National Security

GOP chairman demands interview with Clinton IT aides after Reddit posts

The House Science Committee is demanding interviews this week with employees of the IT firm that managed Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

Two of those employees, Paul Combetta and Bill Thornton, recently pleaded the Fifth Amendment when subpoenaed to testify about the server before the House Oversight Committee.

{mosads}Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) had originally demanded transcribed interviews with seven Platte River Networks employees in July, but has been rebuffed.

But Monday reports that Reddit users have uncovered a post by Combetta asking how to modify certain emails for a “VERY VIP” client have led Smith to demand the interviews be scheduled by Friday of this week.

“If true, these details raise new questions as to whether Platte River Networks purposefully defied legal document retention requirements. Further, it is unclear if the Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware of these facts at the time of their investigation,” Smith wrote in a letter sent Monday.

“Additionally, I am concerned that Mr. Combetta may have made an attempt to delete relevant posts, including the post mentioned above, from his username just hours after reports initially surfaced on September 19, 2016, about his request for assistance on deleting email addresses from archived emails,” Smith wrote.

A username — ”stonetear” — believed to be associated with Combetta deleted all of its old posts after the reports emerged.

“This raises significant concerns that materials directly related to the Committee’s investigation and responsive to its outstanding requests are being actively destroyed in an attempt to conceal relevant information from coming to light,” Smith writes.

Smith threatened to issue a subpoena if the interviews with Combetta and Thornton are not scheduled by noon on Friday.

The House Oversight Committee is also looking into the Reddit post.

On Monday, users appeared to have uncovered a two-year-old post from stonetear that coincides with the discovery of Clinton’s use of the server.

“I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email. … Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out,” reads the post, which has been deleted but can be read in images archived by other Reddit users.

“Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?”

The Reddit message was sent on July 23, 2014, according to the archive of the page saved by other users. The day before, the House Select Committee on Benghazi had reached an agreement with the State Department on the production of related records, according to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of the server.

The identity of stonetear is not confirmed. Reddit users point to the fact that an account on the online marketplace Etsy for a Paul Combetta has the username stonetear, and the inactive website is registered to the email address

An attorney for Platte River Networks, Kenneth Eichner, is declining to comment on the matter.

Combetta is currently one of the targets of a broader Oversight investigation on whether Clinton ordered the destruction of emails that had been subpoenaed by the Benghazi Committee.

The Science Committee has launched its own probe into the security of Clinton’s server.

Tags Hillary Clinton

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