News & Politics

Report: Key Security Features Were Temporarily Disabled on Clinton's Email Server

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton marks the State Department's observance of the first International Day of the Girl Child, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, at the State Department in Washington.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

New emails released Wednesday reinforce the public perception that Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted because her unsecure email system while secretary of State endangered national security.

According to the emails released under court order to Judicial Watch, State Department staffers temporarily disabled security features on the government’s own systems in December of 2010 to mitigate  a serious technical problem that affected emails from then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s home email server.

The emails, reviewed by The Associated Press, show that State Department technical staff disabled software on their systems intended to block phishing emails that could deliver dangerous viruses. They were trying urgently to resolve delivery problems with emails sent from Clinton’s private server.

“This should trump all other activities,” a senior technical official, Ken LaVolpe, told IT employees in a Dec. 17, 2010, email. Another senior State Department official, Thomas W. Lawrence, wrote days later in an email that deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin personally was asking for an update about the repairs. Abedin and Clinton, who both used Clinton’s private server, had complained that emails each sent to State Department employees were not being reliably received.

After technical staffers turned off some security features, Lawrence cautioned in an email, “We view this as a Band-Aid and fear it’s not 100 percent fully effective.”

According to previously disclosed emails, the server was attacked by hackers a few weeks later, forcing Clinton’s staff to shut it down.  Clinton aide Huma Abedin wrote to other high-ranking staff the next day, saying: “Don’t email hrc (Clinton) anything sensitive. I can explain more in person.” Which of course suggests that people were in the habit of emailing Clinton sensitive information on her unsecure server.

If this story pans out, Hillary Clinton should be finished as a candidate. But the AP updated its report to say that after the  initial report,  State Department spokesman John Kirby claimed that the emails described “a series of troubleshooting measures to the department’s system — not Secretary Clinton’s system — to attempt to remedy the problem.” Clinton, meanwhile, has repeatedly denied that her private email server was ever breached.

As part of its ongoing suit, lawyers from Judicial Watch on Wednesday questioned Bryan Pagliano, a former IT staffer for Clinton who helped set up the server, under oath. According to the group, Pagliano repeatedly responded to questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, as he did last year before a congressional committee.

Pagliano reportedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right more than 125 times during questioning.

“The new Hillary Clinton email records show she had zero interest in disclosing her emails to the public as the law requires,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “And the emails show the Obama State Department gave special accommodations to Clinton’s email system, which the agency knew was unsecure, was likely hacked, and was not transparent under FOIA.”