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National Security Desk / June 23, 2016

State Department Disabled Its Security for Clinton’s Email

Her messages weren’t getting through the phishing net.

In 2010, the State Department had a problem. Emails that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff sent from her private email server were not getting through to the rest of the department operating on the official system. Trying to fix the problem, Ken LaVolpe, a senior technical official, informed State IT employees in December 2010, “This should trump all other activities.” Finally, the tech wizards hit upon a solution: They disabled the software installed on the government’s systems to block phishing emails. Hackers and identity thieves use phishing emails to appear like they are from a trustworthy source to solicit sensitive information or place malware on someone’s computer. No wonder it was also blocking Clinton.

But disabling the software left a door open for Russian and Chinese hackers to breach the State Department system. And get in they did. Last year news broke that State Department IT was struggling to eradicate Russian hackers in its email system, hackers that were able to infiltrate the White House’s system as well. News at the time said the intrusion happened after Clinton left. Perhaps State Department IT reinstalled the phishing blocking software by then. If not, it was yet another vulnerability thanks to Clinton. Other vulnerabilities include Clinton discussing the names of CIA operatives and details about the Special Access Program on her unsecured server.

Meanwhile, in a deposition hearing Wednesday, Clinton’s own IT specialist Bryan Pagliano invoked the fifth over 125 times as he was questioned about Clinton’s email set up. Think the Clinton machine has something to hide?

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