Copies or logs of Hillary Clinton’s emails could be stored on the servers of companies that the former secretary of state used to manage and block spam for her email domain, IT experts tell The Daily Caller.
The existence of such residual information could have two major implications, the experts say. First, the additional email footprints would have provided more information useful to potential hackers. On a different front, the records would allow federal agencies investigating Clinton’s email server to compare the companies’ records with what the Democratic presidential candidate turned over to the State Department in December.
Clinton has said that she handed all work-related emails over to the agency, though many of her critics say they doubt the claim.
One IT expert explained to TheDC that mail exchange records, or MX records, for Clinton’s email domain, clintonemail.com, indicate that emails going into her server first went through MxLogic, a spam management and compliance company that is now owned by McAfee.
MxLogic received all inbound email destined for clintonemail.com, Walker found. He said it’s not clear whether Clinton’s outbound email went through MxLogic as well.
“I’d bet to some extent that [Clinton’s] emails are sitting in an MxLogic datac enter either on the server used to service her domain, or within their elaborate backup system,” Walker tells TheDC.
“Even if she somehow wiped the data from MxLogic through their interfaces, it probably still exists somewhere within their organization.”
Walker presented three scenarios for what information MxLogic and any other spam-filtering companies that serviced Clinton’s email domain could have.
If MxLogic does not hold complete copies of all inbound and outbound Clinton emails, “the next scenario is that they have all the incoming and they have a record of the metadata of the outbound,” Walker said.
It’s also possible that the company doesn’t have the content of the emails, “but they do have logs of all of the transactions that took place,” he added.
Walker said he was surprised when he looked into Clinton’s server configuration to find that it was pointing to MxLogic’s servers and not her own. That oversight left Clinton’s hardware vulnerable to other governments, he asserted.
“If I’m in the business of hiding email servers from governments I think I would point my MX record directly to my mail server and handle my anti-spam problem on my own server, and not through a third-party company,” Walker said.
It is unclear when Clinton began using MxLogic to provide spam management services for her email account. Some reports have stated that the company began servicing Clinton’s account in July 2013. MxLogic would not have had access to any of the emails sent or received before that time. But it is likely that Clinton used another company to perform similar services.
While Clinton served as secretary of state, her server was maintained by Bryan Pagliano, who worked on her 2008 presidential campaign before being given a job at the State Department. Pagliano left the agency in Feb. 2013, when Clinton left office. He recently informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi that he would plead the fifth if called to testify about Clinton’s email arrangement.
After Clinton left office, she hired Platte River Networks to manage her server. The Denver-based company removed the hardware from her Chappaqua, N.Y. home and relocated it to a New Jersey data center.
The FBI seized control of the device from Platte River last month.
Another IT expert says that it is entirely possible that spam-management companies have records of Clinton’s emails.
“If they kept the logs then there would be a records of all inbound emails in them, but only inbound,” Marc Perkel told TheDC. “If they have the logs it would provide a treasure trove of information. Much of which would be damning. There would be a log of everyone who emailed her and that could be compared to what she turned over.”
In March, when the Clinton email story first broke, Perkel, a former systems administrator at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, broached the possibility that employees at MxLogic would have had the ability to view emails going into and out of Clinton’s server.
Perkel cited the national security implications for such an arrangement, but when he first conducted his analysis it was not yet known that Clinton was sending and receiving classified information through her server.
The Intelligence Community inspector general has found two emails that had “top secret” information when they traversed Clinton’s server. That’s in addition to approximately 200 other emails that have been deemed to now have “confidential” information.
Another IT expert who has looked into Clinton’s email configuration says he has no doubt that McAfee “has log files of all the email traffic that passed through their firewall to or from clintonemail.com.”
The expert, who asked to remain anonymous, suggested that a congressional committee investigating Clinton’s setup “should require McAfee to describe in detail the disposition of transaction logs kept by their servers covering email transfers to and from clintonemail.com.”
“It’s possible McAfee destroyed those logs,” he added. But if that’s the case, “investigators need to ask them to explain when and why.”
It is unclear if any government entities have looked into whether MxLogic or any other spam management company has been contacted about Clinton’s emails.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has not explored the angle, a spokesman told TheDC. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee did not return a request for comment. Nor did the FBI.
McAfee declined to comment, citing customer privacy.