Early September 2015—September 17, 2015: The company that manages Clinton’s server won’t let Congressional investigators interview its employees.

Ken Eichner is rated as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Denver, CO. (Credit: public domain)

Ken Eichner (Credit: public domain)

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 early September 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)

September 2015: Employees at the company managing Clinton’s server are interviewed by the FBI.

Andy Boian (Credit: public domain)

Andy Boian (Credit: public domain)

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)

September 2, 2015: It is widely believed foreign governments have intercepted Clinton’s emails.

The Daily Beast reports on Clinton’s email scandal, “There’s a widely held belief among American counterspies that foreign intelligence agencies had to be reading the emails on Hillary’s private server, particularly since it was wholly unencrypted for months. ‘I’d fire my staff if they weren’t getting all this,’ explained one veteran Department of Defense counterintelligence official, adding: ‘I’d hate to be the guy in Moscow or Beijing right now who had to explain why they didn’t have all of Hillary’s email.’ Given the widespread hacking that has plagued the State Department, the Pentagon, and even the White House during Obama’s presidency, senior counterintelligence officials are assuming the worst about what the Russians and Chinese know.”

An unnamed senior official who is “close to the investigation” says, “Of course they knew what they were doing, it’s as clear as day from the emails. I’m a Democrat and this makes me sick. They were fully aware of what they were up to, and the Bureau knows it.” (The Daily Beast, 9/2/2015)

September 3, 2015: A Clinton advisor speculates that Bryan Pagliano wants to plead the Fifth because he “retrieved all our emails” for someone, possibly a Clinton Foundation official.

Maura Pally (Credit: Sylvain Gaboury / Patrick McMullan)

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)

The FBI’s summary of Pagliano’s December 2015 interview will make no mention of anything like this. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)

Perhaps that is because the email will not be publicly known until it is released by WikiLeaks in November 2016.

September 5, 2015: Clinton publicly encourages cooperation with Congressional investigators, but doesn’t actually always do so.

Clinton appears in Portsmouth, NH with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for a campaign rally on September 5, 2015. (Credit: Cheryl Senter / The Associated Press)

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)

September 10, 2015: Clinton’s computer technician refuses to testify to Congressional investigators.

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: Bloomberg News / Getty Images)

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: Bloomberg News / Getty Images)

Clinton’s former private server manager Bryan Pagliano invokes his Fifth Amendment rights and refuses to speak in a private meeting before the House Benghazi Committee. (The Wall Street Journal, 9/30/2015)  His unwillingness to cooperate was first reported on September 2, 2015. (The New York Times, 9/2/2015)

Pagliano begins secretly cooperating with the FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails in the fall of 2015, though it’s not clear if it is before or after this meeting. He describes how he set up the private server in Clinton’s house and gives the FBI the server’s security logs. (The New York Times, 3/3/2016)

September 12, 2015: The company that recently managed Clinton’s email server say they have “no knowledge of the server being wiped.”

Platte River Networks (PRN) managed her server from mid-2013 to early August 2015. PRN spokesperson Andy Boian says, “Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped.” He adds, “All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.” The Washington Post says this is “the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of emails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered.”

If a server is not wiped, which is a process that include overwriting data several times, deleted content can often be recovered. Clinton and her staff have avoided answering if the server was wiped or not. (The Washington Post, 9/12/2015)

However, a 2016 FBI report will conclude that in late March 2015, a PRN employee named Paul Combetta used a computer program named BleachBit that effectively deleted Clinton’s emails so they couldn’t be later recovered by the FBI. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

September 22, 2015: Clinton’s emails were improperly secured up until August 2015.

After it became clear by May 2015 that some of Clinton’s emails contained classified information, the security of the email copies possessed by Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall became an issue. In July 2015, State Department officials installed a special safe in Kendall’s office to store them.
However, on this day, Assistant Secretary of State Julia Frifield writes to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R) that “while the safe was suitable for up to (top secret) information, it was not approved for TS/SCI material.” “TS/SCI” stands for “top secret, sensitive compartmented information.” Top secret information and above, such as TS/SCI, must be kept in a specially built secure room known as a SCIF [sensitive compartmented information facility]. Frifield argues that no one in the department knew Clinton’s emails contained such highly classified information.
The issue was resolved in August 2015 when the FBI took away Kendall’s copies of the emails. (The Associated Press, 9/28/2015)

September 22, 2015: Reports suggest the FBI has recovered Clinton’s deleted emails.

According to Bloomberg News, the FBI has been able to recover at least some of the 31,830 emails deleted by Clinton. The exact number of recovered emails is still unknown. Clinton claimed she deleted those emails, which make up slightly more than half of all her emails from her time as secretary of state, because they were personal in nature.

Bloomberg News reports that, “Once the emails have been extracted, a group of agents has been separating personal correspondence and passing along work-related messages to agents leading the investigation, the person said.” This clearly indicates that not all of the deleted emails were personal in nature, as Clinton has claimed. Clinton’s spokesperson does not address the discrepancy, except to say that Clinton continues to cooperate with investigators. (Bloomberg News, 9/2/2015) 

The same day, the New York Times also reports that deleted emails have been recovered. According to two unnamed government officials, “It was not clear whether the entire trove of roughly 60,000 emails had been found on the server, but one official said it had not been very hard for the FBI to recover the messages.” (The New York Times, 9/23/2015) 

Chris Soghoian, the lead technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), comments, “Clinton’s private email server was secure. Clinton’s people didn’t know how to delete her old emails. These two things can’t both be true.” (Business Insider, 9/23/2015)

A September 2016 FBI report will reveal that the FBI was able to recover about 17,500 of Clinton’s deleted emails. However, a computer program was used to wipe parts of Clinton’s server, preventing the recovery of the rest. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

September 27, 2015: Clinton says she wasn’t involved in deciding which emails to delete.

Asked if it’s possible that some work-related emails were deleted when Clinton deleted over 31,000 emails from her time as secretary of state, Clinton replies that the process was “exhaustive,” but “I didn’t look at them.”

Instead, her lawyers made the decisions.  Clinton adds, “I wanted them to be as clear in their process as possible. I didn’t want to be looking over their shoulder. If they thought it was work-related, it would go to the State Department. If not, then it would not.” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/2015)

September 27, 2015: Clinton cannot explain the discovery of some emails she didn’t turn over.

Clinton claimed that the first time she used her email address from her private server was on March 18, 2009, so all the emails she has handed over come from after that date. But in the wake of reports that some emails were found from her address two months earlier, Clinton is asked to explain the discrepancy.

She says, “There was a transition period. You know, I wasn’t that focused on my email.”

She adds that the server existed in her house for years before she added her account, and “it apparently took a little time to do that. And so there was about a month where I didn’t have everything already on the server, and we [later] went back, tried to, you know, recover whatever we could recover. And I think it’s also fair to say that, you know, there are some things about this that I just can’t control. I am by no means a technical expert. I relied on people who were.”

The New York Times later comments about her remarks, “The issue of whether Mrs. Clinton has been forthcoming about when she began using the personal account…is only the latest email-related question to distract from her policy positions and message during her presidential campaign.” (The New York Times, 9/27/2009)

October 2015—Mid-May 2016: Hackers, alleged to be Russian, target almost 4,000 Google accounts related to US politics.

Center for American Progress logo (Credit: public domain)

Center for American Progress logo (Credit: public domain)

According to a June 17, 2016 Bloomberg News article, during this time period, the same allegedly Russian hackers who breach the computers of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] and Clinton’s presidential campaign “[burrow] much further into the US political system, sweeping in law firms, lobbyists, consultants, foundations, and the policy groups known as think tanks, according to a person familiar with investigations of the attacks.” Almost 4,000 Google accounts are targeted by “spear phishing,” which involves tricking targets to give log-in information so their data can be accessed. The Center for American Progress, a think tank with ties to Clinton and the Obama administration, is one known target.

Bloomberg News will further report that, “Based on data now being analyzed, various security researchers believe the campaign stems from hackers linked to Russian intelligence services and has been broadly successful, extracting reams of reports, policy papers, correspondence and other information.”

The Russian government denies any involvement, but cybersecurity experts who have investigated the attacks believe the hackers are working for Russia. It is believed that either or both of two major Russian hacking groups, Fancy Bear (or APT 28) and Cozy Bear (or APT 29) are behind the attacks. (Bloomberg News, 6/17/2016)

October 2, 2015: The company that makes a back-up of Clinton’s server data is given permission to share the data with the FBI.

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 / HearstCTMedia

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 Newspapers four 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.

October 3, 2015: The FBI picks up the most recent Clinton email server, which is still being used by Clinton.

An inside look at the Equinix facility in Secaucus, NJ. (Credit: Chang W. Lee / New York Time)

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)

October 5, 2015—October 19, 2015: The company managing Clinton’s private server gives permission for another company to cooperate with Congressional investigators, and then takes it away.

On October 5, 2015, Steven Cash, a lawyer for Datto, Inc., receives a letter from Senator Ron Johnson (R), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Johnson’s is conducting oversight of the FBI’s Clinton investigation and he wants Datto to answer questions and turn over copies of documents by October 19, 2015. Platte River Networks (PRN) is managing Clinton’s private server, and they have subcontarcted with Datto to provide back-up services. As part of Datto’s contact with PRN, Datto needs PRN’s permission before they can share any information relating to the case.

Ken Eichner (Credit: public domain)

Ken Eichner (Credit: public domain)

So the next day, Cash emails Ken Eichner, lawyer for PRN, and asks permission.

Eichner emails him back later that same day, “Steven, no objection.” (US Congress, 9/12/2016)

However, on October 19, 2015, the date of the deadline set by the committee, Datto sends the committee saying the company can’t answer most questions because although PRN originally gave Datto permission, “counsel to Platte River withdrew their previous non-objection, and objected to any further disclosure of confidential information to the committee. Consequently, Datto is not authorized to disclose such information absent consent from its client, Platte River, or unless required by law or by order of court or governmental agency.”

Andy Boian (Credit: public domain)

Andy Boian (Credit: public domain)

On November 13, 2015, PRN spokesperson Andy Boian will be quoted in a Politico article, saying, “There was a suggestion by our legal counsel and the legal counsel of Datto that everything has been turned over regarding the Clinton matter by Datto, so there wasn’t an extraordinary need for Datto to do anything else. There wasn’t anymore information that Datto could provide that Platte River couldn’t, so there was a suggestion that any inquiry that goes to Datto … comes through us. And that’s just out of pure convenience.” (Politico, 11/13/2015)

The next day, Cash will email Eichner again and complain that the “description of communications between Platte River and Datto counsel attributed to Mr. Boian is not accurate, and leaves the reader with a distinctly false impression.” Cash points out that he is the only Datto lawyer who has talked to any PRN lawyers, so he knows this quote is untrue. He sends a copy of this complaint to Senator Johnson. (US Congress, 9/12/2016)

The idea that Datto has no other information to provide is clearly untrue. It will turn over documents containing previously released information after they are served subpoena to do so in September 2016.

October 8, 2015: President Obama calls Clinton’s use of a private email server a “mistake,” but also says, “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.”

President Obama in a 60 Minutes interview that aired October 11, 2015. (Credit: CBS News)

President Obama in a 60 Minutes interview that aired October 11, 2015. (Credit: CBS News)

In a 60 Minutes interview, he goes on to say, “This is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.” He adds that, “We don’t get an impression that there was purposely efforts […] to hide something or to squirrel away information,”

However, several days later a White House spokesperson says Obama will wait for the Justice Department investigation’s determination about that. Politico will later comment, “Agents and retired FBI personnel told journalists the comments were inappropriate given the fact that the FBI inquiry was ongoing.” (The Associated Press, 10/13/2015(CNN, 10/13/2015) (Politico, 3/9/2016)

October 13, 2015: The White House backtracks on President Obama’s comments about Clinton’s email scandal.

Josh Earnest (Credit: Politico)

Josh Earnest (Credit: Politico)

Obama asserted that while Clinton’s use of a private email server was a “mistake,” he doesn’t “think it posed a national security problem.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest says that Obama’s comments were made “based on what we publicly know now.” Earnest adds that those comments “certainly [were] not an attempt, in any way, to undermine the importance or independence of the ongoing FBI investigation.” (CNN, 10/13/2015

Despite the backtracking, Obama will make very similar comments in April 2016. (MSNBC, 4/10/2016)

October 13, 2015: Clinton’s private server was especially vulnerable to hacker attacks.

Clinton checks her phone at the United Nations Security Council on March 12, 2012. (Credit: Richard Drew / The Associated Press)

Clinton checks her phone at the United Nations Security Council on March 12, 2012. (Credit: Richard Drew / The Associated Press)

The Associated Press reports that “The private email server running in [Clinton’s] home basement when she was secretary of state was connected to the Internet in ways that made it more vulnerable to hackers, according to data and documents reviewed by the Associated Press. […] Experts said the Microsoft remote desktop service [used on the server] wasn’t intended for such use without additional protective measures, and was the subject of US government and industry warnings at the time over attacks from even low-skilled intruders.” (The Associated Press, 10/13/2015) 

One anonymous senior National Security Agency (NSA) official comments after reading the Associated Press report, “Were they drunk? Anybody could have been inside that server—anybody.” (The New York Observer, 10/19/2015)

October 13, 2015: Sanders says he’s sick of hearing about Clinton’s “damn emails.”

Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton shake hands moments after his "damn emails" comment during the first Democratic primary debate. (Credit: Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton shake hands moments after his “damn emails” comment during the first Democratic primary debate. (Credit: Reuters)

In the first Democratic primary debate, Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, addresses Clinton’s email scandal. “Let me say this. Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”

Clinton responds, “Thank you. Me too. Me too.” Then the two of them shake hands.

According to the Los Angeles Times: “The crowd went wild. So did the Internet.” (The Los Angeles Times, 10/13/2015

Sanders will continue to avoid criticizing Clinton about her emails in the months that follow. Some of Sanders’ allies are disappointed that he doesn’t frequently attack Clinton on the issue. Former Senator Bob Kerrey (D), a Clinton supporter, will later say, “The email story is not about emails. It is about wanting to avoid the reach of citizens using FOIA”—the Freedom of Information Act—“to find out what their government is doing, and then not telling the truth about why she did.” (The New York Times, 4/3/2016)

October 16, 2015: Huma Abedin is interviewed under oath; she claims she knew Clinton exclusively used a private email address, but very few other State Department officials did.

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)

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.
  • 151016BlumenthalClintonWars

    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)

 

October 16, 2015: FBI agents are upset at President Obama’s comment that he thinks Clinton made a mistake but didn’t endanger national security

The J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the FBI in Washington, DC. (Credit: Aude / Wikimedia Commons)

The J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the FBI in Washington, DC. (Credit: Aude / Wikimedia Commons)

The New York Times reports that although the White House backtracked later, “Those statements angered FBI agents who have been working for months to determine whether Mrs. Clinton’s email setup did in fact put any of the nation’s secrets at risk, according to current and former law enforcement officials. Investigators have not reached any conclusions about whether the information on the server was compromised or whether to recommend charges, according to the law enforcement officials. But to investigators, it sounded as if Mr. Obama had already decided the answers to their questions and cleared anyone involved of wrongdoing.”

Ron Hosko, who was a senior FBI official until he retired in 2014, says, “Injecting politics into what is supposed to be a fact-finding inquiry leaves a foul taste in the FBI’s mouth and makes them fear that no matter what they find, the Justice Department will take the president’s signal and not bring a case.” (The New York Times, 10/16/2015

An unnamed upset FBI agent at the Washington Field Office, where the investigation is based, says, “We got the message. […] Obama’s not subtle sometimes.” (The New York Observer, 10/19/2015)

October 22, 2015: Clinton incorrectly claims under oath that her lawyers “went through every single email” before deleting some.

Representative Jim Jordan (Credit: public domain)

Representative Jim Jordan (Credit: public domain)

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, (unidentified man), Cheryl Mills, Katherine Turner and David Kendall. (Credit: Getty Images)

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?”

She dodges giving an answer, despite being further pressed on the issue. (The Washington Post, 10/22/2015)

Trey Gowdy (Credit: Brendan Smialowski / Agence France Presse/ Getty Images)

Trey Gowdy (Credit: Brendan Smialowski / Agence France Presse/ Getty Images)

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)

October 22, 2015: Clinton publicly testifies before the House Benghazi Committee and answers questions for eleven hours.

Clinton testifies before the House Benghazi Committee on October 22, 2015. (Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Clinton testifies before the House Benghazi Committee on October 22, 2015. (Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

The New York Times reports that “the long day of often-testy exchanges between committee members and their prominent witness revealed little new information about an episode that has been the subject of seven previous investigations… Perhaps stung by recent admissions that the pursuit of Mrs. Clinton’s emails was politically motivated, Republican lawmakers on the panel for the most part avoided any mention of her use of a private email server.”

The email issue is briefly discussed shortly before lunch, in “a shouting match” between Republican committee chair Trey Gowdy and two Democrats, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings.

Later in the hearing, Representative Jim Jordan (R) accuses Clinton of changing her explanations of the email service. That leads to a “heated exchange” in which Clinton “repeated that she had made a mistake in using a private email account, but maintained that she had never sent or received anything marked classified and had sought to be transparent by publicly releasing her emails.” (The New York Times, 10/22/2015) (The Washington Post, 10/22/2015)

 

October 22, 2015: Clinton incorrectly claims that her emails were stored on only one private server.

151022JimJordanZach GibsonNYT

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.”

She dodges giving an answer, despite being further pressed on the issue. (The Washington Post, 10/22/2015)

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)

October 23, 2015: A computer company tells the FBI that its back-up copy of Clinton’s private server data was deleted in late March 2015.

Steven Cash (Credit: LinkedIn)

Steven Cash (Credit: LinkedIn)

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.

November 5, 2015: Sanders says Clinton’s email scandal raises “valid questions.”

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders clarifies his remarks made a month earlier about Clinton’s email scandal, in which he said the “American people are sick and tired of hearing about [her] damn emails!” He says that if Clinton avoided public records requests or compromised classified information, that raises “valid questions.” He also says the FBI’s investigation should “proceed unimpeded. […] There’s an investigation going on right now. I did not say, ‘End the investigation.’ That’s silly.” (Politico, 11/5/2015)

November 10, 2015: The FBI’s inquiry into Clinton’s emails has turned into a “full-blown investigation.”

Tom Fuentes (Credit: CNN)

Tom Fuentes (Credit: CNN)

Politico reports, “The FBI’s recent moves [regarding Clinton’s private emails] suggest that its inquiry could have evolved from the preliminary fact-finding stage that the agency launches when it receives a credible referral, according to former FBI and Justice Department officials interviewed…” The FBI has been conducting interviews and gathering documents.

Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI, says, “This sounds to me like it’s more than a preliminary inquiry; it sounds like a full-blown investigation. When you have this amount of resources going into it… I think it’s at the investigative level.” (Politico, 11/10/2015)

November 13, 2015: The computer companies that worked on Clinton’s private server refuse interview and document requests from Congressional investigators.

The Platte River Networks Logo (Credit: PRN)

The Platte River Networks Logo (Credit: PRN)

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)

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)

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)

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.

November 18, 2015: The person who sorted Clinton’s emails apparently fails to answer whether she had the security clearance to do so.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R) sends a letter to former Clinton aide and lawyer Heather Samuelson. In late 2014, Samuelson led the sorting process through Clinton’s 62,000 emails to determine which ones to turn over to The State Department and which ones to delete. She also worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and then was a senior adviser to Clinton in the State Department.

Grassley asks if Samuelson had the security clearance necessary to handle Clinton’s emails, some of which were later deemed to contain “top secret” intelligence. He writes, “It is imperative to understand your background in determining what is and what is not a federal record, since you apparently played a major role in assisting Secretary Clinton in making a decision as to which emails to delete.”

A week later, Politico will try to contact Samuelson and the Clinton campaign about Grassley’s questions but got no response. After that there will be no news reports indicating if Grassley ever gets a reply. Earlier in 2015, Samuelson moved from Washington to New York with plans to work in Clinton’s presidential campaign headquarters there. But she never started the job, due to the controversy over her role in sorting Clinton’s emails. (Politico, 11/23/2015)

December 9, 2015: President Obama is not being briefed about the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

Senator Jeff Cornyn (Credit: US Congress)

Senator Jeff Cornyn (Credit: US Congress)

Speaking to FBI Director James Comey in a Congressional meeting, Senator Jeff Cornyn (R) expresses his concern about political pressure that could be put on the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails and server. Cornyn then asks, “Does the President get briefings on ongoing investigations by the FBI like this?”

Comey replies, “No.”

Then Cornyn asks, “So he would have no way of knowing what the status of the FBI investigation is?”

Comey replies, “Certainly not from briefings from the FBI.” (The Daily Caller, 12/9/2015)

December 11, 2015: Emails from Clinton’s computer technician are missing.

The State Department has told Senate investigators that it cannot find the emails of Bryan Pagliano, the Clinton aide who managed her private server. Department officials found a “.pst file” which contains back-up copies of Pagliano’s emails from the time period after Clinton was secretary of state, but his .pst file for Clinton’s time as secretary of state is missing. But it is also revealed that the FBI has taken possession of Pagliano’s government computer, and it is hoped that some of all of the emails will be found there. Senate investigators want the email to help determine if Pagliano should be offered immunity in return for testimony. (Politico, 12/11/2015) 

However, it will later emerge that Pagliano was given immunity by the FBI some months earlier. (The New York Times, 3/3/2016)

December 22, 2015: Pagliano is secretly interviewed as part of an immunity deal with the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano makes a “derivative use” immunity deal with the Justice Department by this time, though it’s not clear exactly when this happens. Then he gives testimony to the FBI and the Justice Department as part of the FBI’s Clinton investigation. Apparently he speaks to investigators at least twice, though it is not known when the second interview takes place. “Derivative use” immunity wouldn’t prevent investigators from prosecuting Pagliano, but limits them from using any evidence derived from his testimony against him.

The media will first report on the immunity deal in March 2016, and more details will be made public in a court filing in June 2016. (LawNewz, 6/7/2016) (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

 

December 31, 2015: The State Department hasn’t asked other departments to help find any missing Clinton emails.

In September 2015, the Defense Department gave the State Department some emails between Clinton and former Army General David Petraeus that Clinton had previously not turned over. However, in the months since, the State Department does not appear to have reached out to other departments to determine if they also have copies of emails Clinton failed to turn over. McClatchy Newspapers questioned over a dozen other departments. All of them either said they hadn’t been contacted by the State Department about this or failed to give an answer.

The State Department has not explained why it has failed to ask for help from other departments. It’s unclear how the Defense Department determined it had the emails between Clinton and Petraeus or why it turned them over. (McClatchy Newspapers, 12/31/2015)