Politics & Policy

Server Company Employee Saw ‘Shady’ Cover-Up behind Clinton’s Requests

(Ethan Miller/Getty)

An employee of Platte River Networks, the Colorado tech company that managed Hillary Clinton’s private server, worried they were inadvertently “covering up some shaddy [sic] shit” by heeding Clinton’s request to reduce the number of e-mails stored on the server, according to a letter from Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Ron Johnson (R., Wis.).

Johnson’s letter, first reported by McClatchy, quotes a series of e-mails between Platte River employees late this summer, as the Clinton e-mail scandal continued to rage. One worker noticed that Clinton’s representatives had twice instructed the small tech company to significantly reduce the amount of e-mail data being stored each time it backed up the server.

In hindsight, the nature and timing of the requests seemed suspicious. Clinton’s team first asked Platte River to start storing only the last 30 days of e-mails with each server backup in October or November of 2014, just before she turned over what she said were her official e-mails to the State Department. They reiterated that request in February, just before the scandal broke publicly.

“This whole thing really is covering up some shaddy [sic] shit,” the unidentified employee wrote, worried that Platte River Networks could be blamed. “If we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups, and then we can go public with our statement saying we have had backups since day one, then were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better.”

#share#Johnson’s letter is also the first confirmation of the existence of another Clinton e-mail trove — this one maintained by the Connecticut-based Datto, Inc., which contracted with Platte River to keep a backup copy of Clinton’s server at a cloud-storage site. In the letter, addressed to Datto, Johnson asks the company to confirm reports that data from Clinton’s server was inadvertently stored in the wrong location, and may still be retained on-site.

#related#Several weeks ago, Platte River employees discovered that Clinton’s private server was improperly syncing to an off-site Datto location. “This is a problem,” one Platte River employee wrote to Datto, asking the company to ensure the data wasn’t deleted and work to safeguard it until it could be moved back to Clinton’s server. According to Johnson, the mix-up means that “Datto apparently possessed a backup of the server’s contents since 2013.” 

Johnson said it is unclear whether the server-backup files retained by Datto still exist. Clinton has said she deleted more than 31,000 personal e-mails after turning over all her professional messages to the State Department last December. The potential existence of another source of Clinton’s electronic correspondence raises the possibility that many of these personal e-mails still exist, and could eventually be released.

— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.

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