Datto, the Connecticut-based data-protection company that has suddenly been dragged into the ballooning Hillary Clinton email scandal, is evidently eager to preserve its good name by disclosing everything it knows as quickly as possible.
Not only has Datto surrendered equipment to the FBI, but it also stated it warned Clinton’s computer company, Platte River Networks, that her server was vulnerable to hackers… and it says the warnings were disregarded, because FBI investigators ordered that the system should not be altered in any way.
This addresses a question that arose as soon as Datto’s involvement with the former Secretary of State’s computer system was revealed a few days ago: isn’t it unwise to broadcast data that includes classified and Top Secret material across the Internet?
According to a report at the Washington Post, this very concern occurred to Datto as soon as the company realized what kind of data it was handling:
The subcontractor, Datto, which specializes in backing up data, had not been aware that it was handling Clinton e-mails until media reports in August noted Platte River Networks’ involvement with the controversy surrounding the former secretary of state’s e-mails.
Datto officials, worried about the “sensitive high profile nature of the data,” then recommended upgrading security by adding sophisticated encryption technology to its backup systems, said the Datto official, who requested anonymity to discuss an issue involving a client.
The Datto official said there is no evidence the company’s systems had been attacked.
Datto officials said they were first hired to work on Clinton’s system in May 2013, and worried that potential security gaps might reach all the way back to that date. They were especially concerned that hackers might have targeted the Clinton server after its existence became a major news story several months ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you national security, Clinton-style.
The backup service didn’t realize they were potentially handling sensitive intelligence material until they read about it in the newspapers… so it wasn’t using the most “sophisticated encryption technology” available. It was probably protected to some degree, because even the most basic commercial online backup systems recognize the danger of hackers intercepting their transmissions, but clearly Datto believes security upgrades were available.
Apparently those superior encryption methods still haven’t been employed, because the Washington Post reports that Datto’s concerns were “rebuffed” by Platte River, “which said it had been instructed by the FBI not to make changes.”
This probably also answers the question about whether Datto technicians were cleared to handle classified material. They had no idea that might have been what they were handling. The FBI’s forensic analysts are working to determine exactly what data was sent across the Internet from Platte River Networks in Denver to Datto, Inc. in Connecticut. If it included classified documents, it’s hard to imagine a more clear-cut criminal violation of national security laws.