Uh-oh: Hillary's server data may be recoverable

Hard though it is to believe, maybe all that feigning of ignorance (”You mean like with a cloth?”) about wiping a server was genuine. Three writers from the Washington Post (Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, and Carol D. Leonig) burrow into the question of what actually was done to the famous server data, and come up with the possibility that the data was not expertly “wiped” by overwriting it multiple times with nonsense characters. That process can be accomplished with commercially available software programs, but according to the Post writers:

The company that managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server said it has “no knowledge of the server being wiped,” the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered. (snip)

“Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped,” company spokesman Andy Boian told The Washington Post. “All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.”

Clinton and her staff have avoided directly answering whether the server was ever wiped.

Now, it is completely possible that Bryan Pagliano, the aide who simultaneously worked for the State Department and was paid by Clinton family funds as well to do private server work, had enough computer savvy to purchase a program that would rewrite the hard drive multiple times. The conversations he may have had with Mrs. Clinton or others on her staff could be potentially incriminating, which may be one reason why he has indicated he will stand on his Fifth Amendment rights. But when would have worked this digital magic? The window of opportunity for destruction of the emails is fairly narrow, given that Platte River Network avers it didn’t do the wiping:

The server that Clinton used as secretary of state was stored at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., and was shared with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and his staff. The device was managed during that time by a State Department staffer who was paid personally by the Clintons for his work on their private system.

All the e-mails from Clinton’s tenure at the State Department were on the server when the device was taken over in June 2013 by Platte River Networks, four months after Clinton left office.

The e-mails were removed from the second server in 2014, with Clinton’s attorneys storing those they deemed work-related on a thumb drive and discarding those that they determined were entirely personal. Copies of 30,000 work e-mails were turned over to the State Department in December and are being released to the public in batches under the terms of a court order.

The original server remained under Platte River’s control in a secure data center in New Jersey until the company turned it over to the FBI last month. A company attorney has said that the device was “blank” when it was given to investigators but had not specifically said it had been wiped.

How did the original server get to be blank? If Platte River Networks didn’t wipe it, then theoretically that data should be recoverable. And it appears Pagliano had no access to it after the data was migrated, only to the second server.

Either a mysterious “sinister force” (a phrase from Watergate - Google it) destroyed the data on the original server, or it should be fully recoverable despite being “blank.” Unlike Lois Lerner’s hard drive, apparently nobody came in with a hammer and physically destroyed it.

Now, it is barely possible that Hillary’s sole concern was protecting her secret Yoga routine and the planning for Chelsea’s wedding. But so far I have not seen anything about the Clinton Foundation in the emails the State Department so far released. Are we to believe that during her 4 years as secretary of state she never mentioned the family foundation in an email? That would make the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the Foundation all the more impressive.

Color me skeptical.