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FBI Recovers Personal Emails Allegedly Deleted From Hillary Clinton's Personal Server

When Hillary's email scandal first broke, the Democrat frontrunner for president explained that roughly half of the 60,000 emails that had been housed on her private server were screened by her and deleted as they contained personal information such as "planning for Chelsea’s wedding, yoga routines and condolence messages." Her staff then turned over paper copies of the remaining work-related emails to the State Department for processing and archiving, with some 8000 emails posted for public consumption. But a problem emerged in March when the State Department determined that dozens of the e-mails contained classified information.

It is this discovery, as well as questions about how and why these classified emails were housed on a private server, that prompted FBI the launch an inquiry into what the "personal" emails may have contained.

Today, as Bloomberg reports, the FBI has recovered the personal and work-related e-mails from the private computer server used by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, and which had allegedly been wiped clea. The FBI obtained Clinton’s server from the Colorado-based company managing it.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s success at salvaging personal e-mails that Clinton said had been deleted raises the possibility that the Democratic presidential candidate’s correspondence eventually could become public. The disclosure of such e-mails would likely fan the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system for official business.


Outside computer specialists have said the FBI has the technical capability to recover deleted e-mails. The exact number of personal e-mails recovered by the FBI could not be learned.

Bloomberg's source adds that once the e-mails have been extracted, a group of agents has been separating personal correspondence and passing along work-related messages to agents leading the investigation.

Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, did not respond to phone calls or e-mails seeking comment. Nick Merrill, a spokesman, said, “We’ve cooperated to date and will continue to do so, including answering any questions about this that anyone including the public may have.”

The discovery adds more clouds to Hillary's campaign who has seen her standing in the polls slide since the email scandal broke, particularly in regards to questions about her trustworthiness. The problem becomes one of timing and when the FBI will reveal the findings of its probe. According to Bloomberg the bureau’s probe is expected to last at least several more months. That timeline would push any final determination closer to the Democratic presidential primary calendar, which kicks off Feb. 1 with the Iowa caucuses. Any new, unapalatable revelations - implicitly ones which will layer on incremental lies by the former Secretary of State - will only make her already shaky campaign even more tenuous.

It also digs up issues that were supposedly already buried. As a reminder, when asked if and how she had wiped her supposedly secure server, Hillary responded "What, like with a cloth or something?"

In retrospect, the discovery that the FBI was able to recover the deleted emails casts even more doubt on her campaign's claim that the server had been secure and had been wiped clean, the implication being that if the FBI could access it, so could any modestly computer literate third-party. Computer experts are already panning today's news:


I'm a bit stunned that no one in Clinton's inner circle knew how to properly erase data from a computer.

— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian)

Clinton's private email server was secure.
Clinton's people didn't know how to delete her old emails.
These two things can't both be true.

— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian)

So expect even more drama out of Hillary's email fiasco; whether or not this impacts public opinion of the potential next US president remains to be seen. Perhaps Hillary will end up having the last laugh after all and none of this will make "any difference" at all.