Old reddit post may show Hillary's BleachBit tech asking for advice on how to strip a "VIP's" email address out of messages

A fascinating bit of sleuthing by reddit and 8Chan members via Phil Kerpen. Two years ago, on July 24, 2014, a reddit member who goes by “stonetear” posted this plea for tech advice:


That post has since been deleted — along with many others by stonetear — but you’ll find an archived version here. Someone rediscovered that post, noticed the unusual request regarding “VERY VIP” email records, and apparently wondered if stonetear might be Paul Combetta, the Platte River Networks tech who worked on Hillary Clinton’s email server and recently received immunity from the feds for his testimony about it. A group investigation revealed that “stonetear” also appears in an email address and an Etsy page linked to Combetta. There’s also compelling circumstantial evidence floating around connecting stonetear to a specific street in Rhode Island on which Paul Combetta owns a home. There’s no smoking-gun proof that he’s stonetear but it sure looks like it’s him.

Another interesting post by stonetear is dated December 10, 2014:


What makes that one, and the July 24th post, interesting? U.S. News & World Report explains:

On July 23, 2014, the House Select Committee on Benghazi had reached an agreement with the State Department on the production of [Hillary Clinton’s] records, according to an FBI report released earlier this month on the bureau’s probe of her email use…

The FBI report says that Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton aide and attorney, requested in December 2014 that the email retention policy be shortened to 60 days. The FBI report says Mills “instructed [redacted] to modify the email retention policy on Clinton’s clintonemail.com e-mail account” but that “according to [redacted] he did not make these changes to Clinton’s clintonemail.com account until March 2015.”

Oddly enough, stonetear seems to have been interested in precisely the same recordkeeping issues that Paul Combetta would have been interested in with Hillary Clinton as his client at precisely the same times that he would have been most interested. (Combetta apparently forgot to implement the 60-day retention policy mentioned in the December 10th reddit post, leading to his “oh-sh*t moment” in March 2015 where he nuked old emails on the server with BleachBit.) Equally oddly, all traces of stonetear seem to be disappearing from reddit this afternoon, now that members there are sifting through his archive of posts:

Assuming stonetear is in fact Paul Combetta, why was Combetta looking at ways to “strip out” a certain unnamed VIP’s email address from archived emails after a congressional committee had expressed interest in those emails? Morgen Richmond notes that it’s a federal offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison to alter records that are the subject of a federal investigation with the intent to “impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation.” Presumably Combetta’s immunity agreement protects him from charges related to any element of the email investigation, not just the BleachBit wipe, which means he can’t be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 1519. But what if he was instructed to strip out the VIP’s email address by someone else, possibly including the VIP herself? They could be prosecuted, no?

Ace speculates that Combetta might have wanted Clinton’s address off certain emails in order to avoid discovery requests related to the investigation. If the House Benghazi committee demanded every email sent to or by Hillary Clinton, then one easy way to avoid producing a particular email would be to simply scrub her address from it. Another possibility: If there were emails where it was obvious and inarguable that the information contained in them was classified, Hillary might want her address off of those emails so that she could claim she never saw them and thus wasn’t guilty of mishandling classified info personally. The problem with that theory, of course, is that classified emails were eventually connected to Clinton, which means either Combetta overlooked some important messages in stripping out her address or he never figured out how to redact her address at all. Whatever the reason, we have a new line of inquiry now thanks to reddit. How did Combetta get the idea to remove VIP addresses from archived emails? Who wanted that done? Who told him it was okay?

Via the Free Beacon, here’s Hillary Clinton in a rare moment of telling the truth, acknowledging that this election is “downright depressing.”

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