WASHINGTON (AP) — State Department staffers wrestled for weeks in December 2010 over a serious technical problem with then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s home email server, causing them to temporarily disable security features that left the server more vulnerable to hackers, according to emails released Wednesday.
Just weeks later, according to previously disclosed emails, hackers attacked the server, forcing Clinton’s staff to shut it down. The next day, one of Clinton’s closest aides, Huma Abedin, wrote to other high ranking staff: “Don’t email hrc (Clinton) anything sensitive. I can explain more in person.”
The emails were released under court order Wednesday to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, which has sued the State Department over access to public records related to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s service as the nation’s top diplomat between 2009 and 2013.
The emails, reviewed by The Associated Press, show that State Department technical staff disabled software intended to block phishing emails that could deliver dangerous viruses. They were trying urgently to resolve an apparent conflict between the server’s built-in email delivery features with a version of “ScanMail for Exchange” security software from Trend Micro Inc. that had been installed on her server. Clinton has not previously described any security protections on her server.
“This should trump all other activities,” a senior technical official, Ken LaVolpe, told IT employees in a Dec. 17, 2010, email. Another senior State Department official, Thomas W. Lawrence, wrote days later in an email that Abedin personally was asking for an update about the server repairs. Abedin and Clinton, who both used the private server, had complained that emails each sent to State Department employees were not being reliably received.
After technical staffers turned off some security features, Lawrence cautioned in an email, “We view this as a Band-Aid and fear it’s not 100 percent fully effective.”