New details have emerged about how Hillary Clinton set up the private server she used to manage the email account she used exclusively as secretary of state.
The Washington Post is reporting that the FBI is looking into that arrangement and has reached out to a Denver-based Internet technology company and to Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, as part of its inquiry.
The news comes a week after the inspectors general for the State Department and the Intelligence Community asked the Justice Department to look into whether classified information was mishandled on Clinton’s private server. At least four emails Clinton maintained on that server contained information that should have been classified at the time. That despite Clinton’s repeated insistence that she did not have classified information in her possession.
The Post’s report, which relies on federal officials familiar with the FBI’s inquiry, portrays Clinton’s setup as not particularly sophisticated.
It was set up in 2008 by Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton who helped the former president write two of his books. Though Cooper helped the Clintons establish the server’s domain name, clintonemail.com, he had no Internet security experience, two officials familiar with the case told The Post. Cooper worked in the Clinton White House and once held a position with Teneo Holdings, the company headed by longtime Clinton ally Douglas Band.
When Clinton took office as secretary of state in January 2009, it was determined that she needed a server with more capacity. That’s when Clinton brought in Bryan Pagliano, who served as the director of information technology on her presidential campaign. Pagliano implemented the email server used during Clinton’s campaign.
Pagliano was then hired on at the State Department and charged with managing the Clinton server there, according to The Post’s sources. On his LinkedIn profile he states that he was a “strategic advisor and special projects manager” to the chief technology officer and the deputy chief information officer. He worked at the agency from May 2009 until February 2013, the month Clinton left office.
According to The Post, Clinton’s server was unreliable. It suffered an outage following Hurricane Sandy, which struck New York in October 2012.
Another outage from around that time not mentioned by The Post could be evidence of Clinton’s shaky hardware. In an Oct. 10, 2012, email obtained by the watchdog group Citizens United, Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, wrote to a Clinton Foundation employee complaining “I can’t even get into my clinton email.” (RELATED: Emails Show Top Hillary Aide Complaining That Clinton Email Account Wasn’t Working)
In order to beef up security for the system, Denver-based IT firm Platte River Networks was brought in, according to The Post. FBI investigators contacted the company last week, the paper reported.
Federal agents also contacted David Kendall, Clinton’s longtime attorney. He reportedly has a thumb drive that contains all 55,000 pages of the emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department in December.
“The government is seeking assurance about the storage of those materials. We are actively cooperating,” Kendall told The Post.
The revelations raise several questions, mostly about the security of the hardware. Clinton has maintained that the private server was perfectly secure and safe from hackers. But The Post’s characterization of the arrangement indicates that that is not the case.
Clinton has also told a slightly different story about the origin of the server setup. Rather than being something she brought over from her failed presidential campaign, Clinton said in March that “the system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office.”
“It had numerous safeguards,” she said at the March press conference. “It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.”