Employees at company working with Clinton email server expressed concerns
(CNN)Employees at the company that maintained Hillary Clinton's private email server expressed concern among themselves about the way the former secretary of state's team directed them to manage data backups after the FBI started looking into the arrangements, according to emails obtained by a senator.
In a letter obtained by CNN, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, asks Datto, Inc, the makers of Clinton's server back-up system, for information on how her emails were preserved and protected. The FBI has also sought information from the company, according to sources.
Johnson indicates that a "Clinton family company," Clinton Executive Service Corp., paid for the back-up services, operated through a device called the Datto SIRIS S2000, and that the purchase was made by Platte River Networks when the server was moved from her private residence to a New Jersey-based data center in 2013.
In the letter, Johnson quotes from emails sent by and to employees at Platte River Networks, which indicate there was discussion about how the duration of data backups could be reduced, apparently at the direction of the Clinton Executive Service Corp.
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Then this past August, a Platte River Networks employee wrote to a coworker that he was, "Starting to think this whole thing really is covering up some shaddy (sic) s**t."
"I just think if we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups, and that we can go public with our statement saying we have backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30days (sic), it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better," the unnamed employee continued.
The email was sent shortly after news emerged that the FBI was looking into the security of the server, and several months after it was revealed that Clinton exclusively used the private account to conduct State Department business.
The employee indicates in the email that Clinton's team asked them to change the back-up duration between October and February, presumably of 2014/2015, though that isn't explicitly stated in the portion of the email included in Johnson's letter.
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In a statement Wednesday morning, the Clinton campaign accused Johnson of "ripping a page from the House Benghazi Committee's playbook and mounting his own, taxpayer-funded sham of an investigation with the sole purpose of attacking Hillary Clinton politically."
"The Justice Department's independent review is led by nonpolitical, career professionals, and Ron Johnson has no business interfering with it for his own partisan ends," campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in the statement.
The committee did not share any of the emails with CNN, but excerpts and descriptions from them are printed in Johnson's letter.
Emails sent between Datto and Platte River Networks during that time indicate there was confusion about where the backed-up data would be stored, and for a while it was backed-up to an off-site Datto server, apparently against the wishes of Clinton staff.
When Platte River Networks became aware of the off-site syncing issue, they contacted Datto and discussed how they could retrieve that data for storage on-site, according to Johnson's letter.
"Despite these communications, it is unclear whether or not this course of action was followed," Johnson said. "Additionally,questions still remain as to whether Datto actually transferred the data from its off-site data center to the on-site server, what data was backed up and whether Datto wiped the data after it was transferred."
Johnson wrote to Datto seeking more information about their dealings with Platte River Networks and Clinton Executive Service Corp.
Johnson also asked the company to say whether Datto is authorized to store classified information, and whether any employees at the company have security clearances that would allow them to view classified information.