Recently Added Entries

If you have read the timelines on the website already, it’s not easy to figure out where the latest additions are. So! This is where you can read all of the recently added entries, based on the date they were added to the site. The batches are listed in reverse chronological order, with the latest batches listed first.


27 May 2016 addenda (18)

2005 and 2007: The State Department issues computer usage regulations that Clinton will later violate.

In 2005, new State Department regulations state that normal day-to-day activities should be conducted on an authorized computer system, known as an automated information system (AIS). Examples of an AIS include a server and a mobile device.

In 2007, new regulations specify that nondepartmental AISs containing department information must be registered with the department and maintain certain minimum security standards.

In 2016, an internal department investigation will determine that Clinton never registered her private server or mobile devices and thus never had them checked to see if they maintained the required security standards. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


Shortly Before January 21, 2009: Records officials are “not comfortable” advising Clinton she needs to permanently archive her work-related emails.

Shortly Before January 21, 2009: In an email exchange shortly before Clinton becomes secretary of state, records officials within the Bureau of Administration wonder if there is an electronic method that could be used to capture her emails because they are “not comfortable” advising the new administration to print and file email records. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


January 21, 2009—March 29, 2009: State Department employees are prohibited from using nondepartmental computers for work matters, but Clinton’s usage is ignored.

According to a May 2016 State Department inspector general’s report, department employees often ask the department’s Information Resources Management (IRM) office for permission to use nondepartmental computer systems for work purposes, such as using outside video conferencing systems or file sharing software.

But these requests are typically denied. For instance, in 2012, a request is submitted to use an Internet-based teleconference service. But the IRM denies this request, citing regulations that normal day-to-day operations need to be conducted on authorized computer systems.

The IRM further notes that the department “expect[s] employees to use the tools provided by the department to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure.”

However, Clinton is never warned not to use a personal email account and personal server for her day-to-day communications, despite some top department officials knowing that she does this. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: Clinton fails to properly manage “sensitive but unclassified” information.

State Department officials regularly mark some information as “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU), and there are special rules to deal with this.

Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) rules state that anyone regularly transmitting SBU information outside the department’s OpenNet computer network needs to request a solution from the department’s security officials. Clinton never does this, even though she frequently sends and receives emails marked SBU.

Furthermore, rules require special safeguards for transmitting SBU information on a mobile device. Clinton never does that either. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: Clinton’s mobile devices and private server are never approved by her department’s security officials.
The Diplomatic Security Service Logo (Credit: public domain)

The Diplomatic Security Service Logo (Credit: public domain)

According to a May 2016 State Department inspector general’s report, the department’s Diplomatic Security (DS) and Information Resources Management (IRM) security officials claim that Clinton never demonstrates to them that her private server or BlackBerry or iPad meets the minimum security requirements specified by the Federal Information Security Management Act and the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM). (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


January 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: Four of Clinton’s top aides frequently use personal email accounts for work matters and then fail to properly archive them.

After Clinton’s email scandal becomes public in March 2015, The State Department will request all work-related emails from four of Clinton’s top aides: Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, and Philippe Reines. The emails will be turned over between June and August 2015.

Top left: Cheryl Mills, Top Right: Huma Abedin, Lower left: Jake Sullivan, Lower right: Philippe Reines

Top left: Cheryl Mills, Top Right: Huma Abedin, Lower left: Jake Sullivan, Lower right: Philippe Reines

A department analysis will determine that all four aides frequently used personal email accounts for work matters, although they had government email accounts and sometimes used those as well. The combined work-related personal emails from the four of them will total nearly 72,000 printed pages. One of the four sends and receives 9,585 work emails using a personal account while Clinton is secretary of state, though it isn’t clear which one. That person averages nine work emails from that account per work day.

In May 2016, the department’s inspector general will conclude that, just like Clinton, “these [four aides] failed to comply with department policies… because none of these emails were preserved in department recordkeeping systems prior to [being handed over] in 2015.” (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


2010: The number of emails to and from non-government accounts sharply increases.

In 2010, Clinton’s first full year as secretary of state, an internal study finds that in one week, more than 9,200 emails are sent from the State Department’s Executive Secretariat servers to 16 web-based email domains, including gmail.com, hotmail.com, and att.net. These could include both work-related and personal emails. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


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)


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)


Around February 1, 2013: Clinton fails to turn over her work emails as she leaves office, despite a legal requirement to do so.

When Clinton ends her tenure as secretary of state, she is required by law to turn over all of her work-related documents to the State Department, including emails, but she fails to do so.

Clinton says farewell as secretary of state on February 1, 2013. (Credit: Polaris)

Clinton says farewell as secretary of state on February 1, 2013. (Credit: Polaris)

A May 2016 State Department inspector general’s report will conclude, “Secretary Clinton should have preserved any federal records she created and received on her personal account… At a minimum, [she] should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

The report will note that at least she turned over 30,000 emails in December 2014, 21 months later. However, the report will also conclude that the emails she gave then are “incomplete,” because many of her work-related emails have since been discovered through other means, such as being found in other email inboxes. For instance, although her tenure began on January 21, 2009, and she started using her email account by January 28, no emails received prior to March 17, 2009, were turned over, nor were any emails sent prior to April 12, 2009. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


Early June 2013: State Department officials discover Clinton’s personal email address and then fail in their legal obligation to share her emails with others.
Heather Higginbottom (Credit: public domain)

Heather Higginbottom (Credit: public domain)

State Department staff reviewing material to possibly give to Congressional committees examining the September 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack discover emails sent by former Clinton aide Jake Sullivan to a personal email address belonging to Clinton.

In ensuing weeks, senior department officials discuss if the Federal Records Act (FRA) requires the department to turn over emails from such personal accounts. In fact, the act does require emails to be turned over if they are work-related. However, an internal investigation will later determine that the department does not notify the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of a potential loss of records at any point in time. Furthermore, none of Clinton’s emails are given to any Congressional committee in 2013, nor are they provided in response to any Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that year.

According to department official Heather Higginbottom, Secretary of State John Kerry is not a part of these discussions or decisions. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) 

Around this debate period, on August 7, 2013, department officials find 17 FOIA requests relating to Clinton in their records, with some of them specifically requesting Clinton emails. But none of the requesters are told about any of Clinton’s emails  apparently due to the result of this debate.

Clinton’s personal email address will be rediscovered in May 2014 after a document request from the new House Benghazi Committee.


Around March 2, 2015: Secretary of State John Kerry allegedly first learns that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account and a private server.

A May 2016 State Department inspector general’s report will claim that Kerry was “not involved in any of the discussions regarding Secretary Clinton’s emails and that he first became aware of her exclusive use of a personal email account when an aide informed him around the time the information became published,” on March 2, 2015. This is according to an interview Kerry had with the inspector general’s staff. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) 

However, in March 2016, the Washington Post will report that in the summer of 2014, “Kerry resolved to round up the Clinton emails and deliver them to Congress as quickly as possible,” suggesting that he was involved and did have earlier knowledge. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)


Shortly After March 2, 2015: The State Department asks for all the work-related emails from four of Clinton’s top aides.

The four are Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, and Philippe Reines. All four of them frequently used personal email accounts for work matters while Clinton was secretary of state, though they also had government email accounts. According to a 2016 department inspector general’s report, the four of them hand over “email from their personal accounts during the summer of 2015.” (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


May 22, 2016: Trump says he’s going to “bigly” emphasize Clinton’s email scandal if he faces her in the general election.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump indicates he’s planning to emphasize Clinton’s email scandal if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination battle against Senator Bernie Sanders. Trump says that Sanders “didn’t pick up on the emails, which I think was a big mistake. I’m going to pick up bigly. Because frankly she shouldn’t even be allowed to run for president.” (Politico, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: Clinton’s campaign trusts the FBI’s Clinton investigation.
Brad Woodhouse (Credit: CNN)

Brad Woodhouse (Credit: CNN)

Brad Woodhouse, of the pro-Clinton group Correct the Record, says, “Let the FBI finish its investigation. Let the FBI do its job. We trust that process. We’d like to see that process through.”

Correct the Record calls itself “a strategic research and rapid response team designed to defend Hillary Clinton from baseless attacks.” It was founded by David Brock, who also runs Clinton’s main super PAC. (Politico, 5/25/2016) (Correct the Record, 5/7/2016)


May 25, 2016: The State Department’s top two security officials say they would never have approved Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account.
Left: Gregory Starr Right: Steven C. Taylor (Credit: public domain)

Left: Gregory Starr Right: Steven C. Taylor (Credit: public domain)

A new State Department inspector general report determines that department rules required Clinton to get official approval to conduct official business using a personal email account on her private server, but she did not do so. 

In the words of the report, Steven C. Taylor, current head of Information Resources Management (IRM) and Gregory Starr, current head of Diplomatic Security (DS), jointly claim that Clinton “had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs. However, according to these officials, DS and IRM did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct department business, because of the restrictions in the FAM [Foreign Affairs Manual] and the security risks in doing so.” (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: Clinton didn’t consult with anybody about exclusively using a personal email address or private server for work matters.
Cheryl Mills speaks to reporters in Washington, DC, on September 3, 2015. (Credit: Fox News)

Cheryl Mills speaks to reporters in Washington, DC, on September 3, 2015. (Credit: Fox News)

When former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills testified to the House Benghazi Committee in a private session on September 3, 2015, her comments remained secret.

However, on this day, a State Department inspector general’s report makes one portion of her testimony public. Mills was asked by the committee, “Was anyone consulted about Secretary Clinton exclusively using a personal email address for her work?”

Mills replied, “I don’t recall that. If it did happen, I wasn’t part of that process. But I don’t believe there was a consultation around it, or at least there’s not one that I’m aware of…”

Mills then was asked if Clinton consulted with “private counsel,” or “the general counsel for the State Department,” or “anybody from the National Archives [and Records Administation (NARA)],” or “anyone from the White House.”

Mills replied she wasn’t aware of any consultation from any of those people either.

The inspector general’s report also included comments from many other senior department officials about this, and “These officials all stated that they were not asked to approve or otherwise review the use of Secretary Clinton’s server and that they had no knowledge of approval or review by other Department staff. These officials also stated that they were unaware of the scope or extent of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account, though many of them sent emails to [her] on this account.” (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: A Bill Clinton assistant with no security clearance and no special computer expertise helped manage Hillary Clinton’s private server.
Obama talks with Chief of Staff Jack Lew, former President Bill Clinton, Justin Cooper (standing in the doorway), David Axelrod, and Senior Advisor David Plouffe on board Air Force One on November 4, 2012. (Credit: Pete Souza / White House)

Obama talks with Chief of Staff Jack Lew, former President Bill Clinton, Justin Cooper (standing in the doorway), David Axelrod, and Senior Advisor David Plouffe on board Air Force One on November 4, 2012. (Credit: Pete Souza / White House)

It had been previously believed that Bryan Pagliano was the one who managed Clinton’s private server. But the State Department inspector general’s report released on this day reveals that there actually were “two individuals who provided technical support to Secretary Clinton.”

The report rarely names names, but the individual other than Pagliano is described as someone who “was at one time an advisor to former President [Bill] Clinton but was never a [State] Department employee, [and] registered the clintonemail.com domain name on January 13, 2009.” Previous media reports made clear the person who registered the domain on that day and was an aide to Bill Clinton is Justin Cooper. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) (The Washington Post, 03/10/2015) 

In 2015, the Washington Post reported that Cooper had “no security clearance and no particular expertise in safeguarding computers, according to three people briefed on the server setup.” (The Washington Post, 8/4/2015) 

However, the inspector general’s report describes a January 2011 incident in which Cooper turned Clinton’s server off and on in response to a hacker attack, showing he had direct access to the server and thus all the classified information contained inside it. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) 

In April 2016, the Washington Times alleged that Bill and Hillary Clinton “have paid [Cooper’s] legal fees associated with the FBI investigation, amounting to ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars.’” (The Washington Times, 4/27/2016)


26 May 2016 addenda (18)

2009: Government regulations require the preservation of all work-related emails kept on non-governmental computer systems.

In 2004, The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued a bulletin noting that officials and employees “must know how to ensure that records are incorporated into files or electronic recordkeeping systems, especially records that were generated electronically on personal computers.”

In 2009, NARA amends its regulations explicitly to address official emails on personal accounts: Departments that allow employees to send and receive work-related emails using a system not operated by the department must ensure that all such emails are preserved in the appropriate department recordkeeping system. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


May 2009—February 2013: Clinton’s computer technician secretly manages her server during government work time and without the knowledge of his supervisors.
Bryan Pagliano (Credit: LinkedIn)

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: LinkedIn)

During the time Bryan Pagliano works as a political employee in the State Department’s IT [information technology] division starting in May 2009, he continues to secretly manage Clinton’s private email server in her house. The Washington Post will later report, “Three of Pagliano’s supervisors… told investigators they had no idea that Clinton used the basement server or that Pagliano was moonlighting on it.” (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016) However, Pagliano’s two direct supervisors (who apparently are Susan Swart and Charlie Wisecarver) will later tell department investigators that while they were aware Pagliano provided computer assistance to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, they didn’t know he was supporting her server during working hours. They will question how he could do so given that he was supposed to be working full-time for the department. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016An unnamed colleague in Pagliano’s division will later similarly say that Pagliano’s immediate supervisors didn’t know Clinton’s private server even existed until it was revealed in news reports in 2015. In March 2016, the Reuters will report that both Clinton and the State Department continue to decline “to say who, if anyone, in the government was aware of the email arrangement.” (Reuters, 3/24/2016)


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)


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)


December 2010: Pagliano gets help from other State Department staffers to fix a communication problem involving Clinton’s private server.

Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano is working with staff from the State Department’s Information Resources Management (IRM) office to resolve issues affecting the ability of emails sent from Clinton’s private server to be received at department .gov email addresses. Pagliano shows some staffers the computer logs from the server. The issue is eventually resolved. On December 21, 2010, IRM staff send an email to Clinton’s top aides describing the issue and summarizing what was done to resolve it. This appears to be one of the few times Clinton’s server is discussed with other department employees. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


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)


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)


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.


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)


October 30, 2012: Pagliano wants State Department help for Clinton’s private server, but doesn’t get it.
IDL TIFF fileImage of Hurricane Sandy at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 28, 2012. (Credit: Earth Observatory / NASA)

IDL TIFF fileImage of Hurricane Sandy at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 28, 2012. (Credit: Earth Observatory / NASA)

Starting around October 28, 2012, Hurricane Sandy disrupts power in the New York City area for a few days, including the Chappaqua, New York, area where Clinton’s private email server is located. On October 30, an email exchange between Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and another Clinton aide discusses that Clinton’s private server is down. Abedin’s main email account is hosted on the server.

Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano meets with staff from the department’s Information Resources Management (IRM) to find out if the department could provide support for Clinton’s server. Staffers tell Pagliano they can’t help because it is a private server.

This appears to be a very rare instance in which the existence of the server is mentioned to other department employees. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


May 24, 2016: An intelligence veterans group calls for Clinton to be prosecuted due to her email scandal.
Three members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity: former CIA analyst Ray McGovern (left), former NSA Technical Director William Binney (center), former NSA Senior Executive Thomas Drake (right). (Credit for all photos: public domain)

Three members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity: former CIA analyst Ray McGovern (left), former NSA Technical Director William Binney (center), former NSA Senior Executive Thomas Drake (right). (Credit for all photos: public domain)

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of veterans of US intelligence agencies, publishes a letter that is highly critical of Clinton’s behavior in her email scandal. It concludes, “[T]he question is not whether Secretary Clinton broke the law. She did. If the laws are to be equally applied, she should face the same kind of consequences as others who have been found, often on the basis of much less convincing evidence, guilty of similar behavior.”

The letter is signed by seventeen intelligence veterans. Many of them are government whistleblowers. Some of them, such as Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, were punished for security violations that seem far less serious than what Clinton has been accused of. For instance, Drake was convicted of possessing one classified document that was not actually marked as such. (Common Dreams, 5/24/2016)


May 25, 2016: A former senior State Department military adviser claims Clinton’s “sloppy communications with her senior staff” may have compromised at least two counterterrorism operations.
Wanted Poster for terrorist Umbra Jumdail a.k.a. Dr. Abu (Credit: NBC News)

Wanted Poster for terrorist Umbra Jumdail a.k.a. Dr. Abu (Credit: NBC News)

Bill Johnson was the department’s political adviser to the special operations section of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) from 2010 to 2011, after a long military career. He says secret plans targeting Umbra Jumdail, the leader of a Filipino Islamist separatist group, as well as plans to intercept Chinese-made weapons components being smuggled into Iraq, were both repeatedly foiled.

He claims that he and his team determined unprotected phone calls of Clinton and her aides were the likely problem, after eliminating other possibilities. Johnson says, “I had several missions that went inexplicably wrong, with the targets one step ahead of us.” For instance, his target Jumdail in the Philippines was repeatedly tipped off. He traced the problem to unsecure communications between Washington, DC, and the US embassy in Manila. “Anyone can just sit outside the embassy and listen” with off-the-shelf eavesdropping devices, he claims.

He argues that the leaks stopped after Special Operations Command stopped giving advance warning to senior State Department officials about the raids. Jumdail was killed in a US-based airstrike not long thereafter.

Johnson says such problems “could’ve been avoided if the CIA gave her a secure phone. She requested one, but they turned it down.”

A Clinton spokesperson calls the allegations “patently false.” (Newsweek, 5/25/2016)


May 26, 2016: Clinton doubles down with her justifications, contradicting the inspector general’s report.
Clinton defends her email use with ABC News on May 26, 2016. (Credit: ABC News)

Clinton defends her email use with ABC News on May 26, 2016. (Credit: ABC News)

Clinton is interviewed by ABC News one day after the release of the State Department inspector general’s report criticizing her email practices. The ABC News headline about the interview says she “doubles down” on defending her past behavior. “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other secretaries of state. It was allowed. And the rules have been clarified since I left.”

But, as ABC News points out, the report showed “that Clinton shouldn’t have used a private email server to conduct official business and would have not been allowed to do so had she asked. It also found that she should have turned over emails after her tenure and violated department policy.”

When asked why she did not agree to be interviewed for the report, “despite repeatedly saying she would talk to anyone, anytime about her emails,” Clinton replies, “I have talked about this for many, many months. I testified for eleven hours before the Benghazi Committee. I have answered numerous questions. We have posted information on our website and the information that we had is out there.” (ABC News, 5/26/2016)


May 26, 2016: Clinton continues to insist she handed over all her work emails despite clear evidence to the contrary.

The Associated Press reports that the State Department inspector general’s report on Clinton’s emails released one day earlier refer to some Clinton work-related emails that were not included in the 30,000 work emails Clinton turned over in December 2014. The report stated that Clinton gave an “incomplete” account of her work emails, with obvious gaps, including failing to turn over any emails from her first two months as secretary of state.

According to the Associated Press, “The existence of these previously unreleased messages—which appear to have been found among electronic files of four former top Clinton State Department aides—renews concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over [her 30,000 emails].”

Nevertheless, after the inspector general’s report was released, Clinton continues to maintain, “I have provided all of my work-related emails, and I’ve asked that they be made public, and I think that demonstrates that I wanted to make sure that this information was part of the official records.” (The Associated Press, 5/26/2016)


May 26, 2016: Senate investigators protest they were not given copies of emails from Clinton and her top aides that were given to the State Department.

The State Department inspector general’s report on Clinton’s emails released one day earlier referred to some Clinton work-related emails that were not included in the 30,000 work emails Clinton turned over in December 2014. Senate investigators had asked the State Department for all of Clinton’s emails months ago.

Furthermore, in the summer of 2015, the department got 72,000 pages of work emails from four of Clinton’s top aides—Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, and Philippe Reines—and yet the department didn’t share those with Congressional investigators either.

Senator Charles Grassley (R), who has been leading a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server, says, “Documents in those 72,000 pages were systematically withheld from Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] requestors and Congressional oversight committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair. […] It is disturbing that the State Department knew it had emails like this and turned them over to the inspector general, but not to Congress.” (The Associated Press, 5/26/2016) 

Even after the inspector general’s report was released, there still has been no sign the Department has shared those emails.


May 26, 2016: Some on Clinton’s campaign allegedly privately admit that Clinton tried to keep her emails from public scrutiny.
Carl Bernstein's "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton," published January, 2008. (Credit: Amazon)

Carl Bernstein’s “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” published January, 2008. (Credit: Amazon)

Journalist Carl Bernstein says that Clinton “set up a home brew server for purposes of evading the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA], evading subpoenas from Congress, that’s its real purpose, to not have accountability, to not have transparency.”

He alleges, “if you talk to people around the Clinton campaign very quietly, they will acknowledge to you, if you are a reporter who knows some of the background, that this is the purpose of it. Is so she would not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. So that—because the e-mails aren’t there, that nobody knew about this server.”

He also calls the recently released State Department inspector general report “a devastating event for Hillary Clinton. It is a time bomb that has been ticking and it’s starting to explode around her and there’s more to come because the FBI’s investigation is ongoing.”

In addition to his famous role exposing the Watergate scandal, Bernstein wrote a 2008 book about Clinton. (CNN, 5/27/2016)


May 26, 2016: Trump uses the State Department inspector general’s report to further criticize Clinton.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican frontrunner in the presidential election, comments in a Tweet, “The Inspector General’s report on Crooked Hillary Clinton is a disaster. Such bad judgment and temperament cannot be allowed in the WH [White House].”

The New Yorker Magazine opines, “Trump is himself a repository of bad judgment and character flaws, of course, but, on this occasion, he has been presented with an early Christmas present.” (The New Yorker, 5/26/2016)


May 26, 2016: The New York Times’ editorial board criticizes Clinton after the inspector general’s report.

The Times publishes an editorial written by its editorial board entitled: “Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email.”

It says that Clinton’s “campaign for the presidency just got harder” due to the State Department inspector general’s report criticizing her email practices. “Donald Trump, her Republican rival, will be merciless in swinging the inspector general’s report like a cudgel. […] Mrs. Clinton has to answer questions about the report thoroughly and candidly. That is her best path back to the larger task of campaigning for the presidency.” (The New York Times, 5/26/2016)


25 May 2016 addenda (8)

May 25, 2016: The State Department’s inspector general issues a report that sharply criticizes Clinton’s email practices.
Cover of the Office of Inspector General's Report, May 25, 2016. (Credit: OIG)

Cover of the Office of Inspector General’s Report, May 25, 2016. (Credit: OIG)

The State Department’s Office of Inspector General releases a report with the title “Evaluation of Email Records Management and Cybersecurity Requirements.” The 83-page report is the main headline at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere, because it sheds new light on Clinton’s email scandal. The Post calls it “a highly critical analysis of Hillary Clinton’s email practices while running the department, concluding that Clinton failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private server and that agency staff members would not have given their blessing if it had been sought because of ‘security risks.’”

The report did not cover the classified content of some of Clinton’s emails due to the on-going FBI investigation and instead focuses mainly on record management issues for Clinton as well as the four previous secretaries of state. The office’s inquiry was initiated by a request from Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015, and was led by Inspector General Steve Linick, who was appointed by President Obama in 2013. The report reveals:

  • There were “long-standing systemic weaknesses” in the State Department’s recordkeeping. Department officials were “slow to recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks” of widespread email use. This problem went “well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state,” but most of the report focuses on Clinton’s tenure.
  • Former secretary Colin Powell is singled out for violating department policy by using a personal email account while in office, as Clinton did. But the report notes that in the four years between the end of Powell’s tenure and the start of Clinton’s, the department’s warnings about the “obligation” to mainly use government email accounts for work matters had become more detailed and frequent.
  • Dozens of department employees sometimes used personal email accounts for work matters. But only three were discovered who used such accounts exclusively: Clinton, Powell, and Scott Gration, who was US ambassador to Kenya in 2011 and 2012. Gration faced an internal rebuke for doing so and was forced to resign. Clinton was the only one to use a private server as well.
  • Clinton “had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business” with security and records management officials, but investigators “found no evidence” that she had requested or received approval from anyone to conduct work matters mainly by personal emails. Furthermore, department officials “did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business.”
  • Similarly, Clinton had not sought permission to use a private email server, and would not have received it if she had.
  • Clinton was required to demonstrate to security and records management officials that both her server and her mobile devices “met minimum information security requirements,” but she never did so.
  • Clinton should have handed over copies of her work emails immediately upon stepping down in February 2013. Failure to do so violated department policies and the Federal Records Act. Instead, she provided only some work emails, and those only in December 2014, nearly two years later, after the Republican-led House Benghazi Committee began asking for some of her emails.
  • A video image from MSNBC's coverage of the inspector general's report, on May 25, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

    A video image from MSNBC’s coverage of the inspector general’s report, on May 25, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

    Clinton has claimed she effectively left copies of her emails with the State Department because she mainly emailed other department officials. However, the report says that was an inappropriate form of preservation. Additionally, four of her closest aides, whom she exchanged emails with most often, also made “extensive” use of personal email accounts, so none of those emails would have been preserved in State Department records just by being received by those aides.

  • There was “some awareness” of Clinton’s email account among senior department officials. But there also appear to have been efforts to keep her use of a private server a secret. For instance, in 2010, when two department computer technicians raised concerns that her server might not properly preserve records, a higher official told them her setup had been reviewed by lawyers and warned them “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.” Furthermore, no evidence of such a legal review has been found.
  • Clinton has claimed she exclusively used a private email account for “convenience.” However, this claim is belied by Clinton’s response to an email from Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, in November 2010. When Abedin prodded Clinton about “putting you on State email or releasing your email address to the department […] ,” Clinton replied that she would consider a |separate address or device, “but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”
  • Clinton turned over 30,000 work-related emails in December 2014, while deleting another 31,000 emails she said were personal in nature. However, the report claims her email handover was “incomplete,” and there are gaps and missing emails. For instance, the above-mentioned November 2010 email was not handed over by Clinton but was found through other means.
  • Several incidents were uncovered in which Clinton or some of her aides worried that Clinton’s private server had been hacked. For instance, a January 2011 email to a Clinton aide said Clinton’s server was shut down because “someone was trying to hack us.” It is unknown if the server actually was broken into at that time. However, Clinton and her aides failed to alert department computer security personnel to the hacking attempts, as required by department policy.
  • Clinton, as well as nine of her former top aides, refused to be interviewed for the report. By contrast, the four previous secretaries of state, as well as current Secretary of State John Kerry, were interviewed.

(The Washington Post, 5/25/2016) (The New York Times, 5/25/2016) (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: An unnamed State Department official admits that Clinton’s email setup was problematic.

According to the Washington Post, “[State Department] officials didn’t have a ‘complete understanding’ of Clinton’s email practices, the official said. The official added that, in retrospect, the agency ‘wouldn’t have recommended the approach.’”

The comments come shortly after the release of a State Department inspector general report that is sharply critical of Clinton’s email practices. But the official also says the department has no plans to take disciplinary action based on the report. It is not clear how the department could punish Clinton since she no longer works in government. (The Washington Post, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: Clinton’s spokesperson defends Clinton not cooperating for the inspector general’s report by claiming she’s cooperating with the FBI investigation instead.
Brian Fallon (Credit: Bloomberg Politics)

Brian Fallon (Credit: Bloomberg Politics)

Clinton’s spokesperson, Brian Fallon, responds to the State Department inspector general’s report critiquing Clinton’s email practices.

He attempts to justify why Clinton and her top aides did not get interviewed for the inspector general’s report by saying, “To our mind, it made sense to prioritize the review being conducted by the Justice Department and so, accordingly, Hillary Clinton has said since last August that she’ll be happy to sit with them at whatever point they approach her, which has not happened yet. And she has similarly encouraged all of her aides to cooperate in every way with that Justice Department review.”

By “Justice Department review,” he is referring to the FBI’s Clinton investigation, even though the FBI director recently said they are conducting an “investigation” and not any kind of “review.”

Fallon argues that by the time the FBI investigation is done, “it will be impossible for anybody to suggest that she didn’t answer every question that anybody had.”

According to Politico, “He also said that there were questions raised about whether the inspector general—an independent position appointed by President Barack Obama—has an anti-Clinton bias, though he said there was no indication of any bias in the [inspector general’s report].” (Politico, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Sanders still does not emphasize Clinton’s email scandal.
Jeff Weaver (Credit: Jack Gruber / USA Today)

Jeff Weaver (Credit: Jack Gruber / USA Today)

Politico reports that despite a new State Department inspector general report that is sharply critical of Clinton’s email practices, “Bernie Sanders’ [presidential] campaign is showing no signs that it will seize upon the latest revelations in her email scandal.”

Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, says, “Well, I think the report speaks for itself. This is obviously an area where the senator has chosen not to go. He’s tried to keep this campaign on the issues. […] And that’s why he’s doing so well in this campaign is because he’s talking about these substantive issues and people can make their own judgments about what is reported about the other issues.” (Politico, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: Guccifer pleads guilty as part of an apparent deal to cooperate with US investigators.
Judge James Cacheris (Credit: public domain)

Judge James Cacheris (Credit: public domain)

The Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer pleads guilty in a US court to charges of identity theft and unauthorized access to protected computers. At a plea hearing before US District Court Judge James Cacheris in Alexandria, VA, he admits that he broke into email and social media accounts of about 100 US citizens between 2012 and 2014.

Guccifer is best known for breaking into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal in March 2013 and thus publicly revealing Clinton’s private email address. He could face up to seven years in prison in the US, on top of the seven years he is already serving in Romania.

He is due to be sentenced on September 1, 2016. However, it is alleged that his guilty plea is part of a deal to cooperate with the US government, possibly including the FBI’s Clinton investigation. It has been reported that he will cooperate with the government in other investigations and be “reasonably available for debriefing and pre-trial conferences as the US may require.” He also has agreed to turn over any documents or other materials “that may be relevant to investigations or inquires.” (LawNewz, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: The New York Times rebuts every claim the Clinton campaign makes criticizing the inspector general’s report.

Hours after a report is released by the State Department’s inspector general that is highly critical of Clinton’s email practices, the Clinton campaign releases a statement that largely dismisses the report’s critique. The New York Times analyzes and disputes every claim made in the 203-word Clinton rebuttal:

  • “The inspector general documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email.” The Times points out that only former Secretary of State Colin Powell exclusively used a personal email account for work matters, and nobody else used a private email server.
  • “The report shows that problems with the State Department’s electronic record-keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor.” The Times notes the department did have long-standing recordkeeping issues. However, the rules became more stringent by the time Clinton became secretary of state. Most of Clinton’s predecessors simply didn’t use email at all.
  • “Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the department during her tenure…” The Times notes that many in the State Department did know of Clinton’s private email address, due to exchanging emails with her. “It is equally clear, however, that senior department officials were sensitive about people raising red flags about it. When two junior staff members expressed concerns to their boss in the Information Records Management office, he ‘instructed the staff never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.’”
  • “There is no evidence of any successful breach of the secretary’s server.” While it is true the report contains no proof the server was breached, the server was shut down twice due to hacker attacks. Prior to the report, Clinton claimed there was no evidence it was even attacked.
  • “We agree that steps ought to be taken to ensure the government can better maintain official records, and if she were still at the State Department, Secretary Clinton would embrace and implement any recommendations, including those in this report, to help do that.” The Times notes, “many of these regulations [pointed out in the report] existed, in one form or another, when she was in office.”
  • “As this report makes clear, Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records.” The Times counters, “Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email and server stored in her home was, in fact, unique. She left the State Department without turning over any emails, and only did so after she was contacted by the department’s lawyers, who were under pressure to produce documents from the House Select Committee on Benghazi.” Furthermore, the emails she turned over now appear to be incomplete.
  • The Times concludes by noting that the Clinton campaign statement “does not repeat an assertion Mrs. Clinton has made before: that her arrangement, while unwise, was permitted. Last September, she told the Associated Press: ‘What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.’” (The New York Times, 5/25/2016)

May 25, 2016: The New York Times publishes an article with the title: “Emails Add to Hillary Clinton’s Central Problem: Voters Just Don’t Trust Her.”

The article reports that “Clinton has gone from having a 69 percent approval rating and being one of the most popular public figures in the country when she left the State Department in 2013 to having one of the highest disapproval ratings of any likely presidential nominee of a major party.”

According to one recent poll, 53 percent of likely voters said they have an unfavorable opinion of her, and according to another recent poll, 64 percent of registered voters said they do not consider her honest or trustworthy.

The article notes, “Ask voters why they don’t trust Mrs. Clinton, and again and again they will answer with a single word: Emails.” (The New York Times, 5/25/2016)


May 25, 2016: The Washington Post’s editorial board publishes an editorial: “Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.”

This editorial is due to the critical State Department inspector general’s report on Clinton’s email practices made public earlier in the day. The editorial board says the report makes clear that Clinton’s use of a private server “was not a casual oversight,” because she “had plenty of warnings to use official government communications methods…”

The editorial concludes that “there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications. While not illegal behavior, it was disturbingly unmindful of the rules.” (The Washington Post, 5/25/2016)


23 May 2016 addenda (12)

September 21, 2000: A US ambassador loses his security clearance after working on classified information on an airplane flight.
Martin Indyk (Credit: Paul Richards / Getty Images)

Martin Indyk (Credit: Paul Richards / Getty Images)

US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk has his security clearance taken away after the FBI began investigating whether he prepared classified memos about meetings with foreign leaders using an unclassified laptop computer on an airplane flight. Investigators say there was no evidence of espionage or of the exposure any classified information.

A month later, Indyk’s clearance will be restored after a flare-up between Israel and the Palestinian territories results in the worst violence there in a decade. The Clinton administration decides it needs Indyk’s diplomatic abilities to help deal with the crisis. (The Los Angeles Times, 10/11/2000)


March 21, 2010: Clinton’s computer technician is using both private and government email accounts for work.
Bryan Pagliano (Credit: Facebook)

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: Facebook)

An email from Bryan Pagliano to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, on this day that will later be made public shows that Pagliano sometimes uses the email address bpagliano@hillaryclinton.com for work matters. Pagliano is a State Department employee at the time, but he also is managing Clinton’s private email server. In the email, he tells Mills, “Sent a reply from my [redacted] address, but delivery tends to be delayed going to state.gov addresses.” This shows he uses a government email address for work as well. (US Department of State, 1/15/2016) 

The hillaryclinton.com domain was used for people working for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, as Pagliano did. Apparently that domain was kept operational long after the campaign ended.


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)


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.


May 11, 2015: A former CIA official is sentenced to prison for giving the name of a CIA asset to a reporter.
Jeffrey Sterling (Credit: Gawker)

Jeffrey Sterling (Credit: Gawker)

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He was convicted of nine criminal counts for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen in 2003. Prosecutors claimed it was a plot to embarrass the CIA, after he was fired from the agency in 2002. However, others have seen him as a whistleblower. It was alleged that in 2003, Sterling revealed information about a CIA operation to harm Iran’s nuclear program by having a scientist provide Iran with intentionally flawed nuclear component schematics. However, Risen wrote in a 2006 book that the operation was mismanaged and may have inadvertently aided Iran. Sterling also revealed his concerns about the program to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2003.

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema says Sterling caused damage by effectively revealing the identity of someone working for the CIA, and “If you do knowingly reveal these secrets, there’s going to be a price to be paid.” (The Washington Post, 5/11/2015) (The New York Times, 1/26/2015)


August 26, 2015: Democratic leaders are growing frustrated by Clinton’s prolonged email scandal and the way it has been handled.
Ed Rendell (Credit: The Associated Press)

Ed Rendell (Credit: The Associated Press)

The New York Times reports that “Democratic leaders are increasingly frustrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failure to put to rest questions about her State Department email practices and ease growing doubts among voters about her honesty and trustworthiness. […] Interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates, and party members have laid bare a widespread bewilderment that Mrs. Clinton has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy—by using a private email server in the first place, since it was likely to raise questions about her judgment, and by not defusing those questions once and for all when the issue first emerged in March.”

Ed Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and a supporter of Clinton’s presidential candidacy, is particularly blunt and critical: “They’ve handled the email issue poorly, maybe atrociously, certainly horribly. The campaign has been incredibly tone-deaf, not seeing this as a more serious issue. She should have turned over the email server at the start, because they should have known they’d be forced to give it up. But at this point, there’s nothing they can do to kill the issue—they’re left just playing defense.” (The New York Times, 8/27/2015)


September 30, 2015: A White House official claims Clinton was told not to use private email accounts for government work.
Valerie Jarrett (Credit: The Associated Press)

Valerie Jarrett (Credit: The Associated Press)

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, is asked if there was guidance from the White House to Cabinet secretaries including Clinton not to use private email accounts. “Yes, there were. Yeah, absolutely. […] Obviously, we want to make sure that we preserve all government records, and so there was guidance given that government business should be done on government emails and that if you did use a private email that it should be turned over.” (C-SPAN, 9/30/2015)


February 16, 2016: It is discovered that three Clinton aides used email accounts from Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign for State Department work.

According to Politico, recently discovered emails show that three of Clinton’s former staffers used accounts from a domain linked to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, used the account cmills@hillaryclinton.com in an April 5, 2009 email. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, used the account habedin@hillaryclinton.com in a February 22, 2012 email. And Clinton’s computer technician, Bryan Pagliano, used the account bpagliano@hillaryclinton.com in a March 21, 2010 email. These accounts apparently are in addition to other work and personal emails used by all three people.

These discoveries lead the conservative government watchdog group Cause of Action to write a letter to Judiciary chair Charles Grassley (R) and Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz (R), asking them to look into whether Mills, Abedin, and Pagliano have turned over all their work emails from the domain, and whether other Clinton aides also had hillaryclinton.com accounts that were used for work. The group also wants to know why the domain was kept active long after Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign was over, and who was paying for it. Furthermore, the group questions if the use of such email accounts could violate the Hatch Act, which bars campaign activities from crossing into official government duties. (Politico, 2/16/2016) (US Department of State, 7/31/2015) (US Department of State, 5/13/2015) (US Department of State, 1/15/2016)


April 26, 2016: The Associated Press reports: “Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors…”
Lawrence Noble (Credit: The Associated Press)

Lawrence Noble (Credit: The Associated Press)

Clinton was paid a total of $22 million for 94 speeches by 82 different firms and organizations in the time between the end of her secretary of state tenure in February 2013 and the official start of her 2016 presidential campaign in April 2015. At least 60 firms and organizations that paid for her speeches lobbied the Obama administration at some point, at least 30 profited from government contracts, and at least 22 had business before the State Department while Clinton was secretary of state.

Lawrence Noble, of the election watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, says, “The problem is whether all these interests who paid her to appear before them will expect to have special access when they have an issue before the government.”

Together, trade association lobbying groups and the financial sector paid a total of $11 million of her speeches, about half of the total during that two-year time period. (The Associated Press, 8/21/2016)


May 2, 2016: The State Department changes its policy on when foreign intelligence should be considered classified.

State Department legislative liaison Julia Frifield sends a letter to the Senate indicating an apparent change in what information the State Department considers properly classified. The vast majority of redactions in Clinton’s emails are for foreign government information, to which Frifield refers as “FGI.”

Frifield writes, “Although the unauthorized release of FGI is presumed to cause harm to the national security—thereby qualifying as Confidential [level] classified information, department officials of necessity routinely receive such information through unclassified channels. For example, diplomats engage in meetings with counterparts in open settings, have phone calls with foreign contacts over unsecure lines, and email with and about foreign counterparts via unclassified systems. Diplomats could not conduct diplomacy if doing so violated the law.” As a result, not all such information should automatically be considered classified.

However, regulations in effect when Clinton was secretary of state called for FGI to be marked “confidential” unless it was designated “C/MOD” (for “confidential/modified handling”). But none of Clinton’s emails appear to have been given that designation. (Politico, 5/12/2016)


May 12, 2016: Clinton could be the subject or even the target of an FBI criminal investigation.
Ellen Glasser (Credit: Paul Squire)

Ellen Glasser (Credit: Paul Squire)

Politifact gets opinions on the FBI’s Clinton investigation from several experienced former officials who have no specific inside knowledge of the case.

Ellen Glasser, a retired FBI official who worked on mishandled classified information cases, says, “We don’t do these [investigations] because we’re curious. There’s a potential that a criminal violation took place. […] My experience tells me that Hillary Clinton is a subject of a criminal investigation.”

Mark Pollitt, former head of the FBI’s computer forensics program, says, “You don’t know if it’s criminal until you get to the end of it.” Noting that the investigation has lasted for at least nine months, he adds, “If this thing was dead on arrival, nobody would be willing to keep this thing going.”

However, it is still unknown if Clinton is a subject or target of the investigation. A “target” is someone who prosecutors believe is linked to a crime by substantial evidence. It is common practice for prosecutors to tell people if they are targets if they ask. However, it doesn’t appear that Clinton has asked. She has claimed that she has had no contact with the FBI about the investigation so far. (Politifact, 5/12/2016)


May 23, 2016: The FBI is investigating the governor of Virginia, including his time as a board member of the CGI.
Governor Terry McAuliffe (Credit: public domain)

Governor Terry McAuliffe (Credit: public domain)

CNN reports, “Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, US officials briefed on the probe say. […] [I]nvestigators have scrutinized McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative [CGI],” a yearly conference run by the Clinton Foundation. There is no allegation that the foundation did anything wrong.

The investigation is particularly focused on a $120,000 donation by Wang Wenliang through his US businesses to McAuliffe’s campaign for governor. Wang is a Chinese citizen and used to be a delegate to China’s National People’s Congress. However, he holds permanent resident status in the US, and is therefore eligible to donate to political campaigns, so it’s not clear what the alleged wrongdoing is. Wang has also given $2 million to the Clinton Foundation, as well as other major donations to other US-based charities. (CNN, 5/23/2016)


22 May 2016 addenda (19)

2008: A government guide explains how to deal with the accidental mention of classified information.

The US government posts an internal guide on how to deal with “spillage”—the common term for classified information accidentally getting onto an unclassified system. The guide, “National Instruction on Classified Information Spillage,” explains how such errors should be assessed and reported. One step mentioned for more severe cases is: “Determine whether the incident should be referred to the Department of Justice for investigation and/or criminal prosecution.” (The New York Times, 8/8/2015)


May 9, 2010: The Clintons consider Blumenthal’s intelligence emails “Brilliant!”

Clinton confidante Sid Blumenthal email Clinton his latest intelligence report, this one regarding high-level intrigues inside the British government. Like many of his emails, it is marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” the lowest official classification level. Clinton comments, “I shared your emails w Bill who thought they were ‘brilliant’! Keep ’em coming when you can.” “Bill” is a likely reference to Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton. (US Department of State, 8/31/2015)

In May 2015, Clinton will dramatically downplay her enthusiasm for Blumenthal’s emails, merely saying, “He sent me unsolicited emails which I passed on in some instances.” (Real Clear Politics, 5/20/2015)


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.


June 20, 2011: Clinton reveals sensitive classified information in an email she initiated.
Left to Right: Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, and Clinton, in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2011. (Credit: US Department of State)

Left to Right: Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, and Clinton, in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2011. (Credit: US Department of State)

Clinton sends an email to Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for Asian affairs. In the vast majority of her later published emails, Clinton responds to emails other people send her, but this is a case where she initiates an email communication herself.

She writes Campbell, “The FM took me aside as I was leaving to raise three issues:” Then her next four lines are later redacted. According to classification codes, those lines contain “Foreign government information” and “Foreign relations or foreign activities of the US including confidential sources.” Clinton then concludes, “Pls [Please] advise how to respond.”

Campbell emails her back, saying he will come up with a recommendation, but he doesn’t do it by email. (The New York Times, 5/10/2016) (US Department of State, 9/30/2015) “2+2” and “FM” indicate Clinton is referring to talks that day with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, as part of “2 plus 2” diplomatic talks between the US and Japan. (US Department of State, 6/21/2011)


2012: The Defense Department prohibits its employees from using personal email accounts for official work.

The State Department continues to allow it, though with certain requirement and restrictions. (The New York Times, 3/25/2016)


December 13, 2012: Clinton is directly asked by a Congressperson if she uses a private email account for work, and fails to reply.
Darrell Issa (Credit: The Associated Press)

Darrell Issa (Credit: The Associated Press)

Representative Darrell Issa (R) asks Clinton in a letter, “Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business? If so, please identify the account used.” His letter also asks if State Department employees have to turn over work-related emails from personal accounts by the time they leave office, and it seeks written documentation of the department’s policies for the use of personal email for government business.

Issa is the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and he is investigating how the Obama administration handles its officials’ use of personal email.

However, Clinton never sends a reply, and leaves office seven weeks later.

Issa finally gets a response from the State Department on March 27, 2013, but it fails to mention Clinton’s use of a private email address for work matters and just describes the department’s general email policies.

In 2015, a department spokesperson will decline to explain why Issa was never told about Clinton’s personal email usage. (The New York Times, 4/14/2015)


March 27, 2013: The State Department confirms its policy prohibits the use of personal email accounts for work matters.

State Department official Thomas Gibbons describes the department’s policy on the use of personal email accounts, in response to an investigative letter by Representative Darrell Issa (R). Gibbons says that “employees may use personal email on personal time for matters not directly related to official business, and any employee using personal email should make it clear that his or her personal email is not being used for official business.” Gibbons failed to mention Clinton used a personal email account for work (or had a personal email account at all), even though Issa directly asked that question. (The New York Times, 4/14/2015)


October 2013: Clinton’s brother gets a financial stake in a mining venture in Haiti.
Clinton presided over the grand opening of a Haitian industrial park in October 2012, two months before VCS Mining got a lucrative gold mining permit. (Credit: Getty Images)

Clinton presided over the grand opening of a Haitian industrial park in October 2012, two months before VCS Mining got a lucrative gold mining permit. (Credit: Getty Images)

In December 2012, a US-based company called VCS Mining wins one of the first two gold-mining permits issued by the Haitian government in more than 50 years. The mining project is heavily criticized by Haitian politicians who call it a potential environmental disaster and a waste of resources. Its permit is put on a hold due to the backlash.

In October 2013, Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham is added to VCS Mining’s advisory board. Rodham is rewarded with stock options in the mining company that will vest if the mine is successful. Both Rodham and VCS Mining chief executive and president Angelo Viard later claim that Rodham was added to the board after a chance meeting at the previous year’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual conference. Both also claim that Rodham’s involvement with the mining company has nothing to do with the political power of the Clintons in the US or in Haiti. (Bill and Hillary Clinton are widely seen as leading the reconstruction effort since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.) Rodham used to work as a repo man, prison guard, and private detective, but has more recently worked for an investment firm. (The Washington Post, 3/20/2015)

In March 2016, the New York Times will report that many in Haiti see Rodham’s involvement in the mining company as him taking advantage of his sister’s political influence for personal profit. (The New York Times, 3/14/2016)

One week after the Times article that suggested Clinton could be hurt politically by the connection, VCS Mining will announce that Rodham has stepped down from the board due to company “restructuring.” (VCS Mining, 3/21/2016)


February 2015: The State Department finally begins archiving the emails of its top officials.

The State Department begins using a system that automatically keeps the emails of high-ranking officials, such as deputy secretary of state, and under and assistant secretaries. Secretary of State John Kerry’s emails have been automatically retained since around the time he took office in 2013.

Patrice McDermott (Credit: Freedom of Information Summit)

Patrice McDermott (Credit: Freedom of Information Summit)

In 2012, an Obama administration directive mandated that departments must devise a system for retaining and preserving email records by the end of 2016, but some departments are slow to adapt.

Patrice McDermott, director of the transparency watchdog group OpenTheGovernment.org, says, “It really is chaos across the government in terms of what agencies do, what individuals do, and people understand that they can decide what they save and what they don’t. If you leave it up to the agency, some are going to behave properly and take it seriously, and some are going to see it as carte blanche to whitewash the record.” (The New York Times, 3/13/2015)


March 4, 2015: The New York Times calls Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account a “disturbing departure” from normal practice.

The New York Times’ Editorial Board comments, “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decision when she was secretary of state to use only her personal email account to conduct official business was a disturbing departure from the normal practice of relying primarily on departmental emails for official business.” The editorial concludes, “Some way needs to be found to ensure that the emails she retained [and then deleted] are truly private and don’t involve government business.” (The New York Times, 3/4/2015)


March 20, 2015: The House Benghazi Committee formally requests that Clinton turn over her private email server.

In a letter to Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall, the committee says Clinton should give her server to the State Department’s inspector general or to a neutral party in order to determine which of her emails were work-related and which ones were personal. (The New York Times, 3/20/2015) Several day later, Kendall replies that turning over the server would be pointless since no emails remain on it. (The New York Times, 3/31/2015)

Clinton will keep her server until a copy is given to the FBI in August 2015. It will later be reported that the FBI recovers most if not all of the deleted emails on the server.


March 27, 2015: It is unclear if Clinton still has copies of her deleted emails.
Clinton speaks during a news conference in New York, March 10, 2015. (Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)

Clinton speaks during a news conference in New York, March 10, 2015. (Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)

The New York Times reports that while it is known Clinton deleted over 31,000 emails from her server due to alleged personal content, it is unknown if she still retains copies of them elsewhere. “At a news conference this month, Mrs. Clinton appeared to provide two answers about whether she still had copies of her emails. First, she said that she ‘chose not to keep’ her private personal emails after her lawyers had examined the account and determined on their own which ones were personal and which were State Department records. But later, she said that the [contents of the] server… ‘will remain private.’” (The New York Times, 3/27/2015)


April 2015: State Department Inspector General Steve Linick begins an inquiry into Clinton’s emails at John Kerry’s request.
Inspector General Steve Linick (Credit: US State Department)

Inspector General Steve Linick (Credit: US State Department)

The New York Times will later reveal, “Secretary of State John Kerry asked Mr. Linick’s office to conduct a review after the disclosure [in March 2015] that Mrs. Clinton had exclusively used a computer server installed in her New York home for official and personal email correspondence from 2009 to 2013…” The State Department inquiry started by Linick will eventually develop into an FBI investigation. (The Washington Post, 8/14/2015) (The New York Times, 3/10/2016)

Bloomberg News will also later report, “The State Department inspector’s entire review [is] part of an effort initiated by Janice Jacobs, the department’s transparency coordinator for managing information and records, who was appointed by Kerry…” (Bloomberg News, 3/4/2016) Jacobs donates $2,7000 to Clinton’s presidential campaign in July 2015, the maximum allowable by law. (CNN, 9/9/2015)

The State Department inquiry started by Linick will eventually develop into a formal FBI investigation, as well as a final inspector general’s report published in May 2016.


August 11, 2015: Two out of a random sample of 40 Clinton emails are retroactively deemed “top secret.”

The email sample was examined by the inspectors general of the State Department and the Intelligence Community. Those two emails were not marked as classified at the time, but were given classified labels indicating they contain highly sensitive information from signal intercepts and spy satellites. One is a discussion of a news article about a drone strike operation. The other concerns North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. (Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, 8/11/2015) (The New York Times, 9/7/2015) 

One of the two emails is said to be designated “TOP SECRET//SI//TK/NOFORN.” “SI” stands for “special intelligence,” and usually indicates an intercepted communication. “TK” is an abbreviation for “Talent Keyhole,” which the New York Times reports “relies on satellite intercepts of conversations or imagery data. The program involves some of the most secure information in the intelligence agencies’ computer systems.” “NOFORN” means no foreigners should read the intelligence. (The New York Times, 8/14/2015)

In February 2016, the email about North Korea, written July 3, 2009, will be downgraded from “top secret” to “secret” and then partially released. This will leave one of the random sample of 40 emails “top secret.” All that is known about it is that it is from 2011. (The New York Times, 2/29/2016)


August 14, 2015: Clinton jokes about her emails at a campaign event.
Clinton speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on Friday, August 14, 2015 (Credit: ABC News)

Clinton speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on Friday, August 14, 2015 (Credit: ABC News)

At a fund-raising dinner in Clear Lake, Iowa, Clinton jokes, “You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.” (The New York Times, 8/14/2015) 

Later in the month, a New York Times article on Democratic politicians who worry about the email scandal notes, “many say, her repeated jokes and dismissive remarks on the email controversy suggest that she is not treating it seriously enough.” (The New York Times, 8/27/2015)


August 14, 2015: The FBI is trying to find out if foreign countries, especially China or Russia, broke into Clinton’s private server.

The New York Times reports that according to several unnamed US officials, “specially trained cybersecurity investigators will seek to determine whether Russian, Chinese, or other hackers breached the account or tried to transfer any of Mrs. Clinton’s emails…” (The New York Times, 8/14/2015)


September 14, 2015: The FBI’s Clinton investigation is being run from FBI headquarters
1123_01A.tifFBI Headquarters, Washington, DC (Credit: Fed Scoop)

FBI Headquarters, Washington, DC (Credit: Fed Scoop)

The New York Times reports, “In an unusual move, the FBI’s inquiry is being led out of its headquarters in Washington, blocks from the White House. Nearly all investigations are assigned to one of the bureau’s 56 field offices. But given this inquiry’s importance, senior FBI officials have opted to keep it closely held in Washington in the agency’s counterintelligence section, which investigates how national security secrets are handled.” (The New York Times, 8/14/2015)


March 9, 2016: Seven Congressional Democrats accuse two inspectors general of politicizing their review of Clinton’s use of a private email server.

A letter addressed to State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough is signed by the “ranking Democrats on the House and Senate committees overseeing intelligence, foreign affairs, government operations, Homeland Security and the judiciary.” The letter states, “Already, this review has been too politicized. […] We are relying on you as independent inspectors general to perform your duties dispassionately and comprehensively.”

A spokesperson for Linick rejects the accusations. Linick has released two interim reports about Clinton’s emails and server, and is expected to release a final report in another month or two. (The New York Times, 3/10/2016)


May 22, 2016: Ethics experts suggest the Clintons should cut their ties with the Clinton Foundation if Hillary is elected president.
Stephen Gillers (Credit: New York University)

Stephen Gillers (Credit: New York University)

The New York Times reports that Bill and Hillary Clinton have indicated their relationship with the Clinton Foundation would remain basically unchanged if Hillary becomes the next president. However: “Ethics experts reject that answer. They say there wouldn’t be any way to avoid the appearance of conflicts if she wins the presidency.”

Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University School of Law, says, “If Bill seeks to raise large sums of money from donors who also have an interest in US policy, the public will rightly question whether the grants affected United States foreign policy.” He adds that ethics rules are “not merely to prevent bad behavior but to foster public trust in the integrity of government choices.”

Joel Fleishman, who ran a foundation and wrote a book on philanthropy, says the Clintons should “sever the relationship [with the foundation] completely and put it in the hands of independent trustees.” They also should pick a leader of “impeccable integrity and let it go its own way in raising money.” (The New York Times, 5/22/2016)


19 May 2016 addenda (23)

August 2006: Bryan Pagliano begins working for Clinton.
Bryan Pagliano (Credit: The Associated Press)

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: The Associated Press)

Bryan Pagliano, who later will manage Clinton’s private email server, is hired to be the IT [Information Technology] director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. According to his later resume, his job is to “Hire and manage a team of systems administrators, engineers, and administrative staff.” From 1999 to 2006, he worked as “Senior Systems Engineer” and “Systems Team Lead” for a company giving computer assistance to non-profits in the Washington, DC, area. (US Department of State, 4/29/2016) Pagliano provides technical support for BlackBerry communications during Clinton’s campaign. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016)


February 22, 2009: Clinton possibly talks on an unsecure phone line after experiencing technical trouble.

At 6:39 p.m., Clinton emails her chief of staff Cheryl Mills, saying she just arrived home from a trip to Asia and wants to talk to her over a secure phone line. However, a back and forth email exchange shows that there is a technical problem with Mills’ secure cell phone.

Finally, at 10:01 p.m., Clinton emails Mills, “I give up. Call me on my home [number].”

At almost the exact same time, Mills emails Clinton, “I just spoke to ops [operations] and called you reg [regular] line — we have to wait until we see each other b/c [because the] technology is not working.”

Six minutes later, Clinton replies, “Pls [please] try again.”

The Hill will later note, “It’s unclear whether the two did connect or if they moderated any discussion they may have had to avoid sensitive topics while on an unsecure landline.”

The emails in the chain will not be included in the over 30,000 emails Clinton turns over in December 2014, but will be released in May 2016 due to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits forcing the release of more emails from Clinton’s aides. (US Department of State, 4/29/2016) (The Hill, 5/12/2016) (LawNewz, 5/13/2016)


February 27, 2009: An email shows Clinton can’t use her BlackBerry in her office.
090227ClintonOfficeWindow60Minutes

Clinton peers out of her office window in the State Department. (Credit: 60 Minutes)

Clinton writes in an email, “I’m so sorry but I’m just seeing this (no BlackBerry contact permitted in my office) and I’m on the way to the shuttle to NY [New York].” She is responding to Dr. Mark Hyman, who has been working with her on health care reform. (US Department of State, 4/29/2016)


April 3, 2009—February 17, 2011: Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, exchanges emails with Clinton at least 37 times.
Cherie Blair (Credit: Neil Hall / Reuters)

Cherie Blair (Credit: Neil Hall / Reuters)

Blair and Clinton communicate like friends, although sometimes politics could be involved, such as when Blair asks Clinton to meet with Qatari royal Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned. (The New York Times, 7/31/2015) (US Department of State) The emails are unusual because Clinton almost never sends or receives emails directly with any foreigners while she is secretary of state. In fact, Clinton claims she only exchanged one email with any foreign official. (The New York Times, 3/10/2015)


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)


November 18, 2012: An email forwarded to Clinton is later classified at the “secret” level by the FBI.
Bill Roebuck (Credit: public domain)

Bill Roebuck (Credit: public domain)

State Department official Bill Roebuck sends an email revealing that Libyan police have arrested several people who might have connections to the September 2012 Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack. The subject heading is: “FYI- Report of arrests — possible Benghazi connection.” He says the police “were acting on information furnished by DS/RSO [Diplomatic Security/Regional Security Officer].”—this is followed by five lines that later will be redacted.

Twenty-three words from those lines will be classified at the medium “secret” level. According to classification codes, the FBI requests the redaction because that information could “interfere with [law] enforcement proceedings,” “disclose confidential sources,” and “disclose investigation techniques.” The email’s contents somehow relate to the FBI, because one email reply to it includes the unredacted sentence: “FBI in Tripoli is fully involved.”

Roebuck’s email is forwarded to other US officials.

Then Clinton aide Jake Sullivan forwards the email to Clinton, who apparently makes no reply. (The Associated Press, 5/22/2015) (US Department of State, 5/21/2015)

It will later be alleged that in mid-2015, Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy will attempt to change the classification code of the email to one that would be less politically embarrassing for Clinton, but apparently without success.


July 11, 2014: Nonprofit Quarterly publishes a story with the title, “The Philanthropic Problem with Hillary Clinton’s Huge Speaking Fees.”
Meyer Luskin (Credit: UCLA Newsroom)

Meyer Luskin (Credit: UCLA Newsroom)

It points out that both Bill and Hillary Clinton has recently been paid speaking fees that are sometimes “astronomical,” and significantly greater than other prominent politicians, including former US presidents. Furthermore, the Clintons often give speeches at public or private universities. These speeches are usually paid by private individuals or foundations, not by the universities themselves.

For instance, in March 2014, Hillary was paid $300,000 to speak to students and faculty at UCLA [The University of California, Los Angeles]. The entire fee was paid through a private endowment by Meyer Luskin, president of Scope Industries, a food waste recycling company. In 2012, Bill Clinton was similarly paid $250,000 for a UCLA speech paid by Luskin. In both cases, the money allegedly went to the Clinton Foundation. (Nonprofit Quarterly, 7/11/2014) However, ABC News has tried and failed to get any documentation from the Clintons proving the speaking fees went to the foundation. (ABC News, 7/9/2014)

Nonprofit Quarterly then suggests this means the Clintons’ speeches to universities could be a way for rich donors to give well over the usual campaign spending limits to Hillary’s “all but inevitable presidential campaign” by effectively “repurposing” money through these large speaking fees. “It would be terribly disappointing to imagine that the colleges and universities paying the Clintons these sums might be fronting, hopefully unknowingly, for individual donors supporting these colleges’ lecture series, but individually have personal or political agendas that would benefit from being associated with an institution of higher education that pays Bill or Hillary Clinton a couple of hundred thousand for a speech—even if the money ends up in the Clintons’ family foundation.” (Nonprofit Quarterly, 7/11/2014)


May 22, 2015: One of Clinton’s emails is revealed to contain classified information; Clinton says she is not concerned.

Out of the first batch of Clinton’s over 30,000 emails made public on this day, one is classified, and at the “secret” level, which is the middle classification level. This shows that at least some of Clinton’s emails contain classified information, especially since only a small batch of 296 emails are released on this day.

Asked if she is concerned that such information was stored on her private server, Clinton simply says, “No.” She also says it “doesn’t change the fact all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately.” (The Associated Press, 5/22/2015)


May 22, 2015—June 15, 2015: The State Department asks Clinton’s lawyer for electronic copies of all of Clinton’s emails, but also asks him to delete all copies of one particular email.

Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy sends a letter to David Kendall, Clinton’s personal lawyer. In December 2014, Clinton gave the State Department paper copies of the over 30,000 emails she turned over at that time. But now, Kennedy also asks for electronic copies of them all (which contain metadata and can be more easily searched). However, one email publicly released on May 22 is classified at the “secret” level, which is the middle classification level. The email was sent to Clinton on November 18, 2012, and has the subject heading “FYI- Report of arrests — possible Benghazi connection.”

Kennedy specifically asks Kendall to delete all electronic copies of that email and give the State Department any remaining hard copies of it. Presumably this is due to concerns that the email might not be properly secured and/or Kendall might not have the security clearance to possess it.

On June 15, Kendall responds that he has followed Kennedy’s instructions except that he has been ordered by the House Benghazi Committee to keep electronic copies of all of Clinton’s emails, so he did not delete that one “secret” email. (Judicial Watch, 9/15/2015)


September 11, 2015: Clinton apologized for her email scandal only reluctantly and after great pressure from supporters and aides.
Clinton apologizes during a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa on September 8, 2015. (Credit: Charlie Neibergall / The Associated Press)

Clinton apologizes during a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa on September 8, 2015. (Credit: Charlie Neibergall / The Associated Press)

On September 8, 2015, Clinton finally said that her use of a private email account and private server while secretary of state was “a mistake,” and “I’m sorry about that.”

The New York Times publishes an article based on “interviews with a half-dozen people with direct knowledge” of Clinton’s private decisions that claims it was a long and “tortured path” getting Clinton to make any apology. For months, she resisted pressure from advisers and friends to apologize, saying that her actions had been within the law and to do so would only legitimize criticism of her behavior. But pressure continued to mount and her poll numbers dropped.

In early September 2015, Clinton’s campaign organized focus groups with voters, which showed that voters liked when Clinton took a more conciliatory tone over the issue. Still, Clinton had trouble apologizing. The Times reports, “Frustration reached a fever pitch among some of her supporters, who sounded an alarm in calls to Clinton campaign aides.”

By September 8, Clinton’s strategists “concluded that there was only one way out of it,” leading to her apology in an interview later that day. (The New York Times, 9/11/2015)


September 27, 2015: Clinton apologizes again for making a “mistake” using a private email account and server.

In an interview, Clinton says of the presidential election, “This is a contest, and it’s fair game for people to raise whatever they choose to raise… you know they’re not giving this job away. Of course I take responsibility. It was my choice. It was a mistake back when I did it, and I’m trying to do the best I can to answer all of the questions that people have.” (The Washington Post, 9/27/2015)


September 27, 2015: Clinton claims she did not have any work-related emails regarding the Clinton Foundation while secretary of state.
Clinton on Meet The Press, September 27, 2015. (Credit: NBC)

Clinton on Meet The Press, September 27, 2015. (Credit: NBC)

Clinton is asked by journalist Chuck Todd on Meet The Press about her decision to delete 31,000 emails because they were allegedly personal in nature: “I’m just curious, would anything having to do with the Clinton Foundation, would that have been personal or work?”

Clinton replies, “Well, it would depend. You know, I did not communicate with the foundation. Other people in the State Department did. In accordance with the rules that had been adopted.”

Then Todd asks, “So any of these deleted emails are not going to be foundation-related at all?”

Clinton responds, “Well, they might be, you know, ‘There’s going to be a meeting,’ or, ‘There’s this.’ But not anything that relates to the work of the State Department. That was handled by, you know, the professionals and others in the State Department.” (NBC News, 9/27/2015)


January 19, 2016: Some of Clinton’s emails are too highly classified for an inspector general to read.

In the wake of media reports that Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough discovered some of Clinton’s emails contained above top secret (or “top secret / special access program”) intelligence, an unnamed US intelligence official tells NBC News “that the special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it…” (NBC News, 1/19/2016)


May 3, 2016: Clinton’s email scandal is likened to the charges that led to David Petraeus’ conviction.
Nathan Sales (Credit: Syracuse University)

Nathan Sales (Credit: Syracuse University)

Law professor Nathan Sales compares a possible indictment of Clinton with the conviction of former CIA Director David Petraeus in 2013.

He notes that Petraeus did not ultimately plead guilty to sharing classified information with his mistress and biographer, but to charges related to keeping the information in a desk drawer inside his house. “The conduct that is being investigated [in Clinton’s case]—keeping the documents on an unclassified server—that’s kind of the digital equivalent of locking it in your desk drawer, which is ultimately what did in General Petraeus. […] Based on what we do know so far, I think there is a not insignificant chance that a grand jury could look at the facts and say, ‘Actually, she may have violated various laws protecting classified information.’” (Rolling Stone, 5/3/2016)


May 5, 2016: 36 more Clinton emails are publicly released, suggesting many more still to come.

In January 2016, a federal judge ordered the State Department to release all the known emails of Huma Abedin from her time as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. This is in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch.

Over 29,000 pages of emails are due to be released in batches, and this is the first batch of 241 pages. Some of the emails are between Abedin and Clinton, and most if not all of them appear to be work-related, showing yet again that Clinton did not turn over all her work-related emails when she gave the State Department over 30,000 emails in December 2014.

21 of the emails between Abedin and Clinton date from January 28, 2009 to March 17, 2009; Clinton had said she didn’t use her new email account until March 18, 2009.

Another 15 emails between them date between March 18, 2009 to October 20, 2012, and do not match any of emails in the State Department’s database of the 30,000 publicly released Clinton emails. Whereas 16 emails dating from March 20, 2009 to May 28, 2009 do appear in that database. (Judicial Watch, 5/5/2016) (US Department of State, 5/1/2016) (US Department of State, 5/1/2016) 

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton comments, “These emails further undermine Hillary Clinton’s statement, under penalty of perjury, suggesting she turned over all of her government emails to the State Department. How many more Hillary Clinton emails is the Obama State Department hiding?” (Judicial Watch, 5/5/2016) Since these emails appear to be:

  • a more or less random selection from all four years of Clinton’s time as secretary of state
  • about half of the emails from March 18, 2009 and afterwards are not included in the 30,000 previously released emails
  • this batch makes up less than one percent of all the Huma Abedin emails due to be released
  • Abedin’s emails make up only about 15 percent of the 30,000 emails

One can reasonably estimate that thousands of the over 31,000 emails Clinton deleted actually are work-related and are likely to be publicly released in later batch releases of Abedin’s emails as well as FOIA lawsuits forcing the release of emails from other top Clinton aides. In fact, if this sample is a truly random sample representative of the rest of the emails from Abedin and other top Clinton aides, well over 10,000 of Clinton’s deleted emails could be work-related.


May 9, 2016: Emails from Clinton’s computer technician are still missing.
Elizabeth Trudeau (Credit: C-SPAN)

Elizabeth Trudeau (Credit: C-SPAN)

In December 2015, Politico reported that the State Department cannot a “.pst file” containing the emails from Bryan Pagliano during Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state. Pagliano worked as a State Department computer technician while also managing Clinton’s personal email server. (Politico, 12/11/2015

The department continued to search, but six months later, State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau says, “The department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email .pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure. To be clear, the department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material. The department has located a .pst from Mr. Pagliano’s recent work at the department as a contractor, but the files are from after Secretary Clinton left the department.” She further explains that a small number of Pagliano’s emails have been recovered, apparently from other email accounts.

Although Clinton released over 30,000 work-related emails, only one of them was to or from Pagliano, an email in which he wished her a happy birthday. In 2015, the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a FOIA lawsuit for all of Pagliano’s emails. (ABC News, 5/9/2016)


May 9, 2016: Clinton’s text messages can’t be found.

In March 2016, the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for more of Clinton’s communications. For the first time, that included a request for all of her text and Blackberry Messenger communications.

However, on this day, the RNC states in a court filing that the State Department has recently informed them that it has not found any documents responsive to that request. (ABC News, 5/9/2016) It is possible some texts could still be on Clinton’s BlackBerry, but it is unclear what happened to it, as there have been no media reports that it was given to the FBI.


May 11, 2016: Vanity Fair publishes an article with the title, “Is Hillary’s Email Nightmare About to Explode?”

The article comments, “While Hillary Clinton is busy trying to put the Democratic primary race behind her and pivot to the general election against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, the past several days have served as a stark reminder that Clinton is not yet clear of a potential scandal that still threatens to derail her campaign: the FBI is nearing the completion of its investigation into her use of a private server to send classified emails, with the results expected be released before November. Negative headlines about Clinton’s e-mails have seemed to be reaching critical mass in recent days.” (Vanity Fair, 5/11/2016)


May 12, 2016: Over 120 additional Clinton emails are publicly released.

More of Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state are released by the State Department, due to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits by Judicial Watch. In 2015, Clinton claimed that she didn’t start using her new private email address until March 18, 2009. But all these emails date from before then.

There are 15 emails using her old email address from January 22, 2009 (one day after she became secretary of state) to February 26, 2009. There are another 108 emails using her new email address (hosted on her private server) from January 30, 2009 to March 8, 2009. (Judicial Watch, 5/12/2016) (US Department of State, 4/29/2016) (US Department of State, 4/29/2016) (US Department of State, 4/29/2016) 

LawNewz notes that this email release “contradicts claims made by Clinton and her campaign that she did not begin using the private e-mail server until March 2009. […] The dates of the newly released e-mails also appear to contradict a declaration signed by Clinton, under penalty of perjury, saying she surrendered all her work-related e-mails to the State Department on December 5, 2014.” (LawNewz, 5/13/2016)


May 13, 2016: Trump doubts that the Clinton Foundation is a real charity.
New York Post front page on May 13, 2016, with photos of Bill Clinton and Julie Tauber McMahon. (Credit: New York Post)

New York Post front page on May 13, 2016, with photos of Bill Clinton and Julie Tauber McMahon. (Credit: New York Post)

When asked about the Clinton Foundation, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says, “I assume you put the word charity in quotes.” His comment comes one day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the foundation-connected Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) may have benefitted a for-profit company partially owned by Julie Tauber McMahon.

Furthermore, there have been tabloid accusations that Bill Clinton and McMahon had a long-time romance despite his marriage to Hillary Clinton. Trump says of the story, “Well, it is a bombshell, there’s no doubt about it.” He also says people have been whispering about Bill Clinton’s romantic involvement with McMahon “for years,” but “I have no idea what went on.”

Real Clear Politics reporter Rebecca Berg comments, “It plays right into this narrative that [Trump] is trying to build that Hillary Clinton is crooked, that she’s corrupt, and Donald Trump we saw in the primary used this specter of public corruption very effectively.” (CNN, 5/13/2016) (The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016(The Daily Mail, 7/25/2014) (The New York Post, 5/13/2016)


May 18, 2016: Former Clinton aide Lewis Lukens testifies under oath for two hours about his knowledge of Clinton’s emails and private server.
Lewis Lukens (Credit: Harry Hamburg / The Associated Press)

Lewis Lukens (Credit: Harry Hamburg / The Associated Press)

Lukens has been deposed as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch. He is the first of six to be deposed as part of that lawsuit, which is presided over by federal judge Emmet Sullivan. (The New York Times, 5/18/2016) (Judicial Watch v. State Lukens Testimony 01363 5/26/2016)


May 19, 2016: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says that Clinton’s email scandal “is really a concern.”
Robert Gates (Credit: public domain)

Robert Gates (Credit: public domain)

In an interview, he says, “There’s the whole email thing, which I think is really a concern in terms of judgment. I don’t know what originally prompted her to think that was a good idea. […] Using an offline server I think was an error.”

Gates was defense secretary under both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He has declined to endorse anyone in the 2016 presidential race so far. (USA Today, 5/19/2016)


May 19, 2016: Clinton says “There is no way I won’t be” the Democratic nominee for president.

In an interview, Clinton says, “I will be the nominee for my party… That is already done in effect. There is no way I won’t be.” Clinton calls her delegate lead over candidate Bernie Sanders “insurmountable.” (The Hill, 5/19/2016)


17 May 2016 addenda (14)

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

Philippe Reines (Credit: Washington Post)

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

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

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


September 23, 2010: A CGI commitment benefits a for-profit company partly owned by friends of the Clintons.
Julie Tauber McMahon (Credit: Getty Images)

Julie Tauber McMahon (Credit: Getty Images)

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is a yearly conference connected to the Clinton Foundation that helps inspire and arrange donations to solve problems around the world.

At the personal request of Bill Clinton, the September 2010 CGI conference sets up a financial commitment to benefit a for-profit company partly owned by people who have ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. The company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., is a small start-up that has a business plan to insulate homes and let the owners pay through their monthly utility bills. The company is 29% owned by Scott Kleeb, a Democrat who twice ran for Congress from Nebraska; 29% by Jane Eckert, an art gallery owner; 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon, a close friend of Bill Clinton; 5% by Andrew Tobias, Democratic National Committee treasurer and longtime Clinton friend; and 5% by Mark Weiner, a former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, and also a longtime Clinton friend.

Out of thousands of CGI commitments, this is one of only a handful that involve private individuals making a personal financial investment in a for-profit company, instead of donations to non-profits or charities. The commitment is added to a database at the CGI website, but it will be removed several months later.

The Wall Street Journal will later report, “The reason was to avoid calling attention to Mr. Clinton’s friendship with one company co-owner, Ms. McMahon, and to protect the integrity of Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, according to people familiar with the matter.” Bill Clinton also personally endorsed the company to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, resulting in a $812,000 grant from the Energy Department that year. The IRS requires that tax-exempt charitable organizations like CGI “must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests.” The $2 million commitment is eventually achieved for the company, although it’s not clear which who gave and by how much. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2016)

In 2014, it will be alleged in some tabloids that McMahon had a prolonged affair will Bill Clinton, roughly from 2001 until 2013, but McMahon will deny it and say they are just close friends. (The Daily Mail, 7/25/2014) (Heavy.com, 8/14/2014)


March 13, 2011—March 14, 2011: An email chain shows that Clinton is far from the only US official emailing obviously classified information.
Jeffrey D. Feltman (Credit: Patrick Tsui / FCO)

Jeffrey D. Feltman (Credit: Patrick Tsui / FCO)

On March 13, 2011, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman writes in an urgent email that Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates are sending troops into the neighboring country of Bahrain to quash anti-government protests there. The email is sent to more than 20 other US officials, and then replied to and forwarded ten times in the next 24 hours. Recipients include Clinton, US Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah Jones, Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, and US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

Feltman’s original email and some of the replies contain information later deemed classified. However, many of the emails in the chain are sent through the State Department’s unclassified system, state.gov, nicknamed “the low side,” instead of the department’s system for classified information, nicknamed “the high side.” Clinton’s private server is considered even less secure than “the low side.”

The New York Times will later report on the email chain to illustrate how widespread the emailing of obviously classified information through improper channels had become during this time period. (The New York Times, 5/10/2016) (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)


Around February 1, 2013: Clinton should be debriefed as she leaves office, but it’s unclear if this happens.

State Department officials will later say that Clinton is required to go through a “read-off” debriefing around the time she ends her term as secretary of state on February 1, 2013. In the debriefing, security officials would remind her of her duty to return all classified documents, including ones where the classification status is uncertain. This would include her emails stored on her private server.

Former Diplomatic Security Service official Raymond Fournier will later say, “Once she resigned as secretary, she needed to return classified documents and other government-owned documents, which in this case would have included the server.” The debriefing would include her signing a nondisclosure agreement, but so far no such document has emerged. It also is unknown if the required debriefing took place, and if it did, why she didn’t turn her emails over at that time. Fournier will comment, “She’s in big, big trouble.” (The New York Post, 8/23/2015)

In a July 2016 FBI interview, Clinton will claim she wasn’t given any instrutio on preserving her emails when she left office, which would suggest she never had an exit interview.


July 23, 2014: Clinton’s lawyers are sent some of Clinton’s emails so they can begin sorting them.

Unnamed employees at Platte River Networks (PRN), the company managing Clinton’s private server, discuss in an email sending copies of Clinton’s emails from when she was secretary of state overnight to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff. A company spokesperson will later confirm that the company did begin sending the emails to Mills around this time. (The Washington Post, 9/22/2015) 

A September 2016 FBI report will confirm that PRN sent some of Clinton’s emails in response to a request from Mills, but only those which were sent to or received from a .gov email address while Clinton was secretary of state. An unnamed PRN employee remotely transferred a .pst file containing the emails onto the laptops of Mills and Heather Samuelson (another Clinton lawyer) via ScreenConnect. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Two weeks after the FBI report is released, an email reported in the media will reveal that on this day, PRN employee Paul Combetta overrnighted DVDs of data from Clinton’s server to Clinton Executive Services Corp. (CESC), a Clinton family company.  The exact shipping charge of $46.38 is mentioned in the email. (The New York Post, 9/18/2016)

It is unclear if this is in addition to the files being transferred over the Internet as described by the FBI, or instead of it. Combetta will claim in a September 2015 FBI interview that he ultimately never sent the DVD and only sent the data over the Internet. However, this may not settle the question, because Combetta will be interviewed three times and his answers will often be inacurate and/or contradictory. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)

July 2014 is the same month the State Department first informally requests Clinton’s emails. Mills and Samuelson will be two of three Clinton associates who sort through which emails to turn over and which to delete, along with Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall.

In late September 2014, PRN will send the rest of Clinton’s known emails to Mills and Samuelson.


August 12, 2015: Clinton’s communications director claims the FBI’s Clinton investigation is “nonsense.”
Jen Palmieri (Credit: MSNBC)

Jennifer Palmieri (Credit: MSNBC)

In a mass email sent to Clinton supporters, Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri says that investigations by the FBI and other government agencies into Clinton’s use of a private email account and private server are partisan attacks “designed to do political damage to Hillary in the run-up to the election.”

Palmieri claims that that Clinton is not facing a criminal investigation. “The bottom line: This kind of nonsense comes with the territory of running for president. We know it, Hillary knows it, and we expect it to continue from now until Election Day.” (The Chicago Tribune, 8/12/2015)


August 23, 2015: One of Clinton’s former security managers cannot believe Clinton didn’t recognize “top secret” information in her emails.
Colonel Larry Mrozinski (Credit: Twitter)

Colonel Larry Mrozinski (Credit: Twitter)

Former Army Colonel Larry Mrozinski disagrees with a recent statement by Clinton in which she claimed, “I did not receive any material marked or designated classified, which is the way you know whether something is [classified].” He says, “That’s total BS.” Mrozinski was a senior military adviser and security manager in the State Department under both Condoleezza Rice and Clinton.

Referring to media reports that at least some of Clinton’s emails were deemed TS/SCI, or “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information,” he says, “TS/SCI is very serious and specific information that jumps out at you and screams ‘classified.’ […] It’s hard to imagine that in her position she would fail to recognize the obvious,” such as the keywords and phrases commonly used only in those emails, as well as its sourcing. “This is a serious breach of national security, and a clear violation of the law. […] You are strictly forbidden to discuss TS/SCI of any kind outside a SCIF [a highly secure reading room], [yet] she was viewing and handling it in direct violation of the law and possibly exposing it to our enemies. Anybody else would have already lost their security clearance and be subjected to an espionage investigation. But apparently a different standard exists for Mrs. Clinton.” (The New York Post, 8/23/2015)


September 27, 2015: Clinton alleges it is “totally ridiculous” she used a private server to hide her emails from later public scrutiny.

Clinton is asked if she used her private email server at least in part to avoid scrutiny from future Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or Congressional subpoenas. She responds, “It’s totally ridiculous. That never crossed my mind.” She calls the suggestion “another conspiracy theory.” She says she assumed her emails would be available because she mostly was emailing to other officials who were using government email addresses. (The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/2015) (The Washington Post, 9/27/2015)

However, in 2000, she made a private comment about possibly using email that was recorded on video: “As much as I’ve been investigated and all of that, you know, why would I? […] Why would I ever want to do email? Can you imagine?” (ABC News, 3/6/2015)


May 5, 2016: The FBI is planning to interview Clinton soon.
Former US Attorney Matthew Whitaker (Credit: public domain)

Former US Attorney Matthew Whitaker (Credit: public domain)

It is reported that the FBI is likely to interview Clinton in “the next few weeks.” Clinton’s top aides have been interviewed in recent weeks and it appears Clinton will be interviewed last, at the very end of the FBI’s investigation. (Reuters, 5/5/2016) 

Former federal prosecutor Steven Levin says, “This certainly sends the signal that they are nearing an end to their investigation.” And while the FBI has not said that Clinton is the main target of their investigation, Levin notes that, “Typically, the way we structured investigations when I was a federal prosecutor is that we would seek to interview the target last.”

Former US attorney Matthew Whitaker says the FBI will only “ask her questions that they know the answers to already.” Their aim is to get her to confess to a crime, or to lie, which also would be a crime. (The Hill, 5/8/2016)


May 10, 2016: A key record keeping official says the disappearance of Pagliano’s emails “stink to high heavens.”
Daniel Metcalfe (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / Legal Times)

Daniel Metcalfe (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / Legal Times)

Dan Metcalfe, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy for 25 years, comments on news that the State Department can’t find the emails of Clinton’s computer technician Bryan Pagliano: “If it is true that federal records directly documenting his work no longer exist, then that is awfully coincidental, to put it most charitably—especially given the nature of his work and the role he has played in the Clinton email controversy.”

He adds, “And it certainly now raises reasonable suspicion, as it did with the Senate a few months ago, that something was very much amiss here—either with record creation or record preservation, or both. For someone who has taken the Fifth regarding his government activity, it is more than suspicious that his agency suddenly determine that the records that you would ordinarily expect it to have maintained about his work are just not there. […] In short, the whole thing stinks to high heavens.” (LawNewz, 5/10/2016)


May 10, 2016: The New York Times reports that the FBI’s Clinton investigation “is likely to conclude in the next month.”

The New York Times reports that the FBI’s Clinton investigation “is likely to conclude in the next month.” (The New York Times, 5/10/2016)


May 13, 2016: Clinton clearly violated the Federal Records Act (FRA), but the act is “effectively toothless” when it comes to punishing her.

Dan Metcalfe, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy for 25 years, writes an editorial noting that penalties for violating the FRA are limited to monetary or administrative sanctions, and those can only be applied to people who are still federal employees when violations are discovered.

He says that Clinton’s conduct with her emails “violated the Federal Records Act from beginning to end, including through what appears to be her utter failure to meet any of the requirements placed on a departing employee. This amounts to what can be viewed as the biggest, most consequential violation of the FRA in its history, as well as a blatant circumvention of the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] the likes of which have never before been seen.” However, she will face no penalty for violating this law because she is no longer a federal employee.

Metcalfe calls for Congress to “update the Federal Records Act to provide meaningful sanctions” to prevent others from doing what Clinton did. Nevertheless, Metcalfe says he is a Democrat and will support Clinton if she is not indicted. (LawNewz, 5/13/2015)


May 16, 2016: Clinton may be forced to testify under oath in a civil lawsuit related to her emails.

Judicial Watch formally asks US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth for permission to depose Clinton as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

This is actually one of two similar cases involving Judicial Watch and Clinton. In the other case, handled by federal judge Emmet Sullivan, Judicial Watch has not asked for Clinton’s deposition yet, but they may do so in the future, and they are deposing some of her former aides. In this case, Clinton could be forced to testify under oath about her use of a private email account for government work as well as the State Department’s response to FOIA requests for information related to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. (Politico, 05/16/2016)


May 17, 2016: Depositions in a civil lawsuit related to Clinton’s emails will begin within days and continue until the end of June.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan is allowing Judicial Watch to depose six US officials under oath, mostly Clinton’s former aides, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, on the following dates:

  • May 18: Former deputy assistant secretary of state Lewis Lukens will be interviewed on May 18.
  • May 27: Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills.
  • June 3: Stephen Mull, former State Department executive secretary.
  • June 6: Bryan Pagliano, Clinton’s former computer technician who managed her private server.
  • June 28: Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff.
  • June 29: Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s under secretary for management since 2007 until current.

Judicial Watch can interview each witness for up to seven hours, and the video of the interviews can be made public several days later. The questioning will be limited, but includes the issue of how Clinton’s private server was set up and managed, and why the State Department didn’t properly fulfill FOIA requests for Clinton’s emails. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/2016) (Judicial Watch, 5/17/2015)


13 May 2016 addenda (48)

January 17, 2001: George W. Bush stops using email due to public records laws.
George W. Bush (Credit: public domain)

George W. Bush (Credit: public domain)

Within days of his inauguration, president-elect George W. Bush stops using email. He mentions in his last email, “Since I do not want my private conversations looked at by those out to embarrass, the only course of action is not to correspond in cyberspace.”

Bush’s close aide Karen Hughes says Bush stopped using e-mail because of public records laws, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). (CNet, 1/29/2009)


August 22, 2001: A top al-Qaeda expert quits the FBI due to fallout from a briefcase incident.
John P. O'Neill (Credit: public domain)

John P. O’Neill (Credit: public domain)

John O’Neill, considered the FBI’s top expert on al-Qaeda, retires from the bureau. In July 2000, he left a briefcase containing classified documents in a room with other FBI agents while he went outside to take a cell phone call. His briefcase was missing when he returned. It was recovered by police a short time later with only a pen and lighter missing. Fingerdusting revealed the documents were never touched, and a Justice Department investigation cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing.

However, he felt the incident damaged his career so much that he took a job offer to work as head of security at the World Trade Center. He is killed on 9/11 just a couple of weeks after starting his new job. (PBS Frontline, 10/3/2002) (US Department of State, 3/31/2016)


September 15, 2008: Vice presidential candidate Palin uses private email to avoid public scrutiny, but gets her email account hacked.
Sarah Palin (Credit: The Today Show)

Sarah Palin (Credit: The Today Show)

An unknown group of hackers breaks into the private email account of Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Some snippets of her Yahoo Mail emails are posted on the Internet. (The Washington Post, 9/16/2008)

Just two days earlier, the New York Times reported: “Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal email accounts for state business; dozens of email messages obtained by the New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records. […] An assistant told [Palin] it appeared that such email messages sent to a private address on a ‘personal device’ like a BlackBerry ‘would be confidential and not subject to subpoena.’” (The New York Times, 9/13/2008)


Around January 21, 2009: The State Department sets up a classified email account for Clinton, but she never uses it.

Julia Frifield (Credit: CSpan)

According to a September 2015 letter from Julia Frifield, the department’s assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, “Secretary Clinton did not use a classified email account at the State Department. An account was set up on ClassNet on her calendar, but it was not used.”

ClassNet involves State Department workstations designed to allow employees to view classified information. (The Daily Caller, 2/23/2016)

In 2015, Clinton’s website will address how she read classified information: “The Secretary’s office was located in a secure area. Classified information was viewed in hard copy by Clinton while in the office. While on travel, the State Department had rigorous protocols for her and traveling staff to receive and transmit information of all types.” (Hillaryclinton.com, 7/13/2015)


September 20, 2009: Clinton apparently stops receiving emails from a private email address she’d used as a senator.

Her previous email was: hr15@att.blackberry.net, also known as hr15@mycingular.blackberry.net (AT&T and Cingular are the same company). When she became secretary of state in early 2009, she created a new hdr22@clintonemail.com address on her private server and set up her emails from her old address to be forwarded to her new address. According to Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill, she shuts down the old address around this time, with the last known email coming to that address on September 20, 2009. (Buzzfeed, 7/1/2015)


October 3, 2009: Clinton’s entire email to the US Middle East envoy is later deemed classified.
Clinton's October 3, 2009 email to George J. Mitchell. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton’s October 3, 2009 email to George J. Mitchell. (Credit: public domain)

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 “Phone call report.” The opening word “George-” will later be unredacted while the rest of about seven or eight lines of text written by Clinton will be redacted, due to containing “foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”

The Washington Post will cite the email as a clear example where Clinton wrote and sent sensitive classified information instead of just receiving it, since it’s one of the first of its kind to be publicly released. (The Washington Post, 9/1/2015) (US Department of State, 10/30/2015)


December 1, 2009: Clinton borrows a book that explains how to permanently delete emails.
The book "Send" (Credit: public domain)

The book “Send” (Credit: public domain)

Clinton emails her chief of staff Cheryl Mills, asking to borrow a book entitled, Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. Clinton doesn’t say why she wants to read the book, but ABC News will later note that “it includes some advice that is particularly interesting in light of the controversy over… her decision to delete tens of thousands of emails she deemed to be purely personal.” Chapter six is entitled, “The Email That Can Land You In Jail,” and it includes a section entitled, “How to Delete Something So It Stays Deleted.” It describes how to wipe emails by using a program to repeatedly write new data over the old data. (ABC News, 8/12/2015)


May 2010: The Associated Press files the first FOIA request for Clinton’s communications.
FOIA Logo (US Dept. of Justice)

FOIA Logo (US Dept. of Justice)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is apparently for Clinton’s schedules, not her emails. In March 2015, it will be reported the request still had not be fulfilled, causing the Associated Press to finally sue to force the issue. (The New York Times, 3/3/2015) (The Associated Press, 3/11/2015)


December 23, 2010: A Clinton aide wants to talk on the phone about classified information.

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan emails Clinton and mentions a State Department diplomat who has “some interesting reports from the Pal [Palestinian] side, if you have a moment to talk secure.” The Washington Post will later refer to this as a rare instance where either Clinton or any of her aides shows concern about the communication of classified information. (The Washington Post, 9/1/2015) (US Department of State, 8/31/2015)


June 2011: Huma Abedin’s emails are requested, but the State Department will not turn any over.

Gawker files a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for some of Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin’s email correspondence. The exact scope of the request is not clear from media accounts. The State Department eventually returns no documents, although the timing of their reply also is not clear.

In March 2015, it will be revealed that Abedin primarily used an email account at the clintonemail.com server, just like Clinton did. Presumably this is why no emails are turned over. However, she also used a .gov email account. (Gawker, 3/3/2015)


December 16, 2011: Clinton criticizes Manning, who will be sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified information
Chelsea Manning (Credit: Patrick Semansky / The Associated Press)

Chelsea Manning (Credit: Patrick Semansky / The Associated Press)

Clinton comments on the imminent court martial case of Army Private Bradley Manning (later Chelsea Manning), after Manning gave a large cache of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Clinton says, “I think that in an age where so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so.” (CBS News, 12/16/2011

Manning is later convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison, although none of the documents in question are rated “top secret.”

The Intercept will later note that Clinton’s comments occur “during the time that she had covertly installed a non-government server and was using it and a personal email account to receive classified and, apparently, even top-secret information.” (The Intercept, 8/12/2015)


February 26, 2012: The Obama administration punishes whistleblowers for leaks, but not high-ranking officials leaking favorable information.
Obama signs The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act on November 27, 2012. (Credit: public domain)

Obama signs The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act on November 27, 2012. (Credit: public domain)

The New York Times reports that “[t]he Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance ‘whistleblower laws to protect federal workers,’ has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers. The Espionage Act, enacted back in 1917 to punish those who gave aid to our enemies, was used three times in all the prior administrations to bring cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media. It has been used six times since the current president took office.”

ABC News reporter Jake Tapper says: “I have been following all of these cases, and it’s not like they are instances of government employees leaking the location of secret nuclear sites. These are classic whistle-blower cases that dealt with questionable behavior by government officials or its agents acting in the name of protecting America.”

The Times concludes, “There is plenty of authorized leaking going on, but this particular boat leaks from the top. Leaks from the decks below, especially ones that might embarrass the administration, have been dealt with very differently.” (The New York Times, 2/26/2016)


September 2, 2012: Blumenthal appears to violate US law by attempting to influence Clinton about an election in Georgia.
Bidzina Ivanishvili (Credit: Forbes Magazine)

Bidzina Ivanishvili (Credit: Forbes Magazine)

Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton a long intelligence email to Clinton about an upcoming election in the country of Georgia. It includes a message from John Kornblum, an international lawyer who was ambassador to Germany under President Bill Clinton. A billionaire named Bidzina Ivanishvili is opposing incumbent President Mikheil Saakashvili. Ivanishvili calls for closer relations with Russia, while Saakashvili is supported by the US.

Despite this, Blumenthal and Kornblum clearly favor Ivanishvili in the email, and the email mentions that Kornblum is employed advising Ivanishvili’s political party. The email even includes a personal letter to Clinton from Ivanishvili himself asking for her to change State Department policy to favor him.

In 2015, Gawker will report that this email could be in violation of a federal law designed to prevent foreign powers from covertly wielding influence within the US. Anyone attempting to influence US policy must register as foreign operatives, and records show that neither Blumenthal nor Kornblum do so.

Four lawyers who specialize in this legal field will tell Gawker that both of them should have registered before attempting to influence Clinton. For instance, one attorney says that this email is precisely “the type of activity that is meant to be captured” by the law, even if the lobbying stopped with just that one email. The maximum penalty for violating the law is ten years in prison.

Blumenthal sends the email twice under slightly different names, but there is no apparent reply from Clinton. (Gawker, 3/30/2015) (US Department of State, 11/30/2015) (US Department of State, 11/30/2015)


September 13, 2012: Libya’s president seeks to meet Bill Clinton at a Clinton Foundation event just two days after the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Libyan President Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf (Credit: Reuters)

Libyan President Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf (Credit: Reuters)

On September 13, 2012, two days after US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, Libyan President Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf sends a request to the Clinton Foundation, expressing interest in attending a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting later that month in New York. Foundation official Amitabh Desai then emails Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills for guidance, asking, “Would [the US government] have concerns about Libyan President being invited to CGI? Odd timing, I know.” Mills replies that same day that the State Department “would not have issues.”

On September 17, Desai emails Mills again, specifically asking if al-Magariaf could meet with former President Bill Clinton at the CGI meeting. Mills apparently has no objection, because Desai tells Mills on September 26 that al-Magariaf and Bill Clinton had a ‘very good meeting.” Hillary Clinton also meets al-Magariaf for the first time around this time, on September 24. (LawNewz, 3/22/2016) (US Department of State, 3/14/2016)


January 17, 2013: Blumenthal is sent clearly marked classified information by a business partner.
A screenshot of Blumenthal's email account showing the January 17, 2013 email from Cody Shearer. (Credit: public domain)

A screenshot of Blumenthal’s email account showing the January 17, 2013 email from Cody Shearer. (Credit: public domain)

Clinton associate Cody Shearer sends Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal a clearly classified document in an email. The subject heading for the email is: “Sid – This is Classified.” There is no text, but a document is attached called “Washington,_DC_Itinerary_for_D.doc.” In 2011 at least, Shearer and Blumenthal were business partners.

This email will only come to light because the hacker nicknamed Guccifer will post a screenshot of it after breaking into Blumenthal’s email account in March 2013.

It is not known if Shearer sent Blumenthal other classified information or if Blumenthal forwarded any such information to Clinton. (Gawker, 3/31/2015) Blumenthal has no security clearance to receive classified information at the time.


March 15, 2013—March 20, 2013: Various international media outlets reveal that Guccifer broke into Blumenthal’s email account and discovered Clinton’s private email address.

On March 15, 2013, one day after Guccifer accesses Blumenthal’s account, the US-based website the Smoking Gun publishes an article about this and reveals that Guccifer has sent screenshots of emails between Blumenthal and Clinton. (The Smoking Gun, 3/15/2013) 

The next day, Guccifer sends emails to dozens of news organizations around the world, but especially in the US and Russia, and the screenshots are included. He sends the emails from another account he’s broken into in order to hide his true identity.

The Smoking Gun publishes a story on this on March 18. (The Smoking Gun, 3/18/2013) 

The leak attracts little attention at the time, though some media outlets like Salon, Gawker, and The Russian Times cover it on March 19 and 20. (Gawker, 3/19/2013) (Salon, 3/19/2013) (The Russian Times, 3/20/2013) An article in Gawker asks, “Why was Clinton apparently receiving emails at a non-governmental email account?” (The Washington Post, 3/10/2015) 

Despite this, Clinton does not shut down her server at all, and on March 20, her private email account hosted on the server will still be active. (Gawker, 3/3/2015)


March 20, 2013: A Gawker reporter sends an email to Clinton’s private address and it does not bounce, confirming the account is still active.
The Gawker email to Clinton on March 20, 2013. (Credit: public domain)

The Gawker email to Clinton on March 20, 2013. (Credit: public domain)

This comes five days after the hacker known as Guccifer broke into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal and shortly thereafter publicly revealed Clinton’s exact private email address. The email asks Clinton, “Was the White House aware of your consultations with Blumenthal? And were your emails to and from the hdr22@clintonemail.com account archived according to the provisions of the President Records Act and Freedom of Information Act?” But Clinton never replies, and it doesn’t seem that other reporters ask Clinton these questions in 2013. (Gawker, 3/3/2015)


March 20, 2013: Gawker publishes an article that reveals Clinton’s use of a private email address and notes it “could be a major security breach.”

The article notes that the hacker nicknamed Guccifer broke into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal. “[W]hy was Clinton apparently receiving emails at a non-governmental email account? The address Blumenthal was writing to was hosted at the domain ‘clintonemail.com’, which is privately registered via Network Solutions. It is most certainly not a governmental account. […] And there seems to be little reason to use a different account other than an attempt to shield her communications with Blumenthal from the prying eyes of FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requesters.

Neither the State Department nor the White House would immediately comment on whether the White House knew that Blumenthal was digitally whispering in Clinton’s ear, or if the emails were preserved as the law requires. And if, as it appears, Blumenthal’s emails contained information that was classified, or ought to have been treated as such, it could be a major security breach for Clinton to have allowed it to be sent to her on an open account, rather than through networks the government has specifically established for the transmission of classified material.” (Gawker, 3/20/2013)


Late March 2013 or After: Emails between Clinton and Blumenthal are requested, but the State Department will fail to turn them over.

Gawker files a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking all emails between Clinton and her confidant Sid Blumenthal. Due to the revelation of Clinton’s exact email address by the hacker nicknamed Guccifer in March 2013, the request specifies that address along with Blumenthal’s AOL [America Online] address.

However, even though some emails between Clinton and Blumenthal had been made public by Guccifer, the State Department eventually tells Gawker it could find no records responsive to the request. The exact timing of the request and the reply is not clear. (The New York Times, 3/3/2015) (Gawker, 3/3/2015)


December 4, 2013: Some Bill Clinton doodles are made public due to the hacker Guccifer.
One of Bill Clinton's doodles. Guccifer added his name to it. (Credit: Guccifer / Gawker)

One of Bill Clinton’s doodles. Guccifer added his name to it. (Credit: Guccifer / Gawker)

Gawker publishes some doodles made by Bill Clinton when he was US president. Gawker claims the doodles come from the Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer. It is not clear where or how Guccifer got the doodles, except they come from a folder called “Wjcdrawings.” It is probable the doodles were stored either on The Clinton Library’s server (which has a .gov address) or The Clinton Foundation’s server. (Gawker, 12/4/2013) If it’s the latter, that would help verify Guccifer’s later claim that he looked into Clinton’s private email server, because it apparently was also The Clinton Foundation’s server until early 2015.


June 19, 2014: A Naval officer pleads guilty to storing classified documents on a home computer.
Chief Petty Officer Lyle White (right) signals to Australian Able Seaman Adam Hubbard as he prepares to rappel from an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, on July 8, 2006. (Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Rebecca J. Moat, US Navy / Department of Defense)

Chief Petty Officer Lyle White (right) signals to Australian Able Seaman Adam Hubbard as he prepares to rappel from an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, on July 8, 2006. (Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Rebecca J. Moat, US Navy / Department of Defense)

Naval Chief Petty Officer Lyle White pleads guilty to violating military regulations because he took classified documents from his Navy office and stored them on a hard drive in his house. He says he kept the documents out of convenience, because they were useful for when he was training other soldiers. White is sentenced to 60 days in prison and fined $10,000. The sentence is suspended, but a federal espionage conviction will remain on his record. (The Virginian-Pilot)


March 3, 2015: President Obama’s first press secretary says Clinton should have been aware of the rules to preserve emails.
Robert Gibbs (Credit: University of Delaware)

Robert Gibbs (Credit: University of Delaware)

Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary for President Obama, calls Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account to conduct work “highly unusual.” He says this is especially so considering how frequently cabinet-level officials are told to preserve government correspondence. He says White House officials attend numerous briefings informing them about the need to preserve their email, “making sure it’s part of your official account.” (The Today Show, 3/3/2015)


March 3, 2015: The White House says government employees should at least preserve all their emails.
Josh Earnest (Credit: Bloomberg News)

Josh Earnest (Credit: Bloomberg News)

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest speaks on the recent revelation that Clinton used a private email account. “What I can tell you is that very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees of the Obama administration should use their official email accounts when they’re conducting official government business. However, when there are situations where personal email accounts are used, it is important for those records to be preserved consistent with the Federal Records Act.” (The New York Times, 3/3/2015)


March 3, 2015: Government work on private emails must be preserved.
Laura Diachenko (Credit: public domain)

Laura Diachenko (Credit: public domain)

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) spokesperson Laura Diachenko says that since 2009, federal regulations have stated that “agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.” (The New York Times, 3/3/2015)


March 5, 2015: Clinton’s private server is active and shows obvious security vulnerabilities.
A screenshot of the sslvpn.clintonemail.com log-in on March 4, 2015. (Credit: Gawker)

A screenshot of the sslvpn.clintonemail.com log-in on March 4, 2015. (Credit: Gawker)

Gawker reports that Clinton’s private email server is still active and shows signs of poor security. If one goes to the web address clintonemail.com, one gets a blank page. But if one goes to the subdomain sslvpn.clintonemail.com, a log-in page appears. That means anyone in the world who puts in the correct user name and password could log in.

Furthermore, the server has an invalid SSL certificate. That means the encryption is not confirmed by a trusted third party. Gawker notes, “The government typically uses military-grade certificates and encryption schemes for its internal communications that designed with spying from foreign intelligence agencies in mind,” and Clinton’s server clearly is not up to that standard.

It also opens the server to what is called a “man in the middle” hacker attack, which means someone could copy the security certificate being used and thus scoop up all the data without leaving a trace. The invalid certificate also leaves the server vulnerable to widespread Internet bugs that can let hackers copy the entire contents of a servers’ memory.

As a result, independent security expert Nic Cubrilovic concludes, “It is almost certain that at least some of the emails hosted at clintonemails.com were intercepted.” (Gawker, 3/5/2015)

Clinton still doesn’t shut the server down. However, about two days later, the security settings are changed.


March 5, 2015: Clinton’s private server shows more obvious security vulnerabilities.
A screenshot of the mail.clintonemail.com Outlook log-in on March 4, 2015. (Credit: Gawker)

A screenshot of the mail.clintonemail.com Outlook log-in on March 4, 2015. (Credit: Gawker)

Gawker reports that in addition to the security problems shown by the subdomain to Clinton’s private email server sslvpn.clintonemail.com, there is another subdomain that reveals even more security issues. If one goes to various web addresses of the server’s mail host mail.clintonemail.com, one is presented with a log-in for Microsoft Outlook webmail.

Gawker notes that the “mere existence” of this log-in “is troubling enough: there have been five separate security vulnerabilities identified with Outlook Web Access since clintonemail.com was registered in 2009.”

Furthermore, security expert Robert Hansen says having a public log-in page for a private server is “pretty much the worst thing you can do. […] Even if [Clinton] had a particularly strong password,” simply trying a huge number of passwords will “either work eventually – foreign militaries are very good at trying a lot – or it’ll fail and block her from accessing her own email.” He says that the server shows so many vulnerabilities that “any joe hacker” could break in with enough time and effort.

Independent security expert Nic Cubrilovic says, “With your own email hosting you’re almost certainly going to be vulnerable to Chinese government style spearphishing attacks – which government departments have enough trouble stopping – but the task would be near impossible for an IT [information technology] naive self-hosted setup.” (Gawker, 3/5/2015)


September 1, 2015: It is reported for the first time that Clinton both wrote and received emails that contained classified information.

At least six emails where Clinton’s own extensive comments are redacted are included in the latest batch of her emails released by the State Department. The Washington Post notes that this news “appears to contradict [Clinton’s] earlier public statements in which she denied sending or receiving e-mails containing classified information.”

For instance, one week earlier, she said, “I have said repeatedly that I did not send nor receive classified material, and I’m very confident that when this entire process plays out that will be understood by the everyone.” (The Washington Post, 9/1/2015)


October 12, 2015: Cheryl Mills says Clinton’s use of a private email server should have been done differently.

Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills is interviewed by the Washington Post. She says regarding Clinton’s use of a private server, “gosh, if you could do it again, you’d just do it again differently…” She says, “I wish there had been a lot more thought and deliberation around it,” but she was not involved in its set-up or discussions about it. She also doesn’t recall having discussions about security vulnerabilities. (The Washington Post, 10/12/2015)


February 23, 2016: Secretary of State Kerry declines to answer if Clinton’s emails harmed US intelligence.
Senator Ron Johnson (Credit: John Shinkle / Politico)

Senator Ron Johnson (Credit: John Shinkle / Politico)

Senator Ron Johnson (R) asks Secretary of State John Kerry if he knows whether the US intelligence community has had to “mitigate the harm by the potential that our enemies might have access to that classified material that’s on Secretary Clinton’s server.”

Kerry replies, “I would not be able to discuss that in an open session.”

Then when asked by Johnson about letting his staff use a private server to send and receive classified information, Kerry responds, “In today’s world, given all that we’ve learned and what we understand about the vulnerability of our system, we don’t do that, no.” (The Hill, 2/23/2016) (The Daily Caller, 2/23/2016)


March 23, 2016: A Congressperson calls the Clinton Foundation a “sham” charity.
Representative Marsha Blackburn (Credit: MSNBC)

Representative Marsha Blackburn (Credit: MSNBC)

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R) sends a letter to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], asking it to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s nonprofit status. “The FTC has a history of investigating ‘sham’ charities for false and deceptive statements and should initiate a review of the foundation. […] Consistent with the FTC’s mission and precedent, we request that you review [my] allegations to determine if the Foundation is a ‘sham’ charity.” (The Seaton Post, 3/23/2016)


Late March 2016: Guccifer talks to the FBI while he is extradited to the US.

The Romanian hacker Guccifer is extradited to the US at some point in late March 2016.

In early May 2016, he will claim that on the airplane ride from Romania to the US, “They came after me, a guy from the FBI, from the State Department.” Fox News will report, “A government source confirmed that the hacker had a lot to say on the plane but provided no other details.”

Guccifer will also claim that he talked about some large data files he kept in secure locations as a sort of insurance policy: “I can’t tell now. I can’t tell because I want to talk to the FBI. It is a matter of national security.” However, he seems to indicate the data is not connected to the FBI’s Clinton investigation. (Fox News, 5/7/2016) 

Guccifer has also said he’s talked to US officials since his arrest in Romania in January 2014, including with the FBI in March 2014. (LawNewz, 5/6/2016)


April 4, 2016: Whether the sensitive information in Clinton’s emails was marked classified at the time or not should have no bearing on if she is charged with any crimes.
Ronald J. Sievert (Credit: Pinterest)

Ronald J. Sievert (Credit: Pinterest)

This is according to Ronald J. Sievert, a professor who was a Justice Department official for 25 years. He points out that “The applicable statute, 18 USC 793, however, does not even once mention the word ‘classified.’ The focus is on ‘information respecting the national defense’ that potentially ‘could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.’ 793 (f) specifically makes it a crime for anyone ‘entrusted with […] any document […] or information relating to the national defense […] through gross negligence (to permit) the same to be removed from its proper place of custody.’”

He further notes that, “The fact that the information does not have to be ‘marked classified’ at the time only makes sense because sometimes, as in the case of the Clinton case and other [18 USC 793] cases, the information is originated and distributed before any security officer can perform a review and put a classification mark on it.” (Today, 4/4/2016)


April 5, 2016: Clinton aide Huma Abedin is interviewed by the FBI.
Karen Dunn (Credit: Twitter)

Karen Dunn (Credit: Twitter)

Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff, is interviewed by FBI agents investigating the Clinton email scandal. She is questioned for about two hours at the FBI’s field office. The interview will not be reported on until early May 2016. Other Clinton aides are also interviewed, but only the interview of Cheryl Mills will also reported on before the FBI’s final report is released in September 2016.

Abedin’s lawyer Karen Dunn and the FBI have no comment. (The Los Angeles Times, 5/5/2016)


April 14, 2016: A Republican Senator criticizes President Obama’s comments about Clinton’s email scandal.

Senator John Cornyn (R) claims that Obama is “trying to influence the outcome” of the FBI’s Clinton investigation by his recent public comments. “Time and time again, the White House has projected its desired outcome of this investigation to the public, and worse, to those people conducting it.”

On April 10, 2016, Obama said, “I also know, because I handle a lot of classified information, is that […] there’s classified and then there’s classified. There’s stuff that is really top secret, top secret and then there is stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state that you may not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you can get in open source.”

Cornyn disputes this, saying, “We know that some of Secretary Clinton’s emails were classified even [to the] top-secret/special access program levels, some of the highest levels of classification.” (The Washington Examiner, 4/14/2016)


May 3, 2016: Clinton maintains she and her “representatives” still have not been contacted by the FBI.
Brian Fallon (Credit: MSNBC)

Brian Fallon (Credit: MSNBC)

In an interview conducted on this day by MSNBC, Clinton is asked, “Have you been contacted or have your representatives been contacted” by the FBI to be interviewed as part of their investigation into her email scandal.

Clinton simply replies by saying “No” several times. (MSNBC, 5/3/2016

Two days later, it is reported that Clinton’s former aides were interviewed already, with Huma Abedin having been interviewed one month ago, on April 5, 2016. Furthermore, the FBI is planning to interview Clinton soon. (The Los Angeles Times, 5/5/2016) (Reuters, 5/5/2016)

Reuters will later notice the contradiction and ask Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon about it. Fallon will cryptically reply, “What does ‘representatives’ mean to you, sir?” (Reuters, 5/5/2016) 

Fallon also calls the FBI investigation an “independent review.” (The Associated Press, 5/4/2016)


May 4, 2016: Guccifer tells Fox News he accessed Clinton’s private server in 2013.
Guccifer (left) talks to Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge (right). (Credit: Fox News)

Guccifer (left) talks to Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge (right). (Credit: Fox News)

The Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer, whose real name is Marcel-Lehel Lazar, has been recently interviewed by Fox News. He claims for the first time that after breaking into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal in March 2013, he traced Clinton’s emails back to her private email server.

He tells Fox News, “For me, it was easy […] easy for me, for everybody.” He says he accessed her server “like twice.” He adds, “For example, when Sidney Blumenthal got an email, I checked the email pattern from Hillary Clinton, from Colin Powell, from anyone else to find out the originating IP [Internet Protocol address]. […] When they send a letter, the email header is the originating IP usually…then I scanned with an IP scanner.”

He said he then used some Internet programs to determine if the server was active and which ports were open. However, the server’s contents did “not interest” him at the time. “I was not paying attention. For me, it was not like the Hillary Clinton server, it was like an email server she and others were using with political voting stuff.”

If he breached the server, it appears he didn’t fully understand what he was seeing, and he has not claimed to have uncovered more of Clinton’s emails. He is interviewed from a US prison and has no documents to back up his claim. However, Fox News reports, “While [his] claims cannot be independently verified, three computer security specialists, including two former senior intelligence officials, said the process described is plausible and the Clinton server, now in FBI custody, may have an electronic record that would confirm or disprove Guccifer’s claims.”

Cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright comments, “The Blumenthal account gave him a road map to get to the Clinton server. […] You get a foothold in one system. You get intelligence from that system, and then you start to move.”

Guccifer claims he wants to cooperate with the US government, adding that he has hidden two gigabytes of data that is “too hot” and is “a matter of national security.”

The Clinton campaign responds, “There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell. In addition to the fact he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton’s server are inaccurate.” (Fox News, 5/4/2016) 

Politico reports, “An internal FBI review of Clinton’s email records did not indicate traces of hacking” according to “a source familiar with the situation.” (Politico, 5/4/2016)

An FBI report in September 2016 will assert that Guccifer admitted in his FBI interview that he lied about his claim to have accessed Clinton’s server.


May 4, 2016: Guccifer also tells NBC News he accessed Clinton’s private server in 2013.
Guccifer (left) being interviewed by Cynthia McFadden (right) inside a Romanian prison complex. (Credit: NBC News)

Guccifer (left) being interviewed by Cynthia McFadden (right) inside a Romanian prison complex. (Credit: NBC News)

Hours after Fox News reports on recently interviewing Romanian hacker Guccifer, NBC News reports on their recent interview with Guccifer. Like the Fox News interview, the main story is that Guccifer claims to have gained access to Clinton’s private email server. He tells NBC News, “It was like an open orchid on the Internet. […] There were hundreds of folders.” He also calls her server “completely unsecured.”

An unnamed source with knowledge of the FBI’s Clinton investigation claims “that with Guccifer in US custody, investigators fully intend to question him about her server.”

While Fox News recently interviewed him in a US prison, NBC News interviewed him from a prison in Bucharest, Romania, where he was until he was extradited to the US in late March 2016. (NBC News, 5/4/2016)

LawNewz notes the timing, and asks, “Why would a major news network sit on such an explosive allegation—especially when the claim directly relates to a presidential candidate and the biggest story the 2016 presidential election cycle?” NBC News has not commented. (LawNewz, 5/4/2016)

An FBI report in September 2016 will assert that Guccifer admitted in his FBI interview that he lied about his claim to have accessed Clinton’s server.


May 4, 2016: A judge says Clinton may have to testify under oath in a court case.

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered some of Clinton’s former top aides to testify under oath about Clinton’s private email server and how the State Department handled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding Clinton’s emails. Based on what is revealed in those interviews, due to take place in the next two months, Sullivan says that a sworn deposition from Clinton herself “may be necessary.” Judicial Watch, who made the original FOIA requests, would have to file a separate request “at the appropriate time.”

The Associated Press notes, “That raises the possibility that Clinton could be ordered to testify in the midst of the presidential race.” (The Associated Press, 5/4/2016) (LawNewz, 5/4/2016)


May 4, 2016: Six former State Department officials are to be deposed under oath in the next two months.
Lewis Lukens (Credit: public domain)

Lewis Lukens (Credit: public domain)

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan says the depositions are necessary in order to determine if the department conducted an adequate search regarding Judicial Watch’s 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the employment of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, since she had three outside jobs at one point.

Deposition questions are to be limited to the set-up and management of Clinton’s private server, since the department failed to reveal Clinton’s emails on the server in response to the FOIA request. The former aides due to be deposed in the next two months are:

  • Huma Abedin
  • Cheryl Mills
  • Bryan Pagliano
  • Patrick Kennedy
  • Stephen Mull
  • Lewis Lukens
  • plus, someone to be decided by the State Department.

Judicial Watch could make a video of their interviews public. (LawNewz, 5/4/2016) (The Associated Press, 5/4/2016)


May 5, 2016: The FBI is planning to interview Clinton soon.
Former US Attorney Matthew Whitaker (Credit: public domain)

Former US Attorney Matthew Whitaker (Credit: public domain)

It is reported that the FBI is likely to interview Clinton in “the next few weeks.” Clinton’s top aides have been interviewed in recent weeks and it appears Clinton will be interviewed last, at the very end of the FBI’s investigation. (Reuters, 5/5/2016) 

Former federal prosecutor Steven Levin says, “This certainly sends the signal that they are nearing an end to their investigation.” And while the FBI has not said that Clinton is the main target of their investigation, Levin notes that, “Typically, the way we structured investigations when I was a federal prosecutor is that we would seek to interview the target last.”

Former US attorney Matthew Whitaker says the FBI will only “ask her questions that they know the answers to already.” Their aim is to get her to confess to a crime, or to lie, which also would be a crime. (The Hill, 5/8/2016)


May 5, 2016: The State Department may postpone releasing documents about Clinton’s email security procedures until after the November 2016 presidential election.
Jason Koebler (Credit: Vice News)

Jason Koebler (Credit: Vice News)

In March 2015, shortly after Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email and server was first publicly revealed, Vice News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department for all “communications, presentations, and procedures created by the State Department to secure Hillary Clinton’s email from electronic threats.” In 2015, the Department began releasing some relevant emails, but no other relevant documents have been released.

After two delays, on this day, Vice News is told by the Department that the “estimated completion date” for the FOIA request has been “extended to December 2016.”

Vice News reporter Jason Koebler comments, “The FOIA process is a notorious mess, but it is patently ridiculous that records pertaining to the security practices of someone who stands a very good chance of running the country—and thus being in possession of highly sensitive documents at all times—won’t be made available to the public a year and a half after they were requested.” (Vice News, 5/5/2016)


May 5, 2016: It is reported that some of Clinton’s aides have recently been interviewed by the FBI as part of their Clinton email investigation.

CNN reports that “In recent weeks, multiple aides have been interviewed—some more than once,” according to unnamed US officials. Only Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin is mentioned by name, who was interviewed at least once, on April 5, 2016. The FBI “has been quietly bringing witnesses into an FBI office without drawing attention.” They are likely to try to do the same when Clinton herself gets interviewed in the coming weeks. (CNN, 5/5/2016) (The Los Angeles Times, 5/5/2016)


May 5, 2016: CNN alleges the FBI has not proven that Clinton “willfully” broke the law; the investigation could conclude within weeks.

CNN reports, “The investigation is still ongoing, but so far investigators haven’t found evidence to prove that Clinton willfully violated the law the US officials say.” However, nothing has been said about crimes that did not involve willful violation of the law, such as gross negligence, or unsecure possession of classified material.

Unnamed officials also claim that “The probe remains focused on the security of the server and the handling of classified information and hasn’t expanded to other matters.”

Furthermore, “FBI officials overseeing the probe now expect to complete their work in the next few weeks and then turn over the findings to the Justice Department, which will make a final decision on whether to bring charges against anyone.” (CNN, 5/5/2016)


May 5, 2016: Accounts differ on the results of the FBI’s Clinton investigation so far.

The Washington Post reports, “Prosecutors and FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules, though they are still probing the case aggressively with an eye on interviewing Clinton herself, according to US officials familiar with the matter.” Additionally, “One official said prosecutors are wrestling with the question of whether Clinton intended to violate the rules, and so far, the evidence seemed to indicate she did not.” (The Washington Post, 5/5/2016)

However, a few hours later, NBC News cites unnamed US officials who have a different point of view. “As for where the investigation stands, these officials say it is a long way from over. […] No conclusions have been reached about whether any laws were violated in setting up or using the system, the officials say.” (NBC News, 5/5/2016)


May 5, 2016: “Rocket docket” prosecutors are working with the FBI on the Clinton investigation.
Federal Prosecutor Dana Boente (Credit: public domain

Federal Prosecutor Dana Boente (Credit: public domain

It is reported that FBI investigators looking into Clinton’s email scandal have been joined by prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia. The district is commonly nicknamed the “rocket docket” for the speed with which cases move through it. It is home to the CIA and the Pentagon, so it often deals with national security and terrorism cases. The office is led by veteran federal prosecutor Dana Boente. Prosecutors from the office have been working with the FBI to interview Clinton’s top aides. (The Washington Post, 5/5/2016)


May 9, 2016: Blumenthal refuses to say if the FBI has interviewed him.

Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal is asked if the FBI has interviewed him as part of their Clinton email investigation. He replies, “You know, I don’t really want to talk about an ongoing inquiry right now.” He says he will wait to speak until after the investigation is over. (The Hill, 5/9/2016)

In September 2016, it will be revealed Blumethal was interviewed by the FBI in January 2016.


May 10, 2016: A recent interview shows differences between FBI investigators and Justice Department prosecutors in the Clinton email investigation.
Cheryl Mills (right) and her attorney Beth Wilkinson (left) (Credit: Getty Images)

Cheryl Mills (right) and her attorney Beth Wilkinson (left) (Credit: Getty Images)

The Washington Post reports that Clinton’s former aide Cheryl Mills was recently interviewed by the FBI as part of their Clinton investigation. (It will later be revealed the interview took place on April 9, 2016.) Not long after it started, an FBI investigator asked Mills about how Mills chose which of Clinton’s emails to turn over to the State Department and which ones to delete.

It has been reported that process was done by Mills along with Clinton associates David Kendall and Heather Samuelson. However, Mills’ lawyer Beth Wilkinson and the Justice Department had agreed the topic would be off-limits. Mills and Wilkinson left the room, but they returned a short time later. Ultimately, Mills was not asked about that topic.

The Washington Post reports that Justice Department “prosecutors were somewhat taken aback that their FBI colleague had ventured beyond what was anticipated…” The topic was considered off-limits because “it was considered confidential as an example of attorney-client privilege.” Mills is a lawyer, but she served as Clinton’s chief of staff and it has never been reported that she has legally represented Clinton.

The Post also reports, “It is not completely unknown for FBI agents and prosecutors to diverge on interview tactics and approach, and the people familiar with the matter said Mills answered investigators’ questions.” (The Washington Post, 5/10/2016)


May 11, 2016: FBI Director James Comey says the FBI is conducting an “investigation” into Clinton’s emails and server, not a “security inquiry.”

Speaking to reporters, he adds, “We’re conducting an investigation […] That’s what we do. […] It’s in our name [the Federal Bureau of Investigation]. I’m not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry.’” Clinton and her spokespeople have repeatedly referred to it as a “security inquiry” or a “security referral.”

Comey also says that he feels “pressure” to complete the Clinton investigation soon, but “I don’t tether to any external deadline,” such as the Democratic convention in July 2016. He otherwise deflects questions about the investigation, saying it is on-going. (Politico, 5/11/2016) (The New York Times, 5/11/2016) (The Hill, 5/11/2016) (FBI, 5/14/2016)