Clinton’s Email Server Firm Scrubs ‘Data-Disposal’ References from Website

Former secretary of state under fire for hosting potentially classified emails on personal server

August 21, 2015

The firm Hillary Clinton hired to manage her private email server quietly removed information from its website in recent days, including references to its partnership with a Colorado data-scrubbing company.

Platte River Networks, the Denver-based company that hosted Clinton’s email server, deleted several pages from its website, including a section about how it outsources its data-disposal work to a local firm called Techno Rescue. That page appears to have been removed earlier this month, but can still be viewed in a cached version on major search engines.

On the now-removed page, Platte River Networks said it provided its customers with "complimentary e-waste technology recycling" through its partnership with Techno Rescue, including the "disposal of data still residing on old technology."

"In order to ensure our customers recycle responsibly, we provide them complimentary e-waste technology recycling," said Platte River Networks. "We partner with Techno Rescue—a fully certified Colorado Electronics Recycling and Data Destruction E-waste company. It is illegal and socially irresponsible to throw your electronics in the trash. Responsible electronics recycling also includes the safe and proper disposal of data still residing on old technology."

On the Techno Rescue website, Platte River Networks’ director of business development David DeCamillis said his company "use[s] Techno Rescue for all our customers technology recycling needs."

An attorney for Platte River Networks told reporters earlier this month that Clinton’s private server was made "blank" as of June 2013 but did not clarify how this process took place.

An attorney for Clinton said this week that her email server was wiped clean of data before Platte River Networks turned it over to the FBI. Federal authorities are currently trying to recover the deleted information, according to reports.

In a recent press conference, Clinton said she did not know whether her server had been erased.

A public relations firm hired by Platte River Networks did not respond to request for comment on whether Techno Rescue had any involvement in disposing of the data from Clinton’s email server. Techno Rescue’s president, Nidal Allis, did not return calls from the Washington Free Beacon.

If a third-party company such as Techno Rescue disposed of the server data, it could add to the list of individuals who had access to Clinton’s email information—and potentially raise new security concerns.

Techno Rescue says it uses a Department of Defense standardized method for data removal that guarantees "100 percent data destruction."

"Even if you run forensic data recovery, the disk will be clean," Allis told the Highlands Ranch Herald in 2009.

But the company has also come under fire for its business practices. A 2010 Colorado I-News Network investigation found that Techno Rescue was "recycling" electronics by shipping them to Hong Kong, a practice that is frowned upon for environmental and security reasons.

Techno Rescue is registered to comply with international environmental standards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s facilities registration database.

Techno Rescue’s Iyad Allis is listed as the company’s regulatory contact in the EPA database. He was charged with selling illegal firearms and bank fraud in a 2008 FBI sting, according to court records. He ultimately pleaded guilty in 2009 to four counts of bank fraud.

A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign on Thursday afternoon did not comment on who was directly responsible for wiping the server or whether an outside company was used.

Alex McGeorge, a tech security expert at Immunity, said there are plenty of firms that will scrub servers for a price, but it is also a relatively simple process that can be done at home.

"In 10 steps that I could explain to my grandma, I could tell you how to do it," said McGeorge.

McGeorge said there are many ways to delete data, and it can often be recovered depending on the removal technique. But he said if the information is "overwritten" with other code it could be impossible to retrieve.

In addition to deleting information about Techno Rescue from its website, Platte River Networks also removed a page that listed its top executives, a "Techno Rescue" logo from its "Partners" page, and references throughout its site to a construction firm that is one of its clients.

The small company has come under international public scrutiny in recent weeks, with the Daily Mail reporting that it was previously run out of a residential loft and housed its servers in the bathroom.