The Real Benghazi Committee

FBI > grandstanding idiots in Congress
October 22, 2015

Hillary Clinton will head to Capitol Hill this morning to testify before the Benghazi special committee. She will be forced to answer a handful of good questions by Republican lawmakers who know what they're talking about, but mostly she will be forced to listen while grandstanding idiots pretend to be angry in front of cameras. The hearing will most likely be a huge waste of time because House Republicans have not demonstrated an ability to conduct themselves with a minimal degree of competence. Anything could happen, but odds are Hillary will actually benefit from the shenanigans. She ought to be far more worried about the real Benghazi committee: the FBI.

Anyone who thinks government transparency is a good thing should commend the Benghazi committee for uncovering the fact that Hillary Clinton, as our nation's top diplomat, conducted all her government business on a personal email account over a private server in a bathroom stall in Colorado. This discovery prompted intelligence watchdogs to conduct their own reviews, which determined that Hillary's emails contained information classified as "top secret." The FBI opened an investigation into whether Clinton's mom-and-pop email server may have compromised national security.

The early indications aren't good. The FBI has discovered a second data company that may have access to Hillary's emails. Earlier this month, McClatchy reported on revelations (via a letter from Sen. Ron Johnson) that some employees at Platte River Networks, the Colorado-based company primarily responsible for Hillary's email server, were pretty sketched out after they were instructed to change the way they backed up data on the server, with one employee expressing concern about whether "this whole thing really is covering up some shaddy (sic) shit."

Despite Boian’s statement that Platte River set up a 30-day revolving retention policy for Clinton’s emails, Johnson’s letter noted that Platte River employees were directed to reduce the amount of email data being stored with each backup. Late this summer, Johnson wrote, a Platte River employee took note of this change and inquired whether the company could search its archives for an email from Clinton Executive Service Corp. directing such a reduction in October or November 2014 and then again around February, advising Platte River to save only emails sent during the most recent 30 days.

Those reductions would have occurred after the State Department requested that Clinton turn over her emails.

It was here that a Platte River employee voiced suspicions about a cover-up and sought to protect the company. "If we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups," the employee wrote, "and that we can go public with our statement saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better," according to the email cited by Johnson.

The Associated Press has reported that Hillary's email setup was more vulnerable to intrusion by hackers than previously known.

The AP exclusively reviewed numerous records from an Internet "census" by an anonymous hacker-researcher, who three years ago used unsecured devices to scan hundreds of millions of Internet Protocol addresses for accessible doors, called "ports." Using a computer in Serbia, the hacker scanned Clinton's basement server in Chappaqua at least twice, in August and December 2012. It was unclear whether the hacker was aware the server belonged to Clinton, although it identified itself as providing email services for The results are widely available online.

Remote-access software allows users to control another computer from afar. The programs are usually operated through an encrypted connection — called a virtual private network, or VPN. But Clinton's system appeared to accept commands directly from the Internet without such protections.

"That's total amateur hour," said Marc Maiffret, who has founded two cybersecurity companies. He said permitting remote-access connections directly over the Internet would be the result of someone choosing convenience over security or failing to understand the risks. "Real enterprise-class security, with teams dedicated to these things, would not do this," he said.

Fox News reported last week that the FBI investigation was focusing on a provision of the Espionage Act concerning the mishandling of classified material "through gross negligence." President Obama recently told 60 Minutes Hillary's email server did not pose a risk to national security, but the White House was later forced to walk back that assertion. Some in the FBI were not pleased by Obama's initial remarks, according to the New York Times. Investigators have "not reached any conclusions about whether the information on the server was compromised or whether to recommend charges."

Stay tuned to what the actual professionals have to say.