The FBI is expected to try to recover data from the server, which has held no data since 2013
All data was erased from Hillary Clinton’s private email server before it was handed over to US government authorities last week, the US presidential candidate’s personal lawyer has told a senate committee.
In a letter sent last week to Ron Johnson, chairman of the senate homeland security committee, attorney David Kendall said the server had been transferred to the FBI on 12 August by Platte River Networks, a Denver-based company hired by the Clintons in 2013 to manage their email.
In the letter, Kendall said the server “no longer contains data from secretary Clinton’s” private email account or any other data.
The server, which hosted a personal email account separate from Clinton’s official account, is at the centre of efforts by Clinton’s critics to prove that she sent or received personal emails containing classified information during the period in which she served as secretary of state, from 21 January 2009 to 1 February 2013.
Those efforts have gained in intensity ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
Clinton maintains none of the emails that passed through her personal account during the period in question contained classified information, although she acknowledged that some of the information in those emails was retroactively classified at a later date.
Last week, a laywer for Platte River Networks said that the company had migrated the data contained in the server to other systems when it took over the Clintons’ account in 2013, and had erased the data from the server at that time.
The FBI is expected to try to recover data from the server’s hard disks nonetheless. The agency has said its preliminary inquiry is intended to establish whether any confidential data was exposed in an insecure manner.
Before being transferred to the FBI, the server was reportedly stored in a warehouse by Platte River Networks, and previous to that, during the time of its active use, it was located in the Clintons’ family home in Chappaqua, New York.
Kendall’s letter also reiterated steps Clinton’s team took to preserve official email communications dating from her time as secretary of state.
Clinton has said she turned over 30,000 work-related emails from the private account to the State Department in December, but discarded another 31,000 messages that dealt with purely personal matters.
“We went through a painstaking process and through 55,000 pages we thought could be worth relating,” Clinton told reporters at the time. “Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions.”
In the letter Kendall said he had voluntarily handed over a USB drive on which he had retained copies of official Clinton emails, and which had been requested by the FBI along with the server.
Kendall said he and another attorney at his firm had been given security clearance to handle the drive and that it had been stored in a safe provided by the State Department.
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, a rival to Clinton for the Democratic Party’s nomination, said the email issue had become a “huge distraction” for the party.
Clinton agreed that the issue has proven awkward.
“In retrospect, what was meant to be convenient has turned out to be anything but convenient,” she said on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.
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