When Paul Combetta aka “stonetear” woke up yesterday morning, it’s doubtful he would have suspected a two year old archive written under his Reddit pseudonym would have been on his mind. Full Day One Discovery Thread HERE
However, someone must have alerted him asap because within hours of our story hitting the web (04:45am EDT) Combetta began furiously deleting his Reddit postings, user information, and various media forum histories.
In addition to secondarily confirming his real-life identity, in legal-speak such behavior is called: “consciousness of guilt“.
Day #1 – Was essentially the outline of Hillary Clinton’s Email custodian Paul Combetta, who worked for Platte River Network, and his engagement on a July 24th 2014 Reddit forum where he was seeking advice/recommendations for how to delete email addresses from email files prior to export. (see day #1 for all citations)
The confirmation of actual identity to the pseudonym used is now 100%. The scope of the evidence affirming that Combetta is “stonetear” is vast and extensive. There simply is no way “stonetear” is not Paul Combetta. Period. So we move on to Day #2:
Discovering Combetta’s July 24th, 2014 Reddit thread is significant because his commentary clearly shows an intention to modify the records of his “VIP client”, who we now know was Hillary Clinton.
Those records, as a consequence of their ownership by Secretary Clinton, are federal records. In essence, Paul Combetta, a private citizen, was seeking assistance on a public forum for how to modify federal records prior to export to an unknown entity (presumably Cheryl Mills).
As the weight of the discovery begins to shake out, and with more media beginning to understand the potential scope of the issue(s) inherent within the date of activity, on this thread we look at the timeline.
The absolute best researched timeline of the Hillary email scandal was done, and is being maintained, by Sharyl Atkinsson (see here). Using this timeline, along with information from congressional testimony, we can add the discoveries centering around Paul Combetta and provide a new perspective on the motives therein.
June 30, 2013: Hillary Clinton’s (long-term) technical assistant, Brian Pagliano’s server email accounts are transferred to the new Platte River Network Server where Paul Combetta is the Clinton custodian.
July 18, 2013: The Clintons sign formal deal with Platte River Network (PRN) for new email server services. [Platte River Network’s main office is in Denver CO; Paul Combetta works from a satellite office in Rhode Island, 145 miles away from Chappaqua, NY]
Early 2014: Monica Hanley (Hillary Clinton aide) says she finds Apple MacBook laptop from Spring of 2013 at her home and tries, but fails, to remotely transfer Hillary email archive to Platte River Network server.
- Hanley ships Apple MacBook laptop to unidentified person who transfers Hillary email archive to Gmail address, then to PRN server.
- Hanley instructs unidentified person to delete and/or wipe Hillary email archive from Apple MacBook and Gmail.
- Unidentified person ships Apple MacBook via US Postal Service or UPS to unidentified female Hillary associate who later tells FBI she never received it.
- Nobody can find the Apple MacBook or thumb drive containing Hillary archive email.
May 8, 2014: House Benghazi select committee is established. Trey Gowdy is Chairman.
Summer of 2014: The State Dept. notifies Hillary aide/lawyer Cheryl Mills that it will be requesting Hillary’s work emails.
♦ July 22, 2014: Paul Combetta and wife Danielle Dirocco purchase a new home for $290,000 in Narragansett, Rhode Island. (Just an fyi – tax records/deeds)
July 23, 2014: Congressional Benghazi committee reaches agreement with State Dept. on production of records. Then, the very next day…
♦ July 24, 2014: Platte River Network Paul Combetta (aka “stonetear“) appears on Reddit with the following question(s):
FIRST: Hello all- I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email that I have both in a live Exchange mailbox, as well as a PST file. Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out.
I am not sure if something like this is possible with PowerShell, or exporting all of the emails to MSG and doing find/replaces with a batch processing program of some sort.
Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?
SECOND: As a PST file or exported MSG files, this could be done though, yes? The issue is that these emails involve the private email address of someone you’d recognize, and we’re trying to replace it with a placeholder address as to not expose it.
THIRD: I think maybe I wasn’t clear enough in the original post. I have these emails available in a PST file. Can I rewrite them in the PST? I could also export to MSG and do some sort of batch find/replace. Anyone know of tools that might help with this?
Later July 2014:
- Clinton Aide/Attorney Cheryl Mills initiates review of any Hillary work emails with .gov addresses that were transferred from Pagliano server to Platte River Network server.
- The emails don’t include the Jan-March 2009 emails lost on the missing Apple server.
- The .gov work emails are put in a file on laptops of Cheryl Mills and Hillary attorney Heather Samuelson.
- These laptop email files would later be wiped using BleachBit so they could never be recovered. The FBI was unable to review them.
August, 2014: State Dept. provides House Benghazi Committee with eight emails to or from Clinton that show her use of a private email account.
Sept. 15, 2014: Sharyl Attkisson reports on State Dept. official who said he witnessed Benghazi document sorting session with Hillary aides in State Dept. basement in 2013.
Late Sept. 2014:
- Mills and Samuelson review the rest of the available Hillary emails, besides the .gov.
- These email files would later be wiped using BleachBit so they could never be recovered. The FBI was unable to review them.
- Selected emails are printed in Mills’ office and reviewed again by attorneys Samuelson, Mills and Hillary attorney David Kendall of Williams & Connolly.
- “Non-work” emails are shredded.
- “Work” emails were printed and provided on USB drive to Kendall.
♦ However, we can infer from the timeline segment above that Combetta was able to export the “clinton.com” email files by some method for Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to sort, review and print – Between July 24, 2014 and late September 2014.
Now Watch Jim Jordan:
Dec. 2014: Hillary and Abedin begin using new email accounts on the domain hrcoffice.com.
Dec. 5, 2014: Hard copies of Hillary work emails are given to State Dept.
Dec. 2014: Hillary instructs her staff she no longer needs to keep the remaining “personal” emails.
Dec. 2014 or Jan. 2015:
- Mills and Samuelson request unidentified person to delete the Hillary email files from their laptops.
- Software called “BleachBit” is used so it can never be recovered.
- Unknown Hillary staffer also wants Hillary email archive removed from PRN server.
- Mills asks for shortened email retention for clintonemail.com account because Hillary decides she no longer needs emails older than 60 days.
July 10, 2015: FBI begins investigation Hillary email situation after U.S. Intelligence Community Inspector General refers the case of possible improper handling of classified information.
March 2, 2015:
- NYT article exposes fact that Clinton used personal email account exclusively for state business.
- PRN technicians conduct work on Pagliano server at Equinix datacenter.
- Mills later tells FBI they were working on the server because she asked them to conduct an equipment inventory.
March 3, 2015: House Benghazi committee requests Hillary attorneys at Williams & Connolly to preserve and produce all documents and media related to her two clintonemail.com known addresses
March 4, 2015: House Benghazi committee privately subpoenas all Hillary emails related to Benghazi terrorist attacks. Clinton does not disclose the subpoenas but tweets, “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.”
March 9, 2015: Mills emails PRN and makes reference to the preservation request from Congress. A PRN technician would later tell FBI he doesn’t remember seeing it.
March 10, 2015: Clinton answers questions about her email practices for the first time. She tells reporters:
- It was more convenient to use the private server.
- “I wanted to use just one device for both personal and work emails instead of two.”
- Last year, she deleted nearly 31,000+ emails that were “private.”
- She will not turn over her personal email server.
- She “fully complied” with the law.
- She has turned over to the State Dept. 55,000 pages of work-related emails.
- There were 62,320 emails in her account: 30,490 were public business; 31,830 were private.
March 25, 2015:
- Platte River Network (PRN) has conference call with Bill Clinton’s staff.
- Platte River Network technician later tells FBI that, at this point, he realized he’d forgotten to shorten Hillary’s email retention (that Mills requested in Dec. 2014), so he now deletes the Clinton archive mailbox from PRN and uses BleachBit to permanently delete files holding the emails.
- FBI says one Platte River Network technician gave three conflicting stories but acknowledged that, when he made deletions, he knew of Congress’ preservation request and knew he should not delete Hillary’s email data on PRN server.
- The FBI says somebody also manually deleted backups of the PRN server during this time frame. Clinton and Mills say they were unaware of these deletions.
March 31, 2015: There’s a conference call among Platte River Network, Kendall and Cheryl Mills. Later, Platte River Network would exert attorney-client privilege and refuse to comment on conversation. This means Hillary’s attorneys are representing the Platte River Network technician, too.
Now who do you think that Clinton-attorney-represented Platte River Network technician might be?
Remember, prior to our discovery of the July 24th 2014 Reddit discussion, Mr. Combetta was comforted by an immunity agreement with the FBI.
If the FBI was aware of the Reddit information, then why would Combetta need to scrub it? Short answer, he wouldn’t.
You might also want to refresh your memory on the previous Clinton story and explanation from the FBI and Clinton lawyers regarding Paul Combetta:
“As the F.B.I.’s report notes,” Mr. Fallon said, “neither Hillary Clinton nor her attorneys had knowledge of the Platte River Network employee’s actions. It appears he acted on his own and against guidance given by both Clinton’s and Platte River’s attorneys to retain all data in compliance with a congressional preservation request.” (link)