Examining Preservation of State Department Records

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: September 13, 2016 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

0913 Federal RecordsTAKEAWAYS:

  • Former State employee Bryan Pagliano defied a congressional subpoena and did not appear as a witness before the Committee.
  • Despite being compelled by subpoenas, Mr. Pagliano and Mr. Combetta did not produce their immunity agreements and the Committee was unable to learn important details about their deals with the Department of Justice.
  • Platte River Networks IT specialists Paul Combetta and Bill Thornton invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege and refused to answer questions from the Committee.
  • Mr. Combetta would not answer questions from the Chairman concerning two specific email exchanges about Secretary Clinton’s emails and federal records.
  • Justin Cooper confirmed that Secretary Clinton had personal computers inside her New York and Washington, DC residences, which she denied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Mr. Cooper did not have a security clearance yet had access to Secretary Clinton’s private server containing sensitive and classified information.

PURPOSE:

  • To examine the circumstances leading to the failure to preserve federal records during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

BACKGROUND:

  •  In December 2014 through August 2016, the Department of State (State) received tens of thousands of federal records created during Secretary Clinton’s tenure at the Department (2009-2013).
  • Many of these federal records were the subject of preservation requests from Congress, subpoenas, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and other media requests which should have been preserved long ago.
  • Despite an affidavit signed by Secretary Clinton in August 2015 stating all of her records were turned over to State, in just the last month, State received “a number of disks” from the Federal Bureau of Investigation containing at least 14,900 emails of Secretary Clinton’s with the possibility for tens of thousands more
  • On September 8, the Committee held a hearing examining FOIA compliance at State.
  • In the event Mr. Pagliano fails to appear, the Committee will consider the following: Resolution and Report recommending that the House of Representatives find Bryan Pagliano in Contempt of Congress for Refusal to Comply with a Subpoena Duly Issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

KEY VIDEOS:

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “Here’s the problem: it’s you, Mr. Cooper, with no experience, no dual authentication, no encryption, up against the Chinese and the Russians – who do you think is going to win that one? That’s what scares the living daylights out of us, is because the cavalier nature in which this was set up in some of the nation’s most sensitive and secure information. That’s the concern.”

Healthcare Benefits and Administrative Rules Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH): “No regular American can get away with the kind of behavior Secretary Clinton gets away with, two standards now in the country and this is what is so wrong and this is why the hearings you’re having and the investigation we’re doing is entirely appropriate.”

Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Meadows (R-NC):
“Is it common place when you have a discussion about erasing emails and archived emails to have an attorney on a discussion with a client?”

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. Justin Cooper
Mr. Bryan Pagliano Former Senior Advisor, Information Resource Management U.S. Department of State
Mr. Bill Thornton Platte River Networks
Mr. Austin McChord Founder and CEO Datto, Inc.

Related Documents

Name Document
Platte River Networks Email Document
Datto to PRN Document
Combetta Email Document