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Clinton Aide: Secret Service ‘Made Some Recommendations’ After Suspicious Failed Logins on Private Server

Paul Combetta, left, and Bill Thornton of Platte River Networks take their seats before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

WASHINGTON – The former State Department IT specialist who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server ignored a subpoena and did not attend a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

“He should be here. When you are served a subpoena by the United States Congress, that is not optional,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said of Bryan Pagliano at the “Examining Preservation of State Department Records” hearing. “We’re not letting go of this.”

Chaffetz also said all of Pagliano’s State Department emails have vanished.

“Virtually every single email that Mr. Pagliano had has suddenly disappeared. There’s something like less than 20 emails — this is the guy who worked in the IT department at the State Department — hashtag #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm,” he said.

“I will consult with counsel and my colleagues on the committee to consider a full range of options available to address Mr. Pagliano’s failure to appear,” he added.

Justin Cooper, the Clinton aide who worked with Pagliano to set up the server in the basement of Clinton’s Chappaqua, N.Y. home, told the committee he lacks a security clearance and is “not an expert in computer security.”

Cooper said he “oversaw the setup” of an Apple server for the Clinton Foundation, which Hillary Clinton also used. Cooper also helped establish a separate private server for Clinton during her tenure as secretary of State that was maintained by the Colorado-based company Platte River Networks, which he referred to as the “Pagliano server.”

Cooper, who wiped and destroyed Clinton’s old mobile devices that she used for private email, recalled numerous failed login attempts on her private email server.

“As there was an increases in the failed login attempts, we made the Secret Service aware and they made some recommendations,” Cooper said.

“The Secret Service reviewed some of the logs from the server and made some recommendations to Mr. Pagliano about the possible origins of those failed logins and some techniques he might use to mitigate that problem,” he added.

Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) asked Cooper if the Secret Service or any government officials expressed concern about the use of a private server to conduct government business.

“Not directly to me,” he said.

Hice told Cooper his conduct was “extremely dangerous” and shows “absolute disregard for our national security.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) asked Cooper why he made the decision to host Clinton’s email server in her home rather than use a company’s hosting services such as 1and1.com.

“I’m not sure I was the decision-maker. I was in discussions primarily with Huma Abedin,” he said. “I don’t know if she was the decision-maker.”

Cooper told Meadows that Clinton used an AT&T e-mail address and two others on the Clinton domain.

Bill Thornton of Platte River Networks pleaded the Fifth at the hearing and would not answer basic questions such as, “Do you intend to make an opening statement?”

Chaffetz questioned Paul Combetta of Platte River Networks, who wiped the emails off of Clinton’s private server and was reportedly granted immunity by the Justice Department.

“On the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer and assert my Fifth Amendment privilege,” he replied.

Ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told the witnesses he understood their decision not to answer any questions.

“I can understand why you are doing what you are doing. We’ve had a case here before where answering a question or two we then ended up in all kinds of litigation as to whether or not they had waived their Fifth Amendment rights – so I have nothing further,” he said before Chaffetz excused them from the witness table.