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)

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)

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.

 

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: 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 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)

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)

Around June 2011: The State Department gets a say in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, leading to email trouble for Clinton and others.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter (Credit: India Times)

US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter (Credit: India Times)

For several years, the CIA has been conducting a secret drone program in Pakistan, targeting Islamist militants in the mountainous region near the border with Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has secretly allowed the program while publicly protesting it, because the Pakistani public is mostly against it. In 2011, Pakistani officials push back against the program due to the growing number of strikes and an increasing public backlash.

In June 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports that there is a debate about the scale of the program inside the US government. State Department and military officials argue that the CIA needs to be more selective with their strikes. Also, for the first time, State Department officials are given a say. The CIA begins notifying US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter about planned drone strikes, and this information gets passed up the State Department to Clinton and other top officials. The department then gets to concur or not concur with the strike.

For the rest of Clinton’s tenure until February 2013, the department objects to a planned strike only once or twice. But the strikes will often be discussed by Clinton and other State Department officials in unsecured email channels, and this will later be a focus of the FBI’s Clinton investigation. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/2016(The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2011)

After June 2011 to Late 2012: Clinton and other State Department officials sometimes discuss proposed drone strikes in Pakistan in unsecured emails.

A rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, to condemn US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas, on October 28, 2011. (Credit: The Associated Press)

A rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, to condemn US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas, on October 28, 2011. (Credit: The Associated Press)

According to a June 2016 Wall Street Journal article, there are a series of Clinton emails in these two years regarding the US drone program in Pakistan. Starting roughly around June 2011, the State Department is given the right to approve or disapprove of the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan as part of the US government’s attempt to mollify Pakistan’s concerns so they will continue their secret support of the program.

However, this creates a communication problem, because advanced warning of strikes varies from several days to as little as half an hour. According to the Journal, “Under strict US classification rules, US officials have been barred from discussing strikes publicly and even privately outside of secure communications systems.”

As a result, US intelligence officials want State officials to use a very secure system to discuss the strikes, called JWICS (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Community Systems). But few State officials have access to JWICS, even in Washington, DC, so they use another secure system commonly known as the “high side” (SIPR or, Secret Internet Protocol Router Network).

However, this can be slow as well as difficult to access outside of normal work hours. As a result, according to the Journal, on about a half-dozen different occasions, State officials use the “low side,” which means unsecure computers, such as emailing from a smart phone. This is often said to take place at night, or on the weekend or holiday, or when people are traveling, or when a proposed drone strike is imminent. It is not clear why secure phone lines are not used instead.

The emails are usually vaguely worded so they don’t mention the “CIA,” “drones,” or details about the militant targets, unnamed officials will later claim. These emails sometimes are informal discussions that take place in addition to more formal notifications done through secure communications. In some cases, these emails about specific drone strikes will later be deemed “top secret,” making up many of Clinton’s reported 22 top secret emails.

According to the Journal, unnamed US officials will later say that there “is no evidence Pakistani intelligence officials intercepted any of the low side State Department emails or used them to protect militants.” (The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/2016)

June 2011—August 2012: A US ambassador is warned not to use private email for daily work matters, but Clinton’s identical behavior does not result in any warnings.

Scott Gration (Credit: New Republic)

Scott Gration (Credit: New Republic)

In June 2011, shortly after Scott Gration becomes the new US ambassador to Kenya, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) learns that he has sent out a revised policy allowing himself and other personnel in his embassy to use private email addresses for the daily communication of official government business.

Gration’s new policy happens to take place the same month the department sends out a cable warning all embassies to “avoid conducting official department business from your personal email accounts” due to a surge in hacking attacks of the personal emails of government employees. DS warns Gration they will be sending an experienced computer security officer to Kenya to reestablish proper communications procedures. DS officials also email him that this visit will be “especially timely in the wake of recent headlines concerning a significant hacking effort directed against the private, web-based email accounts of dozens of senior [government] officials…”

However, Gration continues to use his private email for work matters. Then, on July 20, 2011, a DS cable quotes from the department’s Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM): “it is the department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized [system].” The cable then warns, “Given the threats that have emerged since 2005, especially in regard to phishing and spoofing of certain web-based email accounts, we cannot allow the proliferation of this practice beyond maintaining contact during emergencies,” and there is nothing in his situation that would warrant an exception.

But Gration ignores these warnings and continues to use his personal email account.

The department then initiates disciplinary proceedings against him for this and several other infractions, but he resigns in August 2012, just weeks before any disciplinary measures are due to be imposed.

However, even though Clinton uses only a private email account for all her emailed work matters, she is not warned or disciplined like Gration. Furthermore, Clinton doesn’t change her email habits after the measures taken against Gration’s email habits are reported internally and in the press.  (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) (US Department of State, 3/5/2015) (The New Republic, 6/20/2012)

June 2, 2011: The White House says all work matters need to be done on government email accounts.

Jay Carney (Credit: CNN)

Jay Carney (Credit: CNN)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is asked to address news reports that Chinese hackers have targeted the personal email accounts of US officials. He says, “Well, the US government policy, certainly, the administration policy that is effective here, is that all of our work is conducted on work email accounts. […] We are definitely instructed that we need to conduct all of our work on our government accounts as part of the Presidential Records Act. I’m not aware of any law or rule that suggests that government workers cannot have separate private email accounts [for personal use].” (The White House, 6/2/2011)

June 2, 2011: Chinese hackers are targeting Gmail accounts of senior US officials, but top Clinton aides keep using Gmail account for work.

The Google Gmail logo (Credit: Google)

The Google Gmail logo (Credit: Google)

Google Inc. publicly announces that hackers based in China are targeting the email accounts of senior US officials and hundreds of other prominent people. The attacks are on users of Google’s Gmail email service. If successful, the hackers are able to read the emails of their targets. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/2/2011) 

Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills conducts government work through her Gmail account. Philippe Reines, Clinton’s senior advisor and press secretary, has a government account and a Gmail account, and uses both for work. However, there’s no evidence Mills or Reines stops using Gmail for work after this news report. (Judicial Watch, 9/14/2015) (Politico, 10/5/2015) 

Furthermore, two days later, Mills indicates in an email that there was an attempt to hack her email: “As someone who attempted to be hacked (yes I was one)…” (CBS News, 9/30/2015

Later in the month, the State Department will issue a warning to all employees not to use private emails for work, but apparently Mills and Reines still won’t stop using their Gmail accounts for work. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

June 4, 2011: Cheryl Mills suggests Clinton shouldn’t “telegraph” she and her staffers use private email for work matters, and also reveals someone tried to hack her account.

Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, is responding to a suggestion from another State Department official that someone in the department should make a public complaint about the poor state of the department’s email system. Mills writes, “As someone who attempted to be hacked (yes I was one), I am not sure we want to telegraph how much folks do or don’t do off state mail [because] it may encourage others who are out there.” (Bloomberg News, 10/1/2015) (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) 

Just two days earlier, Google gave a public warning that Chinese hackers were targeting US government officials using Google’s Gmail email service, and Mills uses a Gmail account for some work matters, in addition to her department email account. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/2/2011) (Judicial Watch, 9/14/2015)

June 8, 2011: Blumenthal sends an email to Clinton that appears to contain very recent classified information from the NSA.

A key paragraph from Blumenthal's June 8, 2011, email, containing details of a secret meeting of rebel leaders in Sudan from just the night before. (Credit: US Department of State)

A key paragraph from Blumenthal’s June 8, 2011, email, containing details of a secret meeting of rebel leaders in Sudan from just the night before. (Credit: US Department of State)

Sid Blumenthal is a journalist, Clinton Foundation employee, and friend of Clinton’s. In 2015, the email will be released to the public without any redactions, apparently by accident since the redactors assumed that Blumenthal, a private citizen without any security clearance at the time, would not have highly classified information. The email contains a detailed account of very current events in Sudan, especially about a coup that is being plotted by top generals there. (US Department of State, 1/6/2016)

According to a later account by John Schindler, a former NSA counterintelligence officer, “Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from a top-ranking source with direct access to Sudan’s top military and intelligence officials, and recounted a high-level meeting that had taken place only 24 hours before. To anybody familiar with intelligence reporting, this is unmistakably signals intelligence, termed SIGINT in the trade. In other words, Mr. Blumenthal, a private citizen who had enjoyed no access to US intelligence for over a decade when he sent that email, somehow got hold of SIGINT about the Sudanese leadership and managed to send it, via open, unclassified email, to his friend Ms. Clinton only one day later.”

It appears the information is taken from four different NSA reports, all of them classified “top secret.” At least one is issued under the GAMMA compartment, which is “top secret / special intelligence” (TSSI), considered more classified than even “top secret.”

In 2016, current NSA officials will say they have no doubt Blumenthal’s information came from recent NSA reports. One unnamed official will say, “It’s word-for-word, verbatim copying. […] In one case, an entire paragraph was lifted from an NSA report” that was classified “top secret.”

On the basis of this and other emails, Schindler will conclude that Blumenthal “was running a private intelligence service for Ms. Clinton.” Schindler will ask, “How Mr. Blumenthal got hold of this Top Secret-plus reporting is only the first question. Why he chose to email it to Ms. Clinton in open channels is another question. So is: How did nobody on Secretary Clinton’s staff notice that this highly detailed reporting looked exactly like SIGINT from the NSA?” (The New York Observer, 3/18/2016)

June 9, 2011: Clinton forwards a Blumenthal email to an aide instead of flagging it for containing obviously classified information.

Sid Blumenthal's email discusses renegade generals Peter Gadet (left) and George Athor (right), who devised a plan to secure control of the Abyei oil reserves in South Sudan in 2011. (Credit: The Sudan Tribune)

Sid Blumenthal’s email discusses renegade generals Peter Gadet (left) and George Athor (right), who devised a plan to secure control of the Abyei oil reserves in South Sudan in 2011. (Credit: The Sudan Tribune)

Sid Blumenthal’s email sent a day earlier appears to contain very recent classified information, including details of a secret meeting of rebellious Sudanese generals that took place just one day earlier. Although Blumenthal is a private citizen, he marked the top of the email “CONFIDENTIAL” and mentioned getting intelligence from a “particularly sensitive source” in Sudan who is speaking in “strict confidence.”

Instead of flagging the email as containing possibly classified information, Clinton merely forwards it to her aide Jake Sullivan with the comment “fyi”—meaning “for your information.” (US Department of State, 1/7/2016) (The New York Observer, 3/18/2016)

June 17, 2011: Clinton encourages aide Jake Sullivan to remove the identifying heading from a secure fax and “send nonsecure.”

She grows impatient as she waits for “talking points” about a sensitive matter.

Sullivan emails her, “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.”

Then Clinton emails him, “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

110617HillaryEmailClinton spokesperson Brian Fallon will later claim, “What she was asking was that any information that could be transmitted on the unclassified system be transmitted. It is wrong to suggest that she was requesting otherwise. The State Department looked into this and confirmed that no classified material was sent through a non-secure fax or email.”

There has been no official comment from the State Department on this exchange yet. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016

Senator Charles Grassley (R), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will later call the exchange between Clinton and Sullivan “disturbing.” He will say, “It raises a host of serious questions and underscores the importance of the various inquiries into the transmittal of classified information through her non-government email server.” (CNN, 1/8/2016) 

In February 2016, Sullivan will give his opinion about this email in an FBI interview. According to the FBI, “Sullivan did not recall this specific email but believed that Clinton’s request indicated that she would have wanted him to make an unclassified version of the document, summarize the contents, and then send it to her on a non-secure fax.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

In 2016, Clinton will give her opinion about this email on two occasions.

Alo in 2016, FBI Diretor James Comey will give his opinion about the email.

June 28, 2011: State Department employees are warned not to do government work on private email accounts due to a hacking threat.

A department cable issued under Clinton’s signature orders all employees to “Avoid conducting official Department business from your personal email accounts” because it has been discovered that hackers are targeting the personal emails of government employees. (The Washington Post, 3/10/2015) (US Department of State, 3/5/2015) 

This comes in response to reports that Gmail accounts of government workers had been targeted by “online adversaries.”

However, Clinton herself ignores the warning and continues to use her unsecure BlackBerry and her private server. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

In a July 2016 FBI interview, Clinton will claim that “she did not recall this specific notice, and she did not recall receiving any guidance from State regarding email policies outlined in the State FAM [Foreign Affair Manual].” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

July 14, 2011: Blumenthal tells Clinton about a company he’s invested in helping Libya’s rebels when he would need Clinton’s approval.

Major General David Grange (Credit: Osprey Global Solutions)

Major General David Grange (Credit: Osprey Global Solutions)

Libya is in the middle of a civil war which lasts most of 2011. Sid Blumenthal emails Clinton about a security company called Osprey Global Solutions, headed by retired Army Major General David Grange. Blumenthal tells Clinton about Osprey’s attempt to get a contract to give “field medical help, military training, organize supplies and logistics” to Libyan rebels currently fighting Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi.

He adds, “Grange can train their forces and he has drawn up a plan for taking [the Libyan capitol of] Tripoli… This is a private contract. It does not involve NATO. It puts Americans in a central role without being direct battle combatants. The TNC [the rebel Transitional National Council] wants to demonstrate that they are pro-US. They see this as a significant way to do that. They are enthusiastic about this arrangement.” Furthermore, “Tyler, Cody, and I acted as honest brokers, putting this arrangement together through a series of connections, linking the Libyans to Osprey and keeping it moving.”

Blumenthal is a private citizen, journalist, and Clinton Foundation employee at the time. “Tyler” is Tyler Drumheller, who worked for the CIA until 2005. “Cody” is Cody Shearer, a longtime friend of Clintons. Blumenthal, Drumheller, and Shearer formed a business relationship to help Osprey. Clinton’s State Department would have to give its approval to a deal between this company and the Libyan rebels. (Yahoo, 10/8/2015) (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

July 26, 2011: Clinton jokes about Chinese hackers but doesn’t take steps to combat the hacking.

Clinton types on her phone during a visit to Brasilia, Brazil, in April, 2012. (Credit: CNN)

Clinton types on her phone during a visit to Brasilia, Brazil, in April, 2012. (Credit: CNN)

In June 2011, Google Inc. publicly warned that hackers based in China were targeting the Gmail email accounts of senior US officials. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/2/2011) On this day, Clinton shows awareness of the problem through a joke.

Another State Department official sends Clinton an email, and some confusion results about the official’s two email accounts.

Clinton writes, “I just checked and I do have your state but not your Gmail – so how did that happen. Must be the Chinese!” (US Department of State, 9/3/2015)  

After that official says “You’ve always emailed me on my State email,” Clinton jokes again, “Weird since my address book only has your Gmail. Maybe the Chinese hacked it and focused on you!”  (US Department of State, 10/30/2015)

But despite this awareness,But despite this awareness, and a State Department warning not to use any private email addresses due to the problem that was sent out in Clinton’s name, Clinton apparently fails to make any changes to her own private email use and security set-up. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

July 27, 2011: Clinton appears to be targeted by a “spear phishing” email.

Neera Tanden (Credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News)

Neera Tanden (Credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News)

Clinton receives an email that purports to be from Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress. The subject heading is “Exclusively For You.” The text of the short email says, “Look what I’ve found”—an Internet link follows —“Here is a very nice offer. Enjoy.”

Clinton replies, “Neera–did you send me this? If not, I think your email address book has been hacked. If so, why? Anyway, hope you’re well.” (US Department of State, 10/30/2015)

In February 2011, a State Department security official warned to 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) 

Clinton apparently was the target of two other “spear phishing” attacks in May 2011, and she was warned again in June 2011 that the personal emails of government employees were being targeted by hackers. (US Department of State, 3/5/2015) (US Department of State, 5/25/2016

The email from Tanden appears to perfectly fit this warning, and likely was not intentionally sent by Tanden at all. It is unknown if Clinton clicked on the link before realizing the email was bogus. Despite such warnings and this incident, Clinton continues to exclusively use a private email address for all her work and personal emails.

August 24, 2011: Clinton’s email about her phone call to the head of NATO will later be deemed “secret.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Credit: public domain)

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Credit: public domain)

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan sends Clinton an email entitled “Rasmussen call.” Every word of his several lines of text will later be redacted. Then Clinton responds to him with three lines of text, which also will later be completely redacted. Although nothing is known about the content, other emails from the same day indicate that Clinton calls NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Clinton’s email to Sullivan will later be deemed “secret,” the middle level of classification. It also will be redacted in part due to the National Security Act of 1947, though why that is so remains unclear. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (US Department of State, 10/30/2015) NATO is in charge of the US-dominated bombing campaign in Libya at the time. (The Los Angeles Times, 10/21/2011)

August 30, 2011: An attempt to give Clinton a government-approved BlackBerry fails, revealing that some of her top aides know she is using a private server.

Stephen Mull (Credit: The Wall Street Journal)

Stephen Mull (Credit: The Wall Street Journal)

Clinton’s private BlackBerry temporarily stops working, due to disruptions in the New York area following Hurricane Irene. Stephen Mull, the State Department’s executive secretary, emails Clinton’s top aides Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Patrick Kennedy about getting a government-issued BlackBerry linked to a government server for Clinton.

Mull writes, “We are working to provide the Secretary per her request a Department issued BlackBerry to replace personal unit, which is malfunctioning (possibly because of her personal email server is down.) We will prepare two versions for her to use – one with an operating State Department email account (which would mask her identity, but which would also be subject to FOIA requests), and another which would just have phone and Internet capability.”

Abedin responds, “Steve – let’s discuss the state BlackBerry. doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

It’s not clear why Abedin doesn’t like the idea, and Clinton will continue to use her private BlackBerry. But Mull’s mention of Clinton’s “personal email server” is proof that Mull, Abedin, Mills, and Kennedy had to be aware at least due to this email that Clinton in fact had a private email server, and yet they do nothing about it.

In February 2016, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan will cite that email when he says in court that it’s a legitimate question if some officials were helping Clinton to keep all of her emails out of reach of public records requests. He will comment, “We’re talking about a Cabinet-level official who was accommodated by the government for reasons unknown to the public. And I think that’s a fair statement: For reasons heretofore unknown to the public. And all the public can do is speculate. […] This is all about the public’s right to know.” (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

August 30, 2011: Clinton again decides not to use the government email address already provided her.

Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. EDT (Credit: NASA)

Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. EDT (Credit: NASA)

Clinton’s private BlackBerry temporarily stops working, due to disruptions in the New York area following Hurricane Irene, and some State Department officials are talking about what to do to fix the problem.

John Bentel, director of the department’s Information Resources Management (IRM) office, notes in an email sent to department official Monica Hanley that a government email address was set up for Clinton when she became secretary of state: SSHRC@state.gov. He points out, “you should be aware that any email would go through the Department’s infrastructure and subject to FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] searches.”

However, Clinton has never used the account, and she still chooses not to use it. Instead, this account is only used by Clinton’s staff to maintain an Outlook calendar.

Bentel notes there are some old emails associated with the account, but none since January 2011, and they could be deleted.

Hanley forwards the email to Clinton’s deputy secretary of state Huma Abedin, but if here’s any email reply from her or Clinton, it’s unknown. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)  (US Department of State, 6/20/2016)

September 23, 2011: According to a State Department official, Clinton engages in Middle East negotiations using her unsecure BlackBerry.

Catherine Ashton (Credit: European Parliament)

Catherine Ashton (Credit: European Parliament)

On this day, Clinton, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton meet in United Nations headquarters in New York City. The four of them work out a joint statement regarding an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan proposed by President Obama.

In a 2013 speech, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman will discuss what happens between Clinton and Ashton: “They sat there as they were having the meeting with their BlackBerrys transferring language back and forth between them and between their aides to multitask in quite a new fashion.” Sherman will comment that, “Things appear on your BlackBerrys that would never be on an unclassified system, but you’re out traveling, you’re trying to negotiate something, you want to communicate with people – it’s the fastest way to do it.” (The Hill, 1/26/2016) (United Nations, 9/23/2011)

October 19, 2011—October 20, 2011: Blumenthal sends Clinton an email that obviously contains classified information, but Clinton doesn’t flag it as such.

Clinton meets with opposition fighters in Libya on October 18, 2011. (Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Getty Images)

Clinton meets with opposition fighters in Libya on October 18, 2011. (Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Getty Images)

Clinton confidant and private citizen Sid Blumenthal sends another email with his latest intelligence about the civil war in Libya. He marks the email “URGENT INTEL” and “CONFIDENTIAL,” and starts the email with this warning: “SOURCE: Sources with direct access to the Libyan National Transitional Council, as well as the highest levels of European Governments, and Western Intelligence and security services.”

However, despite the obvious signs the email contains classified information, Clinton doesn’t flag the email, and merely replies the next day, “Tnx [Thanks] again.” She also forwards the email to her aide Jake Sullivan with the note “More from Sid.”

Sullivan responds with a short comment that will later be totally redacted. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016) (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

December 16, 2011: Clinton’s daily schedule accidentally reveals the name of a secret CIA official.

State Department official Claire Coleman emails Clinton her daily schedule early in the morning. It mentions a photo opportunity with a person. The person’s name will later be redacted, but the context makes it clear it is the secret CIA official who gives her a daily intelligence briefing.

The New York Times will later report, “That email was originally released as ‘confidential’ but upgraded to ‘secret,’ probably reflecting that the person holds an undercover position now.” (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (The New York Times, 5/10/2016

Clinton sends a reply which is also classified at the “secret” level. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)