The Federal Bureau of Investigation was unable to access any of the cell phones Hillary Clinton used while she was Secretary of State and now we know why – she had her staff smash them with a hammer.
According to newly released FBI documents, the investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal email server was unable to obtain potentially important evidence from the eight cell phones she used while Secretary of State.
Justin Cooper, a Department of State aide, recalled at least two occasions when he “destroyed” the secretary of state’s old Blackberry cell phones, according to FBI documents.
Clinton’s lawyers were also unable to locate the phones. Her aides told FBI investigators the former diplomat went through phones often, and the “whereabouts” of her old phones would become unknown once she switched to a new device.
Cooper would destroy Clinton’s old phones by “breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer,” according to investigators.
Clinton and her legal team deleted thousands more emails she claimed were personal and private. The FBI report details steps taken by Clinton’s staff that appear intended to prevent the recovery of deleted data, including smashing her old Blackberry smartphones with a hammer and using special software BleachBit to wipe the hard drive of a server she had used.
Donald Trump released a statement Friday addressing the release of the FBI documents and expressed disbelief that Clinton was not prosecuted:
“Hillary Clinton’s answers to the FBI about her private email server defy belief. I was absolutely shocked to see that her answers to the FBI stood in direct contradiction to what she told the American people. After reading these documents, I really don’t understand how she was able to get away from prosecution.“
The investigation has also revealed that Clinton used multiple cell phones while Secretary of State, contradicting her claims that she only used one device to access emails.
Clinton had 13 mobile devices that she potentially used to access emails on her private clintonemail.com server based out of her Chappaqua, New York home. At least eight of these mobile devices were used while she was secretary of state, but Clinton’s lawyers were unable to find any of them.
House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statements saying the revelations show “exactly why I have called for her to be denied access to classified information.“
The documents from the FBI demonstrate Hillary Clinton's reckless & downright dangerous handling of classified info. pic.twitter.com/6tgRJTEOB0
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 2, 2016
‘Oh shit’ moment
On 2 March, 2015, the New York Times published an article with the headline, “Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules.”
Later that month, a Clinton aide told the FBI in an interview summarized in today’s documents, he “had an ‘oh shit’ moment and ..deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from the PRN server and used BleachBit to delete the exported PST files he had created on the server system containing Clinton’s emails.”
This is crazy. 3 weeks after NYT publish Clinton email server story, there was a big wipe of her emails conducted pic.twitter.com/tlO0KJWYgz
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) September 2, 2016
The FBI determined that Clinton brought her Blackberry into a secure area at State, which is prohibited. pic.twitter.com/DMekZs6UXR
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) September 2, 2016
Documents were released after FBI Director James Comey called Clinton’s handling of classified materials “extremely careless,” but said there was no precedent to use to bring a strong case against her.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence they were extremely careless in their handling of highly classified information,” Comey said in July.