Monday, September 14, 2015

Washington Post publishes another confusing story about Clinton email server

New spokesman hired by firm scrubbed the website for his own firm days ago to remove name of former President Bill Clinton deputy staff secretary who has been recently defending Hillary Clinton over emails on MSNBC

There won't be any - and certainly shouldn't be - Pulitzer Prizes awarded to the New York Times or the Washington Post for reporting on the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Both papers have made sloppy mistakes and it's hard to tell if their articles have helped or hurt the top 2016 presidential candidate, as opposed to her actual actions since leaving the State Department which have hurt her: deleting emails and taking too long to apologize for using a private account. And nearly one month to the day after publishing a confusing story about the Clinton email server that was seized by the FBI, three of the same four Washington Post journalists strike again.

On August 12, 2015, four top Washington Post journalists - Karen Tumulty, Rosalind Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Carol Leonnig - reported, "The e-mail server used by Hillary Rodham Clinton when she served as secretary of state was turned over to the FBI late Wednesday afternoon from a private data center in New Jersey, according to an attorney familiar with the transfer."

The source for that story was "Barbara J. Wells, a Denver lawyer who represents Platte River Networks Inc., a small computer services firm that has managed the Clintons’ private e-mail system since mid-2013."
"After she left government service in early 2013, the Clintons decided to upgrade the system, hiring Platte River as the new manager of a privately managed e-mail network. The old server was removed from the Clinton home by Platte River and stored in a third party data center, which are set up to provide security from threats of hacking and natural disaster, Wells said.

Platte River Networks has retained control of the old server since it took over management of the Clintons’ e-mail system. She said that the old server 'was blank,' and no longer contained useful data.

'The information had been migrated over to a different server for purposes of transition,' from the old system to one run by Platte River, she said, recalling the transfer that occurred in June 2013.

'To my knowledge the data on the old server is not available now on any servers or devices in Platte River Network’s control.
After that story was published, I complained to the four Washington Post journalists on Twitter and in an email that their article was full of misinformation. That there was plenty of information and "useful data" that could be retrieved, even if the server had been wiped, and that constantly quoting Hillary Clinton and lawyers claiming that nothing had been emailed marked classified made no sense since the information itself could be classified. I even suggested that they read a Bloomberg news article to learn more about forensic server retrieving and an editor from Ars Technica retweeted me.

Also, the dateline was confusing, and the Washington Post journalists made no effort to explain it. Why were there multiple servers and did the FBI have the correct one? This couldn't have been the server Hillary Clinton staffers used to send emails to the State Department last winter, if it had been blank since June of 2013.

"Thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state have disappeared off the private server taken into custody by the FBI Wednesday evening, raising questions as to where that data presently resides," Sarah Westwood reported for the Washington Examiner on August 14, 2015. "Platte River Networks does not have any data from the old server that is available on any of the servers or devices that they currently have in their control," Wells told Westwood.

One possible explanation is that the server was transferred to Platte River in reaction to the hacking of Sidney Blumenthal's email account by the Romanian hacker Guccifer in March of 2013, or perhaps it was compromised shortly after, but the feds should be able to determine that. "Someone needs to ask Hillary Clinton or the FBI directly if the FBI has the actual computer that the emails were printed up from," I said to Westwood in a DM conversation last month, in reaction to her story.

"The revelation that Clinton never ordered the server wiped could bolster her statements that her actions have been aboveboard, suggesting that she did not take active steps to hide her e-mails," Rosalind Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Carol Leonnig reported for The Washington Post on Friday, only there isn't any "revelation" in their article, just more confusion, perhaps intentional, and it's ludicrous to claim deleting emails isn't an "active step". It would be like arguing that the fictional serial killer Dexter only chopped up a body, and didn't use acid to properly dispose of it, so his "actions have been aboveboard."

The Washington Post journalists have ignored my criticism of other sloppy reporting they have recently committed in related stories.

On August 27, Helderman and Hamburger wrongfully reported, that Huma Abedin "has said little publicly about her multiple roles during that time, a personally tumultuous period following the birth of her son and a texting scandal that ended the political career of her husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)." But the timeline is completely off. Abedin's "multiple roles" - working for at least four different employers at the same time - were played from June of 2012 until she left the State Department on February 1, 2013, before Weiner ran for mayor. It wasn't a "personally tumultuous period", since Abedin hadn't started pretending, yet, that the Weiners had patched up their marriage issues and counseling had cured his sexting addiction. Abedin lost a lot of supporters when it turned out that interviews she gave to People and The New York Times were, at best, disingenuous.

In that same story, Helderman and Hamburger ignored that one of their sources, longtime Clinton supporter, "Niall O’Dowd, publisher of Irish America magazine" had claimed in a June of 2014 essay that "12 of us old-time Hillary supporters sat with her in a Dublin restaurant at a dinner hosted by businessman Denis O’Brien", as I reported in March, but now the less controversial American Ireland Fund director John Fitzpatrick was being fingered as the host instead of Teneo CEO Declan Kelly or O'Brien, who received bad press coverage in March.

And this line also seems to be ignorant of historical events: "As Clinton was preparing in late 2012 to leave office, Abedin also was considering her post-government career options." Even if her husband won the New York City mayoral race, it was always expected that Abedin would return to Clinton's side as she prepared to launch another presidential campaign that surprised no one.

On August 27, I reported that the same Washington Post article neglected to mention that banking executive Ken Miller was an advisor to the State Department when he contacted Huma Abedin for advice in July of 2012, before taking a job with Teneo. Also, Washington Post journalists ignored my exclusive reporting about Hillary Clinton's last trip to Ireland as Secretary of State which involved events with fundraisers and Teneo CEO Declan Kelly, and when it was confirmed in the emails Citizen United leaked to them, they flubbed the reporting and failed to note key information. The paper has also ignored that Huma Abedin's attorneys have deep ties to the State Department and Hillary Clinton, and never seems to challenge them on how long they've represented her or who is paying them.

"The company that managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server said it has 'no knowledge of the server being wiped,' the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered," Rosalind Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Carol Leonnig reported for The Washington Post on Friday. "'Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped,'" company spokesman Andy Boian told The Washington Post. All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped."

But this is nothing more than a useless sound bite that raises more questions than it answers. Instead of definitively finding out if the server was wiped or not, the reporters based an entire story on a non-definitive statement. If no one connected to the Clinton server can give a straight answer on whether or not it was wiped, then the media should stop quoting them on that topic, and grill them about something else instead. A few weeks ago, Wells hung up on a Bloomberg reporter after asked for further details.

"Even if the e-mails could be restored, it’s unclear whether anyone would have the authority to do so," the Post reporters admit, before, adding, "Conservative groups have already been pressing in court for access to those e-mails, if they exist," which is another example of the paper, yet again, ignoring lawsuits by liberal leaning journalists at Gawker and Vice News.

On August 27, Rosalind Helderman reported claims by Platte River that it had received death threats, but didn't note if any police reports had been made by the firm ("Tom Hamburger, Karen Tumulty and Alice Crites contributed to this report") Their new source is "Andy Boian, a public relations manager brought on last week to help Platte River deal with its newfound fame."
"Last week, an attorney for the company said the server was 'blank' when it was turned over to the FBI. Attorney Barbara Wells also said that at one point, data from the server was 'migrated' to another server for the purpose of making the transition to Platte River.

But Boian, the public relations manager, said he could no longer be confident that Wells’s information about the server being blank had been accurate.
According to his online biography, Andy Boian has had a long career working in Democratic politics, and he was on the "transition teams for both the nation's forty-second president and a United States secretary of the interior." Bill Clinton was the 42nd president, and Boian's Linked In biography adds, "Andy has also been actively involved in politics at the local and national levels as a senior advisor, strategist, and speechwriter. In these capacities he has worked on numerous mayoral, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns for the past 21 years. He served on the transition team for the nation's 42nd President, and two cabinet nominees for two different presidential administrations."

Just days ago, Andy Boian's firm Dovetail Solution's website was scrubbed and Strategic Counselor David Goodfriend's name was removed. "His positions in government service have included deputy staff secretary to President Bill Clinton, professional committee staff to Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), and media legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Susan Ness. Goodfriend helped found Air America Radio and co-hosts “Left Jab” on Sirius-XM. He also is a regular political contributor to MSNBC, CNBC and Fox."

On MNSNBC, David Goodfriend has been blasting the media for its Hillary Clinton coverage, as Media Matters notes: "The second thing is, I saw some very interesting news about a federal judge saying there's nothing wrong with what Hillary Clinton did with respect to deleting personal e-mails. Where is the big coverage of that? Oh, wouldn't you know it, that's just buried, deep, deep, deep. I had to research and Google and try to find it. Oh, here it is! So come on. Don't tell me there's this even-handed treatment of Hillary Clinton -- everybody in the press corps seems to love the gotcha game."

As Google notes, this is "a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Sep 9, 2015":

On August 24,'s Patrick Howley broke the news, that Goodfriend worked for Dovetail Solutions. "Goodfriend took a class at Georgetown Law School with current Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who was then in between shifts in the Bill Clinton White House," Howley reported. "Goodfriend is reportedly a member of a Hillary Clinton For President organization. His relationship with Podesta was documented."

On April 22, David Goodfriend contributed $2,700 to the Hillary For America presidential campaign. On August 28, 2008, Goodfriend contributed $1,000 to Friends of Hillary, and he gave $2,300 to her general and primary campaigns on October 18, 2007 and another $1,000 to the primary campaign on June 11, 2007.

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