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)

March 11, 2015: A State Department inspector general report is released which refutes Clinton’s assertion made one day before.

Tom Blanton (Credit: NSA Archives / George Washington University)

Tom Blanton (Credit: NSA Archives / George Washington University)

On March 10, 2015, Clinton claimed that her decision to use a private email account “for convenience” didn’t interfere with the State Department’s ability to retrieve those emails later. But a March 11, 2015 inspector general report highlights how poorly the department has permanently archived emails. 

For instance, in 2011, only 61,156 department emails out of a billion were formally archived, a rate of far less than one percent. In 2013, the number—41,749—was even lower.

The report suggests that most employees “who did not use record emails as intended [said] they were usually unaware of what types of information should be saved as record emails. The department does not give employees adequate training to distinguish between information that should be preserved as records and information that may be discarded.” Furthermore, “Many interviewees expressed a fear that if participants in a debate knew that their opinions would be permanently recorded or accessible in searches, they would not express their opinions in an uninhibited manner.” (Politico, 3/11/2015)

Tom Blanton, director of the government’s National Security Archive, comments, “Just because [Clinton] sent to people at ‘state.gov’ addresses, it’s not at all a guarantee that it’s been preserved.” Additionally, “When an official leaves office, and most of her direct aides in fact have left the State Department, within 90 days the IT [information technology] folks at State wipe out their accounts unless there’s a special intervention.” (National Public Radio, 3/11/2015)

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)

August 18, 2015: Clinton’s private server has recently been managed by a surprisingly small company with no special security features.

The door to the apartment where Platte River Networks was based until mid-2015. (Credit: Matthew Jonas - The Daily Mail)

The door to the apartment where PRN was based until mid-2015. (Credit: Matthew Jonas – The Daily Mail)

Platte River Networks (PRN) managed Clinton’s server from June 2013 until early August 2015. Former employee Tera Dadiotis calls it a “mom and pop shop.” She adds, “At the time I worked for them they wouldn’t have been equipped to work for Hilary Clinton because I don’t think they had the resources… [It was] not very high security, we didn’t even have an alarm. […] [W]e literally had our server racks in the bathroom. […] We only had the three owners and like eight employees. We didn’t do any work in other states.” PRN’s facility was a 1,900 square foot apartment in an ordinary apartment building until it moved into a larger space in June 2015. (The Daily Mail, 8/18/2015)

However, the security of PRN’s offfice may not have been directly relevant to Clinton’s server, because a 2016 FBI report will give no indication that her server was ever physically located at the office. It was put in an Equinix data center in New Jersey instead, and mostly managed remotely by PRN. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

PRN also has ties to prominent Democrats. For instance, the company’s vice president of sales David DeCamillis is said to be a prominent supporter of Democratic politicians. He once offered to let Senator Joe Biden (D) stay in his house in 2008, not long before Biden became Obama’s vice president. The company also has done work for John Hickenlooper, the Democratic governor of Colorado.

Another former employee says everyone was told to keep quiet about the fact they were doing work for Clinton. (The Daily Mail, 8/18/2015)

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 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

July 28, 2016: Whistleblower Edward Snowden criticizes WikiLeaks for its willingness to compromise people’s privacy.

160728EdwardSnowdenDigitalTrends

Edward Snowden (Credit: Digital Trends)

He writes on Twitter, “Democratizing information has never been more vital, and WikiLeaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.” Snowden was an NSA contractor, but he has been hiding in Russia to avoid prosecution after exposing illegal surveillance practices by the US government.

On June 22, 2016, Wikileaks released 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. But they didn’t redact names, social security numbers, credit card information, or other personal data. (Raw Story, 7/28/2016)

Later on July 28, 2016, WikiLeaks replies on Twitter with the comment: “@Snowden Opportunism won’t earn you a pardon from Clinton & curation is not censorship of ruling party cash flows.”

When Snowden leaked government documents, he gave them to reporters who made some redactions. Whereas WikiLeaks has seemingly made no redactions at all, as Snowden has pointed out. (The Washington Post, 7/28/2016)