Judicial Watch Uncovers ‘Cover-Up’ Discussions in Latest Production of Clinton Email Documents
APRIL 08, 2019
Intelligence IG Details ‘Hundreds’ of Classified Emails and Suggests Entire ‘Collection’ Could Be Classified
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it uncovered 422 pages of FBI documents showing evidence of “cover-up” discussions related to the Clinton email system within Platte River Networks, one of the vendors who managed the Clinton email system. The documents also show Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Charles McCullough forwarding “concerns” about classified information in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The new documents uncovered by Judicial Watch also contain Clinton’s 2009 classified information Non-Disclosure Agreement bearing her signature.
An October 2016 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-02046)) forced the release of the new FBI documents. Judicial Watch lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to comply with a July 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking:
- All FD-302 forms prepared pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure.
- All records of communications between any agent, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding, concerning, or related to the aforementioned investigation. This request includes, but is not limited to, any related communications with any official, employee, or representative of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the President, the Democratic National Committee, and/or the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
- All records related to the meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016.
FBI notes of an interview with an unidentified Platte River Networks official in February 2016 (almost a year after the Clinton email network was first revealed) show that Platte River “gave someone access to live HRC archive mailbox at some point.” The same notes show that an email from December 11, 2014, exists that reads “Hillary cover up operation work ticket archive cleanup.” The interviewee said that the “cover up operation” email “probably related to change to 60 day [sic] email retention policy/backup.” The subject indicated that he didn’t “recall the prior policy.” The notes also indicated, “[Redacted] advised [redacted] not to answer questions related to conv [conversation] w/DK [David Kendall] document 49 – based on 5th amendment.”
The subject said that “everyone @ PRN has access to client portal.”
A December 11, 2014, Platte River Networks email between redacted parties says: “Its [sic] all part of the Hillary coverup operation <smile> I’ll have to tell you about it at the party”
An August 2015 email from Platte River Networks says: “So does this mean we don’t have offsite backups currently? That could be a problem if someone hacks this thing and jacks it up. We will have to be able to produce a copy of it somehow, or we’re in some deep shit. Also, what ever [sic] came from the guys at Datto about the old backups? Do they have anyway [sic] of getting those back after we were told to cut it to 30 days?”
In March 2015, Platte River Networks specifically discusses security of the email server.
[Redacted] is going to send over a list of recommendations for us to apply for additional security against hackers. He did say we should probably remove all Clinton files, folders, info off our servers etc. on an independent drive.
Handwritten notes that appear to be from Platte River Networks in February 2016 mention questions concerning the Clinton email system and state of back-ups
The documents show Platte River Networks’ use of BleachBit on the Clinton server. The BleachBit program was downloaded from a vendor called SourceForge at 11:42am on March 31, 2015, according to a computer event log, and over the next half hour, was used to delete the files on Hillary’s server.
The documents also contain emails and handwritten notes written in June and July 2015 from the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General discussing “concerns” over classified information. A redacted sender writes to State Department Official Margaret “Peggy” Grafeld that “inadvertent release of State Department’s equities when this collection is released in its entirety — the potential damage to the foreign relations of the United States could be significant. ICIG McCullough forwards the concern, saying: “Need you plugged in on this.”
Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2015 2:46 PM
To: Grafeld, Margaret P [Peggy]
Subject: Concerns about the HRC Review …
While working with this inspector, I have personally reviewed hundreds of documents in the HRC collection. I can now say, without reservation, that there are literally hundreds of classified emails in this collection; maybe more. For example, there are comments by Department staff in emails relating to the Wikileaks unauthorized disclosures; many of the emails relating to this actually confirm the information in the disclosures. This material is the subject of FOIA litigation, and the emails will now have to be found, reviewed and upgraded. Under the EO 13526, it would be in in our right to classify the entire HRC collection at the Secret level because of the “mosaic effect.” While there may be IC equities in the collection, I am very concerned about the inadvertent release of State Department’s equities when this collection is released in its entirety — the potential damage to the foreign relations of the United States could be significant.
From: Chuck Mccullough [sic]
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2015 11:16 AM
Subject: FW: SBU FW: Concerns about the HRC Review …
Need you plugged in on this. Need to coordinate w/ State’s WB person.
In an August 2015 classified memo prepared by the FBI Counterintelligence Division regarding the findings of the ICIG with respect to Hillary’s email server, the FBI noted that the ICIG had found that in a sampling of only 40 of Hillary’s 30,000 emails, four classified emails were found. A subsequent letter sent by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) to ODNI Clapper regarding this sample of Clinton’s emails noted that they were all classified at the secret level.
In an August 2015 internal FBI memo, the FBI notes that Hillary Clinton had signed a June 28, 2011, official correspondence advising all State Department employees that, “due to ‘recent targeting of personal e-mail accounts by online adversaries,’ State employees should ‘avoid conducting official Department business from (their) personal e-mail accounts.” The same FBI memo noted that Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy had sent a memo to all senior State Department officials on August 28, 2014, in which Kennedy included excerpts from the Foreign Affairs Manual that said that “classified information must be sent via classified e-mail channels only…”
The documents uncovered by Judicial Watch also show infighting between State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy and the ICIG over the processing of the potentially compromised Clinton email communications.
A June 15, 2015, memo for the record prepared by the ICIG regarding the State Department’s review of Hillary Clinton’s emails indicates among other things that the retired foreign service officers that State was using to review Hillary’s emails were not “not optimal.”
Evaluation of other agencies’ equities is not optimal. State Department is currently relying on retired senior Foreign Service Officers to review for other agencies’ equities in FOIA cases. For example, a review of the first set of 296 emails received from former-Secretary Clinton and released on the State Department FOIA website identified material that should have been referred to IC FOIA officials for review prior to release. Recommend State Department FOIA Office request staff support from IC FOIA offices to assist in the identification of intelligence community equities. [Emphasis in original]
According to State FOIA personnel, during the State Department Legal Office’s review, four of the Bl [national security] exemptions were removed and· changed to “B5” FOIA exemptions (Privileged Communications). Recommend State Department FOIA Office seek classification expertise from the interagency to act as a final arbiter if there is a question regarding potentially classified materials. [Emphasis in original]
It is unclear if the Department of Justice is reviewing the emails before FOIA release. Former-Secretary Clinton’s emails are the subject of numerous FOIA requests and multiple FOIA lawsuits. It may be prudent to integrate the Department of Justice into the FOIA process review to ensure the redactions can withstand potential legal challenges. If not already being done, recommend the State Department FOIA Office incorporate the Department of Justice into the FOIA process to ensure the legal sufficiency review of the FOIA exemptions and redactions. [Emphasis in original]
An August 4, 2015, interview by the FBI of State Department IG Steven Linick mentions an incident on “May 13, 2011 2:28 am Huma – Phil Rein potential hack.”
On October 15, 2012, Clinton’s IT technician Bryan Pagliano, sent to Bill Clinton’s aide Justin Cooper a bill indicating that on July 28-29, 2012, Pagliano had to address the issue of “Mailbox Corruption” of Hillary Clinton’s email server, spending a total of 5.5 hours on the problem. Other invoices show that he had to “fix corruption in justin’s [Cooper’s] mailbox; ” have a “conference call with security team;” “Blocked spamer [sic] smtp address for Viagra message;” “virus investigation and cleanup;” “clean up virus from bb [BlackBerry] profile;” and multiple “brute force attacks” against Hillary Clinton’s server, requiring him to “reset password.” The documents show that Pagliano was paid $40,337.86 over four years by the Clinton Executive Service Corp.
In a 2016 deposition in a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit, Pagliano repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions regarding IT support he provided to the Clinton email system.
An August 2015 letter from the United States Secret Service to the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI, addressing a request regarding preservation of records in connection with Clinton’s email system. The letter also cites Judicial Watch’s litigation concerning preservation of her email server records. The Secret Service writes that its searches “did not reveal any responsive documents … [n]otwithstanding, the Secret Service will send out a preservation request for the Agency records listed in your correspondence …”
A July 2015 letter from the National Archives requests information from the State Department regarding “the training, procedures and other controls” employed by the State Department to ensure key record management directives were implemented regarding “the management of email and other electronic records of senior agency officials.” Also, the Archives requests “that the Department contact the representatives of former Secretary Clinton to secure the native electronic versions with associated metadata” of the 55,000 hard copies of emails provided to the State Department.
November 2012 classified emails from Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser, discuss a “Report of arrests – possible Benghazi connection” with her.
A request for travel dated November 2015 shows that the FBI dispatched special agents to Spain and Bahrain to conduct interviews in the “Midyear Exam” regarding a “sensitive investigative matter.”
Other released materials include letters from Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall throughout the production. On June 24, 2015, Kendall writes to the State Department Inspector General that the State Department is in possession of “all Secretary Clinton’s work-related … emails:” He continues that, as Hillary’s personal counsel, “We continue to retain a preservation copy of the .pst file containing the electronic copies of those e-mails, on a thumb drive that is stored in a secured safe at the offices of Williams and Connolly …”
I note at the outset that the Department of State is in possession of all of Secretary Clinton’s work-related and potentially work-related e-mails. Specifically, in response to an October 2014 letter request from the Department of State, Secretary Clinton’s counsel identified all work-related or potentially work-related e-mail in her possession, custody, or control. In total, 30,490 e-mails, all of which were from her @clintonemail.com account, were identified and provided in hard copy to the Department of State in _December 2014. A3 her personal counsel, we continue to retain a preservation copy of the .pst file containing the electronic copies of those e-mails, on a thumb drive that is stored in a secured safe at the offices of Williams & Connolly LLP, 725 12th Street NW, Washington DC 20005. The only two persons authorized to access that thumb drive are me and my law partner, Katherine Turner.
“Judicial Watch uncovered new ‘cover-up’ records on the illicit Clinton email system that further demonstrate the sham nature of the FBI/DOJ ‘investigation’ of her,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These shocking new documents show that various Obama agencies were protecting Hillary Clinton from the consequences of her misconduct. It is well past time for the DOJ to stop shielding Hillary Clinton and hold her fully accountable to the rule of law.”
In a different lawsuit Judicial Watch previously released 186 pages of records from the DOJ that include emails documenting an evident cover-up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
And, in a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch uncovered 215 pages of records from the DOJ revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues.
And, Judicial Watch is currently conducting depositions of senior Obama-era State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides.