The FBI is looking into the security setup of the email server used by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at her New York home, The Washington Post reports.
Two government officials told the Post that the FBI has contacted a Denver-based technology firm that helped manage the “homebrew” system, as well as Clinton’s lawyer, who has a thumbdrive with copies of her work emails.
The officials noted that the FBI is not targeting Clinton.
The Post reports that the unusual system was originally set up by a staffer during her 2008 presidential campaign, replacing a server used by her husband and former President Bill Clinton.
The new server was run by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked as the IT director on Hillary Clinton’s campaign before joining the State Department in May 2009. People briefed on the server told the Post that Pagliano continued to serve as the lead specialist for the server. In 2013 — the same year she left the State Department — Clinton hired the Denver-based company Platte River to oversee the system.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner in the 2016 election, has repeatedly said she broke no laws or rules by forgoing a standard government email account in favour of the private account. She has also said, as recently as late July, that she is “confident” she did not send or receive classified information by email.
The inspector general for the Director of National intelligence (DNI) recently stated that the server potentially includes hundreds of classified emails, some of which include information derived from US intelligence agencies.
The inspector referred the investigation to the Justice Department, requesting the department to look into the possible mishandling of classified information on the server from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill subsequently stated that Clinton “followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials.”
He declined to comment on the FBI’s actions, but told the Post that Clinton “did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time. We want to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed as these emails are reviewed while not unduly delaying the release of her emails. We want that to happen as quickly and as transparently as possible.”
‘No security breaches’
In March, Clinton said that the system “had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.”
Various experts have said that they are sceptical of the purported security of the server.
“On the nation-state level, bad guys have the ability to pinpoint security holes that other low-level hackers might not know about,” Alex McGeorge, senior security researcher at Immunity Inc., told Business Insider in March.
“Government cybersecurity experts know that government servers will be compromised no matter what, so they are fully prepared to get hackers off the system as soon as possible.”
The key question revolves around the private system’s security setup, which is exactly what the FBI is investigating.
“Had there been a security hole in Clinton’s server, it would have been fairly easy for a hacker to infiltrate the network and have access to her entire inbox,” security expert
Chris Weber, cofounder of Casaba Security, told Business Insider in March.
Brett LoGiurato and Natasha Bertrand contributed to this post.