The new revelation that Hillary Clinton’s private server was made “blank” in June 2013 — but nonetheless stored at a data center in New Jersey — raises a slew of new questions about the former secretary of state’s handling of her emails.
The attorney for Platte River Networks, the Denver-based cybersecurity company Clinton hired shortly after leaving office to handle the server, says that she does not know why the hardware would have been stored in a New Jersey data center if it was “blank.”
“The server that was turned over to the FBI voluntarily yesterday to our knowledge has no information on it,” the attorney, Barbara Wells, told The Daily Caller in a brief phone interview.
On Wednesday, after Platte River Networks gave the server to the FBI, Wells told The Washington Post that the information from it “had been migrated over to a different server for purposes of transition” in June 2013.
“To my knowledge the data on the old server is not available now on any servers or devices in Platte River Network’s control,” Wells told the paper.
That revelation is significant because until now, most observers have assumed that Clinton wiped her server clean sometime after October, when the State Department sent a letter requesting that she hand over all of her emails. Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi in late March that the server had been wiped clean.
But the new claim that the server has been useless for more than two years indicates that when Clinton finally did produce her emails in December — 55,000 pages worth — they were drawn from a different device.
Kendall recently gave the FBI three thumb drives that held Clinton’s emails, but Wells said she had no information on whether the data from Clinton’s old server was transferred directly to lawyer’s thumb drives. Neither the Clinton campaign nor Kendall responded to questions from TheDC.
Asked why the server would have been stored in New Jersey if it did not have any useful information on it, Wells said, “I have no information on that.”
Asked if Clinton or anyone associated with her campaign is still paying Platte River Networks for its services, Wells said, “I can’t comment on that.”
Clinton hired Platte River Networks to handle her server shortly after she left the State Department in Feb. 2013. Prior to that, the server resided in the basement of Clinton’s Chappaqua, N.Y. home. When Hillary Clinton was tapped to head the State Department, she hired one of her presidential campaign’s IT department staffers to beef up the system so she could use it in an unprecedented manner at the agency.
Clinton’s hiring of Platte River Networks came around the time that the Romanian hacker Guccifer hacked the email account of Clinton’s longtime friend, Sidney Blumenthal. The hack revealed Clinton’s private email address, HDR22@clintonemail.com. At the time it was not known that that was the email account Clinton used to send all work-related and personal emails as secretary of state, a violation of federal regulations.
Clinton has mostly avoided publicly discussing the email server arrangement. In her lone press conference on the matter in March, the Democratic presidential candidate said that the server was never compromised and was maintained on property guarded by Secret Service. She did not then nor has she ever said anything about Platte River Networks or the server’s placement in the New Jersey server farm.
The FBI visited Platte River Networks last week. Though Wells maintains that the server was handed over voluntarily, the FBI clearly sought it out.
The agency’s interest most likely stems from the recent revelation that the Intelligence Community inspector general has reviewed some of the emails and determined that two that moved through Clinton’s server may have contained information which was “Top Secret” at the time they were sent.
The State Department has disputed that characterization but says that it is cooperating with the inspector general on the matter.
State had also allowed Kendall to keep possession of his thumb drives. But the FBI overrode that decision and seized control of them.
While Platte River is not the target of an investigation, Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Ron Johnson sent the company a letter on Wednesday inquiring about what security measures the company used to handle Clinton’s server.