The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is looking into a series of posts deleted from the website Reddit that appear to show Hillary Clinton’s computer technician asking for advice on how to “strip” her email address from backups of her emails.
“We have staff looking at a variety of posts to verify with certainty that it is Paul Combetta. We are very early in our analysis but we are seriously looking at all the leads,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a member of the Oversight Committee, tells The Daily Caller.
Combetta works as a computer technician for Platte River Networks, a Denver-based tech firm that Clinton hired in 2013 to manage her email system. He refused to testify at a House Oversight hearing held last week, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Earlier on Monday, TheDC reported that Combetta appears to have published a Reddit post on July 24, 2014 asking for advice on how to “strip off” the email address of a “VIP” client that his company was working for. (RELATED: Hillary Clinton’s Computer Technician Asked For Advice On How To ‘Strip Out’ Her Email Address)
“I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email that I have both in a live Exchange mailbox, as well as a PST file,” reads an entry from the user “stonetear.”
The handle matches the one Combetta uses for his Gmail account. Other posts from “stonetear” match up with facts known about Combetta. Combetta has not responded to numerous requests for comment.
“Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out,” he added on the Reddit thread, which “stonetear” started deleting earlier on Monday.
The timing of the post is significant because it occurred in the same month that Clinton’s attorneys began negotiating with the State Department regarding handing over Clinton’s work-related emails.
The FBI’s report of the Clinton investigation — which has Combetta’s name redacted — refers to other activities that took place that month which are key points in the Clinton email timeline.
The report shows that Clinton’s attorney and former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, asked Combetta that month to export Clinton’s emails from PRN’s servers. He forwarded the emails — many of which contained classified information — to Mill’s laptop and one for Heather Samuelson, a longtime Clinton aide and the lawyer who led the review of Clinton’s work-related emails to the State Department in December 2014.
In the request for help, “stonetear” said that the client he was working for was well-known.
“The issue is that these emails involve the private email address of someone you’d recognize, and we’re trying to replace it with a placeholder address as to not expose it,” “stonetear” wrote.
Combetta became a central figure in the Clinton email fracas just two weeks ago when The New York Times revealed that the Justice Department granted him immunity to cooperate with the federal investigation of Clinton’s emails. That decision was made even though Combetta appears to have lied to the FBI about the timeline of his decision to use a software program called BleachBit to deleted backups of Clinton’s emails.
He used the software to make the deletions in late March 2015, just weeks after Clinton’s email practices were reported. Her records were placed under congressional subpoena after that. Combetta hurriedly deleted the backups just prior to a March 31 conference call with Clinton’s lawyers, the FBI’s report stated.
The New York Post reported on Sunday that emails the Combetta sent last year to other Platte River Networks employees show that he referred back to Clintonworld’s request that he scrub Clinton’s emails of identifying information.
“I’ve done quite a bit already in the last few months related to this. Her team had me do a bunch of exports and email filters and cleanup to provide a PST [personal storage file] of all of HRC’s emails to/from any .gov addresses,” Combetta wrote in that email.