Was Hillary Clinton’s private email server hacked? The FBI is trying to answer that question as part of its investigation into possible mishandling of classified information.
Eli Lake and Josh Rogin of Bloomberg have reported that the FBI is looking for evidence the email server was hacked, such as traces of code or evidence contained in access logs.
Clinton claimed in March, “there were no security breaches.” However, she offered no evidence that the security of the server had been maintained or checked for evidence of hacking. One odd claim Hillary did make several times was that the machine itself was guarded by the Secret Service. This was apparently intended to suggest a high level of security for those who think hackers operate like cat burglars.
In order to determine if the machine was accessed by hackers, the FBI first has to reconstruct the data that was on the server’s hard drive before it was wiped. Previous reports have suggested the FBI is optimistic about being able to recover the deleted data.
The FBI asked Platte River Networks, the Colorado firm that took over handling of the server after Hillary left the State Department, to hand over the server on August 11th. That move came just hours after news broke that intelligence community reviewers had identified top secret information in at least two emails found on the server.
Some of Clinton’s defenders have suggested that, even if some classified material was found on her server, no harm was done, as only Clinton and her top aides would have seen it. However, putting aside that laws against mishandling classified information don’t work that way, evidence of hacking would shine a bright light on Clinton’s dubious decision to create a private mail server in the first place.
Secretary of State John Kerry suggested during an interview last month that his own email may have been hacked by Russia or China. “It’s very possible… and I certainly write things with that awareness,” Kerry told CBS News’s Scott Pelley. Of course, Secretary Kerry is not responsible for the security of his own .gov email account. That’s clearly someone else’s job. But by creating her own private server, Hillary arrogated responsibility for securing her own email. If she failed to do so, the failure is hers alone.
Wednesday night, news broke that Bryan Pagliano, the person who set up and maintained Clinton’s private server during her tenure as Secretary, had informed two congressional committees (via his attorney) that, if called to testify, he would plead the 5th. Pagliano was also asked to turn over documentation related to his work on the server.