“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
By Robert Young Pelton
Did Hackers Hack Their Hack To Hide Their Hack?
In Part One of The Hack we learned that after a Romanian cab driver reset Sydney Blumenthal’s email password and published screen shots on The Smoking Gun on March 15, 2013. We also know that Hillary Clinton did not use a .gov address for her work as Secretary of State, she barely even used a computer, instead relying on her non secure Blackberry and assistant Huma Abedin to organize her life. In 2014 when her 62,320 emails were subpoenaed Clinton’s lawyers handed over printed out copies of emails and over a professionally erased server with the explanation that Clinton was choosing “not to keep” 31,830 personal and unrelated emails. And we learned that all her electric communications during her first three weeks of her job as Secretary of State vanished when her staff switched to new, more secure server.
All this was discovered during and after the Benghazi hearings and triggered a hunt for the missing emails. Weaponized for the 2016 elections by the Trump campaign staff and camp followers.
In Part Two we went inside the search for “Clinton Dirt”. A quest by inner members and hanger-ons of the Trump campaign for the deleted emails that also seemed to attract the interest of Russians hired hackers, eager to drop sanctions and provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Those Russians seen the hunger for these missing emails slipped their tentacles fully inside and around the Trump campaign but never provided any of the missing Clinton emails. Based on the original Guccifer’s hack of Blumenthal’s AOL account, it was clear that Clinton emails existed in many other email accounts.
So why was the nation shocked when on April 18, 2016 the Democratic National Committee was hacked by a person who called themselves Guccifer 2.0.?
At first the DNC did not know how to respond to the hack. When the CEO of the Democratic National Committee Amy Dacey was told by their IT people that something odd was happening with their servers, Michael Sussman, a DNC lawyer called the President of a company called CrowdStrike. Crowdstrike is a cyber security company owned by Moscow-born CTO Dmitri Alperovitch and former McAfee anti-virus vet George Kurtz. The investigation was led by former Marine Cyber Red Teamer Marine Robert Johnston.
An organization with the high profile, donor data and sensitive communications during a national election and felony level crimes being committed would normally call the FBI, but the FBI was still investigating Clinton’s use or misuse of a private server and financial irregularities in her charitable foundation…and it was an election. Worse, If the FBI froze the DNC system as evidence or if the media were to link the amateur way the Clinton handled her sensitive State Department work and threw in the childlike way the DNC was hacked, the election might be over for Clinton.
The forensics of the DNC hack, as outlined in reports and a lawsuit filed by the DNC, quickly showed that there appeared to be two different Russian hacking groups involved and that the recent hack was only the latest attempt.
The two Guccifers were unrelated….and that the DNC servers and backup servers had been compromised a full year earlier on July 27, 2015 and then again in the more well known attack on April 18, 2016 by “Fancy Bear”, a common software used to compromise email systems.
The DNC would later sue the Russians, WikiLeaks and everyone they thought were linked to their hack, insisting that “Russia mounted a brazen attack on American Democracy”. The DNC would complain in their suit that they were forced to “decommission more than 140 servers, remove and reinstall all software, including the operating systems, for more than 180 computers, and rebuild at least 11 servers.”
And that was the good news.
The bad news was that in addition to the two (actually three) hacks, every single email in the DNC system had been downloaded to another unknown storage device. And it wasn’t even news to the DNC IT department. In September of 2015 the FBI told the IT department that they had been hacked. And that wasn’t the worst news…the entire State Dept during Clinton’s time had been under attack and even the White House had been hacked.
The Democrats and White House had been hacked as far back as 2014, Our government only discovered this after the Dutch AIVD intel division tipped off the NSA while watching the hack attempts…in real time. The more appropriate question would have been, had the Democrat’s data ever not been comprised?
Fast forward to 2016 and no one should have been surprised that Clinton’s devices and communications were under attack. Based on what the FBI had told the DNC and what Crowdstrike later discovered that a foreign government was aggressively trying to gather data about an election and perhaps find compromising information that could be used a d against them. This was linked by the media to the assumption that Trump somehow began this process of illegal hacking when famous dirty trickster Paul Manafort joined his campaign.
Clinton had caught Putin’s attention long before her run for President.
In reality the DNC and Clinton had been outed by the media for terrible security protocol and they decided to spin the hack. The DNC worked out a deal with the Washington Post which ran an exclusive piece on June 14, 2016. The headline screamed “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump”. The article made it seem like the hacker was after “Trump Dirt” and downplayed the previous disastrous data and customer data breaches. The problem was, there was no Trump Dirt hidden in the DNC servers just a massive dull “oppo” piece constructed from of published articles that an intern could assemble using Google. It wasn’t a big secret that Trump had a lifetime questionable background and associates.
“It’s the job of every foreign intelligence service to collect intelligence against their adversaries”, said Shawn Henry president of CrowdStrike and assuring donors that no personal data was stolen. Which appeared to later be a bald faced lie since the among many docs that hacker Guccifer 2.0 posted on his blog were detailed spreadsheets with donor information. The WaPo article parrots the claim. “The DNC said that no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken suggesting that the breach was traditional espionage not the work of criminal hackers.” Again not true. Every part of the DNC email system including back up servers had been compromised, ever since Clinton announced her run for the office of President on April 12th of 2015.
Before that there numerous clear indications that the Clintons were also targets of many hacking attempts and attacks. And Hillary Clinton as a private citizen angling for a high profile job in Obama administration had made it very easy for anyone who knew where she lived to find her email addresses, URLs and server location in her home.
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Let’s go back. Was Hillary Clinton naive about technology? We know that the Clinton’s transition to private life was focused on making money. We also know that their approach to security and tech was minimal and amateur.
The Clinton’s had two, very easy to google homes, a 5,152 sq ft brick mansion in Whitehaven and a $1.7m, 5,232 sq ft cut de sac home in Chappaqua, NY built in 1889) and linked them together using a computer server left over from her failed Presidential campaign along with two iMacs one in each home office. The once sleek aluminum Apple G5 tower was introduced in 2003 and was discontinued in August of 2006. The legacy URL for the Clintons was wjcoffice.com would forward emails to husband’s “presidentclinton.com” account but Hillary didn’t use that URL for obvious, ironic reasons. As Senator from New York, she used the Blackberry account; firstname.lastname@example.org which didn’t store emails except on the actual Blackberry handset.
It is coincidental but on December 23, 2009 Clinton assistant and keeper of the Clinton IT network,
Justin Cooper sent an article by email to Clinton staff warning them of two massive meltdowns of Blackberry service caused by software glitches. It was of course read on everyone’s Blackberry. Hillary also asks Cooper on where her messages went:
Tuesday,September 29, 2009 7:28 AM
on behalf of Justin Cooper
Re: Lost messages
Yes. They are all backed up on the server the easaiest and quickest way is to log on to the webmail server and click on the drafts folder or the inbox. If you have not used the webmail happy to walk you through that or have huma help you. Your old berry has messages back to august 29 2009 and then only saved messages prior to that. The saved messages should be on your berry as well.
But wait, this is September of 2009, Clinton had a new server installed in her home after she became Secretary of State. Huma Abedin even set up an new URL called clintonemail.com on January 13, 2009.
On January 24, 2009 the State Department proposed putting together a secure communication system for her but she declined. It was actually former Secretary of State Colin Powell that warned her that if people find out that she was using a Blackberry to do both personal and government business, then all that content including personal communications can become the official record and is subject to oversight and FOIA.
As Secretary of State, Clinton was surprised to discover that Blackberries were banned in sensitive communication areas or SCIFs. The standard procedure is to locker your phone and pick it up as you leave. Clinton’s office on the 7th floor of the State Department was a secure area and her phone was banned. Despite this she used her insecure phone backed up to her home server.
On March of 2009, after Clinton began her job as Secretary of State, Bryan Pagliano a Clinton aide turned State Department employee installed two new servers in the Clinton’s basement in Chappaqua New York. Delegated to her assistant Huma Abedin, Abedin turned to long time Bill Clinton assistant Justin Cooper, “I usually called Justin. He was our go-to guy. He always was, you know, ‘I’m having a problem, can you help me fix it,’ and he always did…”
Cooper along with Doug Band had been around Bill Clinton since 2006 and by 2009 he pulled down a $127,200 annual salary from the Clinton Foundation. Cooper not only helped the former President in his post Presidential career, but also helped him with his book and financials.
After Hillary lost the 2008, Cooper helped Hillary Clinton with her comms and emails, Cooper turned to Bryan Pagliano who actually put the Clinton email system together. Tech savvy Cooper, watched the activity logs and made it clear to the young Pagliano that wanted to make sure that he had physical access to the server, something the more IT- sophisticated Pagliano didn’t agree with.
Pagliano was smart enough to tell Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills of his concerns about the Clintons using a rudimentary home server and smart enough to refuse to testify in front of congress after being served with a subpoena. Pagliano, who worked for Clinton as a political appointee between May 2009 and February 2013, was granted immunity b the DoJ and also plead the fifth amendment multiple times and refused to cooperate with government investigations into Clinton’s emails.
Clinton also had no interest in responding to the a request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as to why Pagliano had so few emails on record. The truth may simply be that Clinton used a Blackberry and kept her sensitive business off FOIA friendly .gov channels.
As part of her job, Clinton had “SCIF’s” (SCIF means Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) installed in her northwest Washington DC home and in Chappaqua, New York, each with a secure phone and fax machine. Her favorite working tool was the lowly Blackberry cel phone, Clinton resigned herself do doing her sensitive office business with the three supplied secure phones, color coded for level of security but outside of the office Clinton and her “berry” were inseparable.
On March 18, 2009, Clinton’s new server set up was installed in Chappaqua, replacing what Justin Cooper would later confirm to Utah Rep Jason Chaffetz in his 2016 missing emails query n 2016 an “out of the box solution.” running on one Apple G5 server and two iMacs, one in each Clinton home.
The new gear was good: a Dell PowerEdge 2900 running Windows Small Business Server and Microsoft Exchange and a Dell PowerEdge 1950 running Blackberry Enterprise Server to handle her and the staff’s Blackberry communications. A 3-terabyte hard drive was a good setup for a small to medium sized business and could handle the expected volume of emails Clinton’s team.
How email heavy was Hillary Clinton? Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills estimated she received an average of 500 emails a day at this time. There was no clear understanding of what was archived to where or by whom but the new server was reliable in handling the volume of traffic plus Blackberry comms. The servers automatically made daily backups and at some point an external Seagate back drive was added until September when a Cisco Network Attached Storage device was added. Servers are usually backed up to the cloud or stack of hard drives usually configured in a group of hard drives called a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) meaning if drive one goes down the others still have the data. Often these drives are swapped out in and kept in separate locations. In other words there are plenty of ways to backup data if a computer or drive goes down. The G5 server operated without encryption and even the Clinton URLs did not have an SSL certificate until March 18, 2009 the date the new server was installed. SSL or Secure Sockets Layer allows encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication.
Despite all the various methods available to backup critical data and the seeming lack of basic safeguards, there was one major problem when the new server was installed, intentional or otherwise. When the new server and account email@example.com was fired up all of Clinton’s previous semails and messages vanished. Forever. Without any any sense of suspicion this meant that when Clinton became an elected federal government official she deleted all of her emails and electronic communications. And the back ups.
It is important to note that the March installation/migration meltdown handled by, Cooper and Pagliano two competent IT Clinton insiders It also meant that whatever Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was working on electronically as a government employee for the previous seven weeks no longer existed except in files and emails she might have sent to other people. In corroboration of this, Clinton did not provide any emails before March 19, 2009 to the FBI..
The DNC hack would later show the cross over between Clinton’s personal, business and Clinton Foundations communications as Chelsea Clinton, John Podesta and members of both Clinton’s staff would cross pollinate discussions and emails. It could be expected that the missing emails could also contain that same structure. Just as Colin Powell hard warned her earlier about the need to separate personal and business. Let alone classified and Secret communications.
Luckily Huma Abedin was the main conduit for Clinton’s communications. She used a Dell Innova laptop that she shared with her husband Anthony Wiener. Clinton would regularly send, cc and bcc emails from her Blackberry to Abedin for print out or discussion later. It was not known what security was installed on the Innova laptop but anyone who had access to either computer would know the location and ID of everyone on the network.
This mundane laptop will feature prominently in Clinton’s career and not in a good way.
After the disappearance of the first round of personal and government emails, the previous Apple computer hard drive and we assume back ups were wiped clean and repurposed to a Clinton staff member. This type of cavalier handling of government and personal communications would be viewed by investigators as a convenient and deliberate attempt to hide communications rather than the Clinton’s technical incompetence. But without any emails or Blackberry comms surviving what evidence was there?
It is easy to paint Clinton as a luddite, but remember she had very savvy tech people handling and closely guarding her data. When matched up against Clinton’s legal background and long years in public office with full knowledge of the laws that require preserving federal and Presidential records the two month missing email gap becomes suspicious and self serving.
If you add the reality that “Evergreen” (as Clinton was codenamed by the Secret Service) was surrounded by security staff and was constantly aware of the strict protocol for transmitting and storying classified, secret and other sensitive government communications the potential for deceit becomes more obvious. Matched up against the clear difference between a server, a backup storage devices, networks, email software, text messages, Blackberry communications and the need to use encryption, passwords, security protocols etc etc. it becomes more problematic. For a person holding one of the most important positions in the world dealing with sensitive diplomatic discussions to not care about the handling and whereabouts of her communications is well, criminal.
But let’s just assume that Hillary Clinton didn’t know or didn’t care about all this…
The FBI estimates that Clinton went through about a dozen different Blackberries while Secretary of State, Huma Abedin estimates 11and says that Hillary didn’t even know her own login information. Cooper remembers smashing a couple of Blackberries but it is not know what happened to the others. Clinton preferred the older BlackBerry Curve 8310 with the trackball and would switch handsets based on Email was just a small part of her commutation stream, only about a dozen people sent emails. Most went through Abedin, who used a cheap consumer laptop. There is no evidence of Clinton using a laptop or computer so it can be assumed that the aging non secure Blackberry was the weapon of choice. Again with all these duplicate devices and backups. Where are the missing emails?
Journalist Garrett M. Graff working for Politico stitched together numerous interviews and documents to paint the clearest story of a group of civil servants simply not able to keep up with technology and dodging rules in the interest of getting things done. That same incompetence. That James Comey would carefully describe as “extremely careless” in an official statement July 5, 2016. Again so let’s just assume that Hillary was behind the curve on technology and security. Let’s also assume that Huma Abedin was the central hub for most of Clinton’s email traffic. It would be more likely that a smart hacker would go after an associate to get Clinton’s emails. Let’s say like, Clinton confidante Sydney Blumenthal who had his archaic AOL account hacked in March of 2013, or John Podesta who in March of 2016 was told to go ahead and click on a bad link that uploaded his password to Russian hackers.
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The list of outside hacks and successful breaches against Clinton staff and friends is impressive.
The first official time Clinton’s personal server was severely attacked was January 9, 2011 according to Clinton employee and server custodian, Justin Cooper in an interview with the FBI. Someone was using a software program to try multiple passwords to get in. Cooper actually turned the server off. The IP address was quickly blocked. The Clinton server was set up so only a few people could access it, firewall logs and notices were sent to Cooper. Pagliano knew this was deliberate and serious. Cooper also told Abedin that someone was trying to hack into the server. What kept the email safe was the small number of users despite the vast numbers of attempts to guess the passwords.
By the spring of 2011 The Clinton’s email server was under full assault. A number of Clinton’s employees in the State Department employees had been phished and typed in their personal Gmail and Yahoo accounts
On March 11, Eric Boswell, the State Dept security head sent an email to everyone warning of the attacks but it wasn’t until June that Pagliano trekked to Chappaqua to upgrade the two servers. The FBI would use forensics and determine that it wasn’t u until January 2013 that someone managed to hack into the Clinton server. The trail was left by someone using the Tor browser and three times, successfully rummaged through a female aide to Bill Clinton. The official version is that this is the only successful hack into the Clinton server. Hillary Clinton would resign as Secretary of State on February 1, 2013.
In would be in March of 2013, that Guccifer would hack into Sydney Blumenthal’s email and Colin Powell’s AOL account, again by resetting the passwords using clues. Guccifer aka Lazar was able to get 30,000 emails, the attachments and address books. The next morning when Blumenthal realized he had been locked out he reset his password and no idea he had been hacked. Now remember the number of times that Clinton staffers were locked out or tried to log into their accounts. By March 15, the Clinton email URL was public and the server was constantly scanned for weaknesses by Russian sources.
So who was hacking Clinton so hard?
Vladimir Putin was a former Lt Colonel in the KGB, a spy turned nationalist who had effectively ruled Russia since a curious string of apartment bombings launched him into to power in 1999. He was running for election as Prime Minister in 2009, after taking a time as President due to term limits letting his close friend Dmitri A. Medvedev be President. He made a powerful outdoor speech in front of an estimated 100,000-supporters at the Luzhniki Stadium on February 23, demanding that foreign interference in Russian affairs should not be allowed.
Vladimir Putin didn’t like Obama’s well intentioned February 2009 “reset” of U.S./Russia relations. America had sat out Putin’s successful war to steal back Chechnya but pushed back as Russia made a grab for parts of neighboring Georgia. In July, 2009, President Obama met with Putin and President Medvedev. In the Moscow meeting, Putin monopolized a breakfast meeting lecturing Obama in a monologue about Russia’s perspective of global politics.
Putin also didn’t like Obama’s new hawkish Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Putin had accused Hillary Clinton of creating unrest in Russia and manipulating the Russian elections. Prime Minister Putin scolded Clinton publicly in March of 2010. He was upset that sanctions on Russian companies doing business in penalties on firms doing business with Iran, Syria and North Korea was hurting business.
On November 27, 2010 there are a number of attempts to penetrate the Clinton server as detailed in a series of emails between Clinton techs Cooper and Pagliano. Denial of Service attacks, multiple failed log in attempts from at two staffers could also have meant someone changed their passwords forcing them to reset them again to gain access after the hack.
On December 3, 2011, Clinton spoke out against Russian “elections that were neither free nor fair” Putin later accused Clinton of disrupting Russians parliamentary elections and blamed her for sending “signals” to Russian groups to protest. There is no evidence to support a link between Putin’s anger at Clinton and the brute force attempt to hack her server but the timing is worth remembering. As 2011 developed more and more hacking attempts against State Department employees began to unnerve staff as they received more and more “spearphishing” emails.
Before we leave the topic of Justin Cooper as the loyal Clintonite advisor and IT soldier it is important to note that Clinton daughter Chelsea accused Cooper of loading spyware onto Clinton related emails accounts and devices. “I know Justin reads my Dad’s emails’ Chelsea would complain in a leaked DNC email to John Podesta. Chelsea accuses Cooper of multiple acts of wrongdoing in a November 2011 email including loading spyware on a Clinton foundation staffer’s computer; “Ilya (Ilya Aspis was a special assistant to Bill Clinton at the Clinton Foundation) physically saw/caught Justin a couple of days ago reading his bberry and loading the same spyware onto his computer that he loaded onto Bari’s (Bari Lurie, an assistant to Chelsea Clinton). computer”
She continues, “multiple people shared with me how upset they were at hearing how Justin referred to my father in the last week in very derogatory ways widely sadly – Oscar told my father he knows Justin reads his emails”, then Chelsea wraps up, “As ever, on some of the above I am sure there are three sides as my grandmother would say – his, hers and the truth.”
Again Cooper had worked with in the White House and with the Clinton’s since 1999 and was a key part of the Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative and the Clinton Family Foundation. The Clinton daughter’s account of Cooper not just a falling out with her father, but hacking into other Clinton devices would bring his need to have access to the Clinton server at Chappaqua into question as well.
Justin Cooper worked for the Clinton’s for 15 years but according to Chelsea, by late 2011 he was clearly not a happy man.
So four years later after Guccifer broadcast Clinton’s email and URL to the world, there was a decision to change again. but they didn’t forget the email Apocalypse of March 2009. Monica Hanley Hillary’s “confidential assistant”, began carefully downloading all of Hillary’s emails from her email accounts onto a old MacBook borrowed from Bill Clinton’s office. The logic was that these emails would be helpful in writing Clinton’s autobiography. In April, it was announced that she would be paid $14 million dollars to write “Hard Choices” , the book that was designed to begin her journey to run for President of the United States. Emails, that were not considered important enough by Clinton to be kept as official records on government servers.
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We know the that the Cintons used a plugged Apple. G5 server and lost months of data when they upgraded to a new Dell server at the advice of her employer while Secretary of State. We also know that on June 30 2013 in her return to private life, Clinton physically migrated her servers and the data that was on her servers at her home to a professional data management company in New Jersey called Platte River Networks. They kept the old servers running for 60 days before migrating to a modern cloud based system backup. The “cloud” stores data across multiple networked storage systems and is better than traditional hard drive or swap out RAID back up. But when the Clinton people found out that her old server was being backed upon the cloud, they specifically terminated that feature. They went back to a traditional hard drive back system. This is pretty convincing proof of an premeditated need to control data should it need to be quick deleted rather than to archive it. By February 2014, Clinton assistant, Monica Hanley had finished loading 5 years of Clinton’s emails on to the Mac Laptop. She shipped it to New Jersey and them them back it up to an archive email account. The hope at the time was that the emails would also be useful in writing her future memoir.
The exposure of the email account encouraged Clinton’s aides to change the secretary of state’s address. Abedin selected firstname.lastname@example.org, but the staff feared that they’d lose her existing emails when they changed addresses, so Monica Hanley retrieved an old MacBook laptop from Bill Clinton’s Harlem office and spent several days at her apartment transferring years of Hillary’s emails from the server files into Apple’s Mail program on the laptop.
It appears that Hillary Clinton put importance on retaining her electronic communications.
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To understand just how aggressive and often hackers targeted the White House, we go back to the trail of evidence from the Dutch counterespionage group who watched the emails of the White House being hacked in the summer of 2014. As the Russian state spies become emboldened, they watched the attack on the State Department in November of that year. Note that the discussion about the DNC hack narrative removes Hillary Clinton’s very real exposure to hackers and that the White House had been hacked in the summer of 2014.
According to AIVD a unit of Dutch intelligence, the cyber team watched Russian state hackers successfully phish the White House as far up the chain until they got into President Obama’s emails. They did not get access to Obama’s secure Blackberry but by 2014 it was clear the U.S. government had been compromised at the highest levels.
The Dutch agency had located a building in the university complex off Red Square in Moscow where hackers using Cozy Bear tools routinely went after foreign state assets. By November of 2014, the 10 or so Russian hackers working in Moscow had enough email addresses from their White House hack to go after a State Department target. The Dutch patched in the Americans and for 24 hours a cyber battle waged between the Russians and the Americans as the Russians tried to get into State Department computer systems. As the Americans blocked access to their servers, the Russians try various techniques and hacks. None succeeded. Towards the end of 2015, the American hackers at the NSA have used new technology to force their way into mobile phones of a number of targeted Russian GRU intelligence officers. Finally, the counter hack was discovered by the Russians and they shut out the Dutch.
The word “watch” is used repeatedly in this description that is because the Dutch had not only managed to penetrate the Russian hacking network, they had access to the security cameras in the Moscow hacker’s building allowing them to watch in real time.
That evidence along with evidence that Trump insides were actively colluding with Russian intelligence agents was turned over to Robert Mueller to begin his investigation into Russian interference during the election. An election that began with a scandal over Clinton’s missing emails and then morphed into an investigation into allegations about Trump’s links with Russians to influence the election. Concerns about attacks on the U.S. government were not idle concerns as American went into the 2016 elections but the Democrats were compromised long before it hit the election cycle news.
The noise from clashing narrative drowned out a lot of the laser type forensics being done by nerds on the internet. Nerds who actually knew what they were talking about.
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The stains of three narratives flow and intermingle was the DNC hack an inside job by a disgruntled employee, did the data get hacked by an unemployed Romanian cab driver or was this a sophisticated orchestrated attack by a hostile nation? Or was it all three? The answer is likely to be the latter.
In December 2014 after discovering that Clinton never used a .gov address, the State Department asked for her emails, Hillary Clinton through her lawyers handed over over 30,490 separate emails but there were on 55,000 pages in 12 banker’s boxes
Clinton set up a new URL for her email “hrcoffice.com”
On March 2, 2015 the New York Times revealed Clinton had not used a .gov email address, triggering the House Select Committee on Benghazi to subpoena her emails.
During the Benghazi investigation, Clinton’s true mastery of her personal data was revealed. In the fall of 2014, Clinton said her lawyers had reviewed all the emails on her server, Specifically the “email@example.com” account between January. 21, 2009, to February. 1, 2013. “After the review was completed to identify and provide to the Department of State all of the secretary’s work-related and potentially work-related emails, the secretary chose not to keep her non-record personal emails and asked that her account (which was no longer in active use) be set to retain only the most recent 60 days of email.”
“No emails from firstname.lastname@example.org for the time period Jan. 21, 2009, through Feb. 1, 2013, reside on the server. Thus, there are no email@example.com e-mails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate and legally authorized.”
Clinton had ordered someone to wipe out her servers and backups between December. 5, 2014, and March 27, 2015. The FBI would not seize Clinton’s servers until five months after they discovered them.
On March 16, 2016 WikiLeaks announced that they had “dumped over 30 thousand emails & email attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State. The 50,547 pages of documents span from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014. 7,570 of the documents were sent by Hillary Clinton.”These emails were not hacked but a direct result of a Freedom of Information Act or FOIA”