatic increase in attempts “to compromise the private home email accounts of senior Department officials. […] Specifically, the actors are sending cleverly forged emails to victims’ private web-based accounts… These ‘spear phishing’ messages appear to be sent by US government officials but are designed to trick recipients into activating embedded malicious code by clicking on an attachment or link. […] We urge Department users to minimize the use of personal web email for business…” (US Department of State, 11/5/2015) Despite such warnings and incidents, Clinton continues to exclusively use a private email address for all her work and personal emails.

May 15, 2011: Senator John Kerry’s email to Clinton with classified details about a recent meeting he had with two Pakistani generals.

Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (right) and ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha in June 2011. (Credit: The Hindu)

Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (right) and ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha in June 2011. (Credit: The Hindu)

Mere hours earlier, Kerry (D) met with Director General Ahmad Pasha, who is head of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, and Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Kayani, who is the head of Pakistan’s military. Kerry writes, “During a long dinner with [the generals] to discuss the major issues between our two countries and in the region, I specifically sought their views.” But almost all of the rest of his 17-page email will later be redacted, and will be deemed “secret,” the middle classification ranking.

Politico will later comment that this email plus two others could be “awkward” for Kerry, because “reports he sent Clinton about his diplomacy in Pakistan wound up in her private email account, which was not authorized to hold classified information.” (Politico, 2/29/2016)

May 16, 2011: Could “secret” emails to Clinton be related to Pakistan’s knowledge of bin Laden’s location?

Former US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter (Credit: The Express Tribune)

Former US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter (Credit: The Express Tribune)

On May 15, 2011, Senator John Kerry (D) emailed Clinton with details about a recent meeting he had with Pakistani generals Ahmad Pasha and Ashfaq Kayani, and his email will later be deemed “secret,” the middle level of classification. The next day, Clinton aide Jake Sullivan emails Clinton with the comment: “Cameron called me, hysterical, —” The rest of the sentence is redacted, then Sullivan adds, “This is likely what Kerry is calling about.” Clinton replies to Sullivan, “Can you get me facts (such as they are) before I talk [with] Kerry?” These two emails will also later be deemed “secret,” due to the redaction in Sullivan’s brief comment. (US Department of State, 2/13/2016)

It is not known who Cameron is. However, at the time, the US ambassador to Pakistan is Cameron Munter. (The Asia Times, 5/11/2012) Intriguingly, Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, just two weeks earlier. Furthermore, in 2014, an article in the New York Times will claim that the US had direct evidence that Pasha, who is also head of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, knew of Bin Laden’s presence there. The information is said to come from a “senior United States official.” (The New York Times, 3/19/2014)

In 2015, famed journalist Seymour Hersh will similarly claim that both Pasha and Kayani had been told of the planned US attack on bin Laden well in advance, and once they realized the US was going to kill him no matter what, they helped make sure the attack would succeed. (London Review of Books, 5/21/2015)