Clinton IT Aide Created Cryptic Gmail Account, Sent Hillary’s Emails To It
FBI report failed to alert intelligence agencies or the public
A new Senate report says almost every single one of Hillary Clinton's emails was sent to cryptically-named Gmail address.
The new finding means Clinton’s emails, as well as classified ones and ones which later deleted, likely existed on Google’s U.S.-based servers.
In the FBI report, it admitted it was aware of this, but failed to alert intelligence agencies or the public.
According to the FBI, the suspicious Gmail address was set up by an IT aide, Paul Combetta, who was an employee of a company that managed Hillary's server.
Combetta is the same IT aide who used BleachBit to erase copies of Clinton’s emails after the House subpoenaed them, modeled the FBI about it, the immunity from prosecution.
Combetta refused to cooperate with the DOJ Inspector General, and also the authors of the Senate report, regarding his use of the cryptic email address.
In September 2016, he pleaded the Fifth before Congress about the deletion of emails.
Combetta was working for Platte River Networks, a technology company in Colorado that was running Clinton’s email server when she decided to professionally house them other than the homemade server in her basement.
Intelligence Community Inspector General, Charles McCullough, along with his investigator Frank Rucker, found that every one of Clinton’s emails except four, were quietly copied to the cryptically named email address - [email protected] - the report says.
But when the finding was presented to Peter Strzok, who was in charge of the Clinton case, he wasn't inserted and failed to ask any follow-up questions, Rucker told Senate investigators.
On Wednesday, Rucker was interviewed by staff for GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Charles Grassley of Iowa, and released a redacted and paraphrased version of the transcript.
Rucker “said that the Carter Heavy Industries email address isn’t somebody Secretary Clinton intentionally communicated with, but it appears in the metadata of almost all of her emails,” the transcript stated.
“Mr. Rucker said that his first interaction [with the FBI on the case] was dropping off a packet of information which contained a single printed email that he told the FBI was ‘not a good sign.’ In this email, he said, Secretary Clinton replied to an email that she never received,” it continued.
“He said that he found this data point and reported it to the FBI. He said that he found the Carter Heavy Industries Gmail address, which he had not seen before and that it appeared to be hidden data,” the transcript said.
“Mr. Rucker said that Mr. Strzok seemed to be ‘aloof and dismissive.’ He said it was as if Mr. Strzok felt dismissive of the relationship between the FBI and ICIG and he was not very warm,” the transcript said.
“He said that Mr. Strzok didn’t ask many questions including any about SAP related issues,” it continued.
“He said that Mr. Strzok seemed ‘nonplused’ by the info and that he didn’t ask any follow-up questions.”
Rucker also informed investigators that an email on Clinton’s server from disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner said that his email had been hacked to forward emails to another address.
This raised further suspicions that something similar was happening on Clinton’s server.
The FBI refused to reveal a reason for the email address, according to Rucker.
“Mr. Rucker said that he asked Dean Chappell at the FBI to tell him what Carter Heavy Industries means and how it was inserted into Secretary Clinton’s emails, but he never found out from him or anyone else at the FBI,” the transcript said.
He asked the FBI in an email, “If there is a point in all of this when you (or someone on the team) could explain it to me further, I’d appreciate it,” but the bureau never did, even though ICIG and other agencies had “equities” in the data, according to the report.
“He said he believes that out of professional courtesy it would have been nice if the FBI give them an update on whether they were on to something, or whether it was nothing.”
According to The Daily Caller: The report says that through his lawyer, Combetta declined to speak to both the DOJ IG and Senate investigators, and that “neither the DOJ OIG nor the ICIG has the authority to compel non-agency individuals to provide testimony.”
But his lawyer informed the DOJ IG that Combetta simply “made-up” the name Carter Heavy Industries, the report said.
He created it in 2012 before Clinton hired Platte River Networks. He told Strzok that in 2014, Clinton aide Monica Hanley mailed him an old laptop carrying Clinton’s emails from 2010.
After moving the emails to her new server, he was supposed to wipe the laptop and then mail it back to Hanley, but there is no proof that he did, according to the DOJ IG, implying that a laptop containing Clinton’s emails may be unaccounted for.
Combetta told the FBI that he forwarded all the emails to the Carter Heavy Industries address as an intermediary step in moving the files from the laptop to the server, according to the Senate report.
Platte River Networks did not reply to the DCNF’s questions about why he would take this unusual move, and it is unclear why he would use a cryptically named account or why he uploaded Clinton’s emails to a shoddy and widely used email service while paying for a custom server.
Perhaps related, Combetta frequently posted to the website Reddit, asking how to perform basic computer tasks, most infamously posting that he needed to delete details for a “VERY VIP” client.
In short, Clinton’s emails had been uploaded to Gmail, and her server still appeared to fall short of even basic IT practices for a small business, even after she hired a professional organization and moved it out of a basement.
But neither the Clinton campaign nor the FBI acknowledged it, despite years of congressional investigations seeking every aspect.
Even as FBI agents believed that Combetta lied to them repeatedly — saying he did not delete emails — prosecutors gave him immunity, at which point he confessed to doing so.
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