Two days ago another federal judge handed down what has been described as a “stiff” and “draconian” sentence, this time against NSA engineer Nghia Pho for taking home “a ‘massive trove’ of top secret information between 2010 and 2015.” Pho’s five and a half year prison sentence comes off the heels of Reality Winner’s case where she was sentenced to five years in prison for leaking a single document to the media. Although the circumstances surrounding the mishandling of classified information differ, both cases highlight the fact that those in power are able to do much the same as Winner or Pho without facing the repercussions of a lengthy prison sentence.
Take for instance former CIA Director David Petraeus who gave classified information to his mistress, Paula Broadwell, and then lied to the FBI about it. According to the judge in Pho’s case, Petraeus walked with “little more than a slap on the wrist,” and “people at the top can, like, do whatever they want to do and walk away.” Pho’s lawyer added that “marquee players” get “kid gloves treatment” while his client faced eight years in prison.
Unfortunately, none of this is breaking news. All you have to do is look at what the U.S. government did to NSA whistleblowers John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, and former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning to know what an unjust world we live in. And it goes without saying that Julian Assange, a journalist and publisher who has been essentially imprisoned in London for almost eight years now without charge, is still being punished for merely publishing leaked information. In fact, just yesterday Assange appointed Icelander Kristinn Hrafnsson editor in chief of WikiLeaks presumably because of the isolation Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has forced him to illegally live under as a political prisoner. Meanwhile, James Comey and John Brennan, rest assured, will never face charges for leaking information.
Of course, one of the most glaring examples of injustice in our justice system is Hillary Clinton. Yet another pathological maniac in power who skated on criminal charges, Clinton is the poster child for evading justice. Not only was she not charged for mishandling classified information, did you happen to notice the pushback on the recent “China obtained all of her emails” story?
With another sanctimonious ruling under the judicial system’s belt, now seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone just how insanely irresponsible and criminal Hillary Clinton’s actions were and how the FBI treated her with kids gloves.
THE APPLE SERVER
In 2008, an Apple server was installed in the basement of the Clintons’ Chappaqua, New York home. Justin Cooper, a former aide to Bill Clinton, told the FBI that Apple installed it, however, the agency was never able to confirm it. The server was initially used by Bill Clinton’s staff.
A year later and just thirteen days after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state, Cooper registered the domain “clintonemail.com,” which was initially hosted on the Apple server. Cooper denied having ever registered it.
THE PAGLIANO SERVER
According to the FBI’s files, “in or around” the fall of 2008, Huma Abedin advocated for a new server. She recommended that Justin Cooper contact Bryan Pagliano who at the time was “in the process of liquidating the computer equipment from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” Some of this equipment was used to build the new server (the “Pagliano server”).
The Pagliano server was installed in the basement of the Clintons’ Chappaqua home sometime in March 2009, but Hillary Clinton asserted that she was not aware that the Apple server had been replaced and denied taking any part in that decision. After the Pagliano server was installed, all of the domains that the Apple server hosted were moved to the new server. It was after the installation that both Hillary Clinton and Justin Cooper later claimed that Hillary stopped using her HR15@att.blackberry.net email account.
Bryan Pagliano “migrated” the email data from the Apple server to the Pagliano server including Huma Abedin’s clintonemail.com emails. However, when Hillary Clinton turned over approximately 30,000 emails from her email address “email@example.com” to the State they did not include any emails from January 2009 through March 2009 — emails during Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state that should have been migrated from the Apple server to the Pagliano server. So what happened to them?
According to page four in the FBI’s first released vault on Hillary Clinton,
“Pagliano stated to the FBI that he only transferred clintonemail.com e-mail accounts for Abedin and [redacted] from the Apple server and said he was unaware of and did not transfer an e-mail account for Clinton.”
Justin Cooper on the hand believed that Hillary Clinton had a clintonemail.com address on the Apple server but was unaware of Huma Abedin having one. If anyone would know it would probably be Cooper who was the sole administrator on the Apple server. It seems that Cooper was at least halfway right because according to the FBI, they were able to recover from “additional data sources..approximately 17,448 unique work-related and personal emails containing Clinton’s firstname.lastname@example.org address that were not provided by Williams & Connolly as part of Clinton’s production to the FBI, including emails from January 23, 2009 through March 18, 2009.”
As for the backup of the Pagliano server, between March 2009 and June 2011, it was backed up on a Seagate external hard drive once a week and deleted on a “first in, first out” (FIFO) basis. In June 2011, Pagliano replaced the Seagate external hard drive with a Cisco Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, however, the FBI was unable to determine how frequently the NAS captured backups of the server. Additionally, the “oldest available backup image of the [Pagliano] server was June 24, 2013” and the image “did not indicate that any email users files were stored on the Pagliano server.” My best guess is this means that Hillary Clinton’s emails were possibly transferred but definitely wiped at some point.
Once the Pagliano server was installed the Apple server was used as a personal computer for the Clinton’s staff at the Chappaqua house. According to the FBI, one person in particular [redacted] used it as a work station and I can only assume they were referring to the Clintons’ trusted man servant, Oscar Flores (see also “WikiLeaks: This is Just How Careless Hillary Was With Her Emails“).
PLATTE RIVER NETWORKS (PRN)
According to the FBI, “sometime in the spring” of 2013, the Clintons decided to shop around for a new server. However, one document states,
“A search for the new vendor was facilitated with the assistance of [redacted] Infograte, an information techonology consulting company. [Redacted] was introduced to Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, on or about January 2, 2013…she worked with Mills and Pagliano to produce a request for proposal which was used to solicit responses from multiple firms including…Platte River Networks (PRN).”
So yeah, if Infograte was meeting with Mills two days into the new year it seems fairly safe to assume that the Clintons were considering their server options well before “sometime in the spring.” My guess is that they became interested in a new server shortly after the September 2012 Benghazi attacks but what do I know. And although the Benghazi Committee wasn’t established until May 8, 2014, Representative Frank Wolf introduced a House bill that called for a Benghazi Select Committee on January 18, 2013, sixteen days after the Clintons’ staff met with Infograte. Surely with Comey or Strzok likely making the call personally, Hillary Clinton saw the writing on the wall well before then.
THE GUCCIFER HACK AND THE EMAIL ADDRESS
Before a final agreement had been reached with Platte River Networks, Guccifer (not Guccifer 2) hacked Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL email account in March 2013. In response to the attack, on January 11, 2016, Clinton’s “confidential assistant,” Monica Hanley, told the FBI that Platte River Networks reached out to her, Justin Cooper and Huma Abedin and advised them that Hillary Clinton should change her email address which she apparently did; HR15@att.blackberry.net was changed to email@example.com shortly thereafter. However, earlier I mentioned this,
“After the Pagliano server was installed, all of the domains that the Apple server hosted were moved to the new server. Both Hillary Clinton and Cooper claimed that Hillary stopped using her HR15@att.blackberry.net email account at this time.”
So why would Hillary who has always claimed she did nothing wrong need to change an email address four years after she allegedly stopped using it? And I’m not confused. Buzzfeed wrote,
“The HR15@att.blackberry.net account was shut off around that time [September 20, 2009]. Clinton, as aides said earlier this year, no longer has access to those messages.”
And the FBI files state,
“Secretary Clinton had at least two AT&T Blackberry accounts. The first account was the HR15 email account. In September, 2013, there was an article about Sydney Blumenthal having his email account hacked. Apparently Clinton changed her email to HRD14.”
And yet, even though the same Buzzfeed article above spoke with Nick Merrill, a spokesperson for Hillary’s campaign, who stated that “Clinton only used the ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as a senator, Wikileaks‘ Clinton email archive shows that Jacob Sullivan was still emailing her at that address in 2011, not realizing until December of that year that he had an “old email.” Moreover, Judicial Watch obtained emails from Clinton to David Petraeus during her tenure as secretary of state in which she wrote, “I’m looking forward to working w you both. If there is ever anything you need or want me to know, pls use this personal email address [HR15@att.blackberry.net].”
THE APPLE MACBOOK
Prior to Clinton changing her email address, Justin Cooper sent Hillary’s assistant, Monica Hanley, an Apple MacBook from Bill Clinton’s Harlem, New York office in order to create an archive of Clinton’s emails. Once Hanley received laptop, Cooper walked her through the process of transferring the emails from the Pagliano server to the Macbook.
However, Hanley didn’t just transfer all of Hillary Clinton’s emails to the MacBook, she also transferred them to a thumb drive which she subsequently lost and never recovered. And no, I’m not even joking. As for the laptop, it was suppose to be stored at the Clintons’ home either in Chappaqua or Whitehaven but Hanley never handed it over to the Clinton staff. It remained with her at her apartment until she moved at which point she allegedly took it with her.
According to Huma Abedin, Hanley produced the email archives as a reference for Hillary’s future book endeavors. Hanley, on the other hand, told investigators that the archives were created because of the Blumenthal hack which exposed Hillary’s email address “email@example.com.”
THE PLATTE RIVER NETWORKS (PRN) CONTRACT
A month or so after the Blumenthal hack, the Clintons made the decision to use PRN’s services. Shortly thereafter, a PRN employee went to the Clintons’ Chappaqua home where he “powered down the Pagliano Server, and transported it to the datacenter run by Equinix in Sacaucus, New Jersey.” The server remained there until it was seized by the FBI on October 3, 2015, at which time it was found to be plugged into the Platte River Network.
On June 30, 2013, three domains, presidentclinton.com, wjcoffice.com, and clintonemail.com, were transferred to the PRN server. A fourth was added later but it’s redacted in the FBI files. Once the domains were transferred, the Pagliano server stopped hosting any email services for the Clintons but honestly this whole PRN-Hillary needs to change her email address because of a hack-Good news, we’re now hosting your emails thing seems weird to me because the final agreement with Platte River Networks wasn’t signed until July 18, 2013. But whatever. It’s probably the least of our worries.
The most promising and responsible thing that the Clintons requested of Platte River was that they encrypt their emails on the server. Nah, I’m kidding. They eventually decided against it so it would be easier for PRN to troubleshoot problems within user accounts.
According to a Platte River employee, a backup device from Datto, Inc. was configured to take multiple, daily snapshots of the Clintons’ PRN server. Then, in August 2015, Datto admitted that “due to technical oversight,” the PRN server had accidentally been backed up to Datto’s secure cloud. Oops. Thus, when mcclatchydc.com first reported in October 2015 that Datto had “turned over the contents of its storage to the FBI,” it was suspected to contain all of Hillary Clinton’s emails including the missing ones.
REMEMBER MONICA HANLEY AND THE MACBOOK?
After failing to turn over the MacBook to the Clintons’ staff in March 2013, Monica Hanley miraculously remembered that she had it sometime in early 2014 — two months before the Benghazi Committee was established. She reached out to PRN and initially tried to transfer the archived Clinton emails on the laptop over to the PRN server herself. She was unsuccessful so she shipped the laptop to Platte River Networks employee Paul Combetta’s home and instructed him to “migrate the emails back to Clinton’s existing server, wipe the MacBook,” and return it to an assistant at the Clinton Foundation.
Combetta was able to successfully transfer Hillary’s emails from the MacBook to Platte River’s server by moving all of them to a personal Gmail account he created (still not joking) and then downloading them from the Gmail account to the PRN server. After the transfer was complete, Combetta claimed that per Hanley’s instructions he mailed the laptop to the Clinton Foundation and yet, according to the Officer of the Inspector General’s June 2018 report, no records exist that he did. In a June 23, 2016 interview with the FBI, Bill Clinton’s office assistant denied ever receiving the laptop.
So now we have a missing laptop and a missing thumb drive among a slew of other lost and not found items including a shiz ton of Blackberries. But I’m not even going there today.
Oh, and remember the Apple server that was replaced by the Pagliano server and was then used as a work station for Oscar, the Chappaqua housemate? Yeah, the hard drive to that was never recovered either.
Getting back to Combetta, after transferring Hillary’s emails from the (Monica Hanley) MacBook to a Gmail account and then to PRN’s servers, he claimed that he wiped the Gmail account clean but nope, he didn’t. The FBI later found that 940 emails associated with Hillary Clinton’s personal email account from October 25, 2010 through December 31, 2010, had remained on the Gmail account as late as June 21, 2016. Fifty-six of those emails were classified “Confidential,” 302 of them were NOT found in the set of emails that Hillary later produced for the State, and of those 302 emails, one of them was classified “Secret” when sent.
Just to sum up what we’ve learned so far before moving on, the Clintons used three servers between 2008 – 2015: The Apple server, the Pagliano server, and the Platte River Networks (PRN) server. Hillary Clinton’s emails were maybe or maybe not transferred from the Apple to the Pagliano server and then to the PRN server via a Gmail account. Her emails were accidentally captured in Datto’s cloud and Hillary’s assistant, Monica Hanley, made two copies of her emails – one on an Apple MacBook, the other on a second thumb drive. Both have since gone missing.
THE BENGHAZI COMMITTEE
May 8, 2014
On May 8, 2014, the House Select Committee on Benghazi was officially established and it took almost four months for it to reach an agreement with the State department regarding the production of records. During this time period the State department was nice enough to give Hillary Clinton’s advisor, Cheryl Mills, a head’s up that the Committee was going to ask for Hillary’s work-related emails. On October 28, 2014, they sent out an official request.
After receiving the request, Clinton asked that David Kendall and Cheryl Mills “oversee the process,” while Heather Samuelson, an attorney working with Mills, “undertook a review to identify” Hillary’s work-related emails. That same month, Mills arranged for Paul Combetta to export from the Platte River server all .gov emails from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. Combetta extracted the emails, put them in a .PST file, and sent them to both Mills’ and Samuelson’s laptops. In late September, 2014, Mills and Samuelson then asked Combetta to send them all of Hillary’s emails which he allegedly did although the FBI noted,
[Combetta gave] “inconsistent statements over the course of three interviews regarding from where on the server he extracted Clinton’s emails.”
On December 11, 2014, seven months after the Benghazi Committee was established, Hillary decided she didn’t need access to emails older than sixty days because hopefully she decided not to write that sequel. Mills emailed Combetta and instructed him to change the retention period on Hillary’s clintonemail.com account but Combetta forgot because honestly, this dude gets the award for most incompetent IT idiot ever. Three days after Combetta failed to change the retention period, Williams & Connolly turned over 55,000 pages of Hillary’s emails to the State Department.
“In or around December 2014 or January 2015”
In or around December 2014 or January 2015, Mills and Samuelson asked Combetta to remove the two sets of Clinton emails he had sent them earlier in July and September 2014. He used BleachBit to remotely delete the files but, folks, seeing that this yahoo was online six months prior asking people how to strip email addresses and purge messages this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nor should what he did next.
Sometime in late March 2015, Combetta had an “oh shit” moment after realizing he forgot to change the retention policy on Clinton’s email as instructed by Cheryl Mills back in December 2014. So, even though Combetta was well aware at that point that the Benghazi Committee had an email preservation order in place he used Bleachbit (again) to wipe Hillary’s emails. He then lied to the FBI about it.
On March 2, 2015, the entire email debacle hit the newsstands when the New York Times ran a story entitled, “Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept….” Four months later the FBI opened their investigation.
HACKS, INSTRUSIONS, AND OTHER NONSENSE
2011 – 2013
According to Bryan Pagliano’s interviews with the FBI, he was aware that there had been numerous “failed login attempts [brute force attacks]” on the Pagliano server that had only increased over time. For instance, on January 9, 2011, FBI documents show that Justin Cooper notified Huma Abedin of an attack but unable to get a hold of Pagliano, he shut down the entire server and rebooted it.
The FBI’s investigation also found that on January 5, 2013, “scanning attempts” were made from three external IP addresses, one of which resulted “in a successful compromise of an e-mail account on the server,” and yes, one successful hack doesn’t count so stop blaming my girl, Killary. The hacked account belonged to one of Bill Clinton’s staffers and as of today, the FBI claims they haven’t identified who was behind the attack.
During her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton also received a number of phishing emails one of which she replied to, “Is this really from you?” Huma Abedin, alarmed, sent out an email to an unnamed individual exclaiming Hillary was worried “someone [was] hacking into her email.” Then there was the time Abedin transferred 650,000 emails onto her husband Anthony Weiner’s computer, Monica Hanley used her gmail account in the air during foreign travel with Hillary because, ugh, sometimes it’s just so hard to sign into the State’s system, and when Hanley left Hillary’s briefing book containing a classified document in a Russian hotel room.
AND THEN THERE WAS CHINA
In case you missed it, on July 12, 2018, Representative Louie Gohmert blasted Peter Strzok for doing nothing after having been briefed by the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) about an anomaly found in Clinton’s emails and it was amazing. But more important than Gohmert calling Strzok out for being an unscrupulous tool of the Clinton Dynasty was the fact that the ICIG had found during their investigation that all of Hillary’s emails “were going to an address that was not on the distribution list” and that the emails were being sent to an “unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”
Then, on August 29, 2018, Donald Trump tweeted that Hillary Clinton had been hacked by China to which the FBI responded, “The FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised.” Hmm.
Trump’s statement was likely made in response to an article published by the Daily Caller the day before and with a headline that didn’t mince words, “Sources: China Hacked Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server.” According to the article, a Chinese-owned company hacked Hillary’s server and “obtained nearly all her emails” by inserting code in the server that allowed for them to collect the emails in real time. The information came from an unnamed intelligence officer who stated that two ICIG officials had previously warned the FBI of the “Chinese intrusion.” (See also goodlatte.house.gov article about the laptop used by Heather Samuelson, manufactured by Chinese company Lenovo and vulnerable to remote hacking courtesy of @realKyleOlbert)
And yes, the article is based on unnamed sources which means we should always be leary, but it’s also interesting to note that Peter Strzok stated in an email, “We know foreign actors obtained access to some Clinton emails, including at least one ‘secret’ message ‘via compromises of the private email accounts’ of Clinton staffers.” That sounds way more accurate when you look at the FBI files which state that at least one Clinton staffer email had been hacked. Bottom line? The FBI is still lying.
Consider this post a reminder that Hillary Clinton, her entire staff, the top brass at the FBI, and everyone else who carelessly handled our country’s security and helped railroad the Clinton investigation to avoid prosecuting her are walking around free while today marks six months since Julian Assange “was deprived his ability, to communicate with the outside world.” It’s always astounding to me that most people simply don’t care about how unjust the justice system is because they believe it’s something that will never affect them. But to turn a blind eye to those in power who lie, manufacture propaganda and war, torture whistleblowers, and terrorize journalists, to allow their behavior to go unchecked affects all of us, regardless if you find yourself in a courtroom for leaking classified information.
How unjust does our system have to get before people say enough is enough? How long will people ignore the persecution of individuals brave enough to give us the truth rather than doublespeak, disinformation, and complete fabrications?
It’s time that Americans shake off the fog and realize that the government, your government, your politicians are not here to help you. Regardless of what they say, they’re here to fatten their wallets and feed their egos, and they are most certainly all on the same team. If anyone should be treated with kid gloves, it definitely ain’t them.
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