Buried in a footnote and text of the scathing report by the State Department’s Inspector General (IG) about Hillary’s emails is evidence that the private email server that carried America’s top secret information to and from the Secretary of State was installed, maintained, and partially operated by a civilian aide to Bill Clinton who lacked any security clearance and did not even work for the government.
This extensive reliance on a close assistant to Bill Clinton raises questions about the handling of classified material by the Secretary of State. If General David Petraeus was held accountable to passing secret information to his biographer and mistress, what are we to make of the routine access to potentially all secret information granted to Hillary’s husband’s aide?
While not named in the report itself, the “non-Department” aide referred to is apparently Justin Cooper, longtime aide-de-camp to the former president. Cooper had no security clearance and no expertise whatsoever in safeguarding computers. He helped Bill Clinton research two of his books, frequently traveled with Clinton, was involved in Clinton Foundation fundraising, and, at the same time, worked for Teneo — the sprawling investment banking, political consulting, and PR firm that started on Hillary’s tenure. Teneo paid Bill Clinton, Huma Abedin, Doug Band, Justin Cooper. The firm was founded by two former State Department employees and then hired four more.
It was Cooper who initially opened and registered the private server and it was he who apparently maintained its security. But that wasn’t the end of it.
The Inspector General report indicates that on two occasions, Cooper suspected that the server had been hacked and that, on one of them, he actually took it upon himself to shut the entire server down. (Hillary’s aides deny that it was ever hacked, but emails from Cooper belie that assertion). Indeed, both hacking attempts came while Hillary was traveling abroad in locations of dubious security — the UAE, Bosnia, Serbia and Algeria. Her server was especially vulnerable to hacking on her foreign travels when she carried and used her Blackberry which was linked to her server.
The IG Report states that on Jan. 9, 2011, the Bill Clinton aide who registered the clintonemail.com domain — who was Justin Cooper — “notified the Secretary’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations [Huma Abedin] that he had to shut down the server because he believed ‘someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in I didn’t [sic] want to let them have the chance to.’”
Cooper wrote another email to Abedin later in the day stating that, “We were attacked again so I shut [the server] down for a few min.” Abedin emailed another top Clinton aide the next day urging them to not email “anything sensitive” to Clinton. She also offered to “explain more in person.” Abedin did not report any of the hacking issues to anyone at the State department, as was required.
Cooper obviously had the authority, access, and ability to access and shut down the server used by State Department employees, diplomats, and ambassadors to communicate with the Secretary of State. And apparently the server was also used by Bill Clinton’s aides for his business, as we reported last September.
The Clintons are very interested in Cooper’s legal issues. Columnist Monica Crowley reported that the Clintons are now paying Cooper’s legal bills. That’s interesting, isn’t it?
The “all in the family” approach of the Clintons to the operation of the private server makes a mockery of security. Not only could anyone with even minimal levels of skill hack into her server through her Blackberry (that she carried with her into high risk countries despite the explicit warnings of security officials that she wrote about in her own books), but an aide who worked for a former president, who was aggressively courting foreign countries for donations and for a private consulting firm soliciting foreign governments as clients had access to the State Department email server.
But the broader implications of the IG Report about Cooper’s intimate connection with the Secretary of State’s email server suggest that the Hillary and the former president operated an off-the-shelf rogue operation out of Bill Clinton’s office — and possibly the Clinton Foundation — that had the potential access to all the government’s secrets that passed through the Secretary of State.
Hillary went to great lengths to keep the server secret and out of the reach of the State Department and the Freedom of Information Act.
What’s even more astounding is that Bryan Pagliano, who is obviously the second “technical adviser, “a political appointee” of the Secretary referred to in the Report, kept his work on the Secretary’s server a dark secret from his State Department bosses.
Remember, Pagliano was granted immunity by the Department of Justice in exchange for his testimony.
But whatever he actually did for Hillary was on the QT, because according to the Report, his direct supervisors said: “they did not know that he was providing ongoing support to the Secretary’s email system during working hours. They also told the IG that they questioned whether he could support a private client during working hours, given his capacity as a full time employee.”
Yet Hillary’s attorney, David Kendall, said that Pagliano performed technical assistance for the Clinton family and was compensated in various amounts at various times by wire or check.
So what was he doing?
This massive conflict of interest opens up an important new line of investigation: Did Cooper — or anyone else in the Bill Clinton orbit — access any of the actual emails, and, if so, did they share the content with Bill Clinton or anyone at Teneo? These are the kind of questions that the indiscriminate sharing of the email server with the Clintons’ entire official family invites.
The OIG Report raises lots of questions beyond its unequivocal conclusion that Hillary did not seek permission for the use of a private email server and would not have been granted permission in any event. Moreover, the Report certifies that she violated Federal Records requirements and failed to protect the server from cyber strikes.
The Report verifies what we already knew: Hillary is a chronic liar who deliberately lied about her email server cover-up.
Let’s hope the FBI picks up where the OIG left off.