On Wednesday, senators released the transcript of an interview with an investigator for the Intelligence Community Inspector General that included new revelations about Hillary Clinton’s illegal, off-the-books email system. The Daily Caller headlines: “Clinton IT Aide Who Defied Subpoena Says He Created A Cryptic Gmail Account And Sent It Nearly All Of Hillary’s Emails.”
I won’t attempt an exhaustive summary; for the details, which remain obscure, follow the link. These strike me as the highlights:
* Metadata for Clinton’s emails indicate that copies of all of them (with possibly four exceptions) were sent to “[email protected]” This raises the possibility that Hillary’s 30,000 or so missing emails may still exist and be recoverable, but that strikes me as unlikely. More probably, whoever controlled that email account deleted them long ago.
* The guy who set up this fictitious email account is a crook:
The FBI says that the suspicious Gmail address was set up by an IT aide, Paul Combetta, who worked for a company that managed Clinton’s server. Combetta is the same IT aide who used BleachBit to permanently erase copies of Clinton’s emails after they were subpoenaed by the House, misled the FBI about it, and was given immunity from prosecution, all while asking for basic computing advice on Reddit.
Combetta refused to cooperate with the Department of Justice Inspector General and with the authors of the Senate report about his use of the cryptic email address. He previously pleaded the Fifth before Congress in September 2016 about his deletion of emails.
* The Intelligence Community Inspector General investigator who discovered the Carter Heavy Industries destination was Frank Rucker. It was his interview transcript that was released on Wednesday. Rucker thought the Carter Heavy Industries finding was potentially important, and passed it on to Peter Strzok, the FBI official who headed up the Hillary Clinton email investigation and–with a great deal more enthusiasm–the Trump/Russia hoax. “Strzok seemed uninterested and did not ask any followup questions,” according to Rucker. Well, of course not. From Strzok’s perspective, this was just one more damn thing he would have to cover up.
* The FBI as a whole, not just Strzok, was uncooperative, so ICIG did some research on its own:
Frustrated by the FBI’s attitude to a possible national security issue, ICIG McCullough and Rucker, the ICIG investigator, did basic research that found that a company with a similar name, Shandong Carter Heavy Industry Machinery Co., was based in Shandong, China, according to the Senate report. Shandong is a province that houses multiple schools where Chinese hackers allegedly study and infiltrate Western systems.
Is that coincidence significant? Probably not. The crook Combetta set up the Carter Heavy Industries Gmail account. There is no reason to think he was acting on behalf of the Chinese government, and if he were, he would have no reason to give the email account a name that would tie it to China.
That’s enough for now. We may never learn all the details of Hillary’s email frolic, but we probably don’t need to. What we know for sure is bad enough: she ignored statutes and State Department rules by creating a technically incompetent off-the-books email system that was easily vulnerable to penetration by foreign powers. She did this in order to evade the Freedom of Information Act and to keep secret matters relating to her job duties that the American people were entitled by law to know (and perhaps other things as well).
In the Obama administration, Clinton was no outlier. Other senior Obama officials did the same or similar things–Obama’s EPA head conducted official business using a private email account in the name of her dog–and President Obama himself was well aware of Hillary’s improper conduct. He emailed Hillary at her “secret” email address using an alias. The rank incompetence on display here is stunning.