Tucked into the latest 100 pages of FBI documents on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, is a description of a U.S. Senate staffer – alarmed by stories about Hillary Clinton’s email server – who enlisted the support of ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in an effort to try to see if any foreign interests had taken information from Clinton’s email.
The staffer, a woman whose name was redacted in the FBI documents, was described as “a senior staff member of the United States Committee on the Judiciary” – a panel that is controlled by the GOP.
The woman contacted someone who worked for a defense contractor, trying to find a way to possibly acquire data over the internet that had been on Clinton’s server.
And that led her to the former House Speaker.
“Since (name redacted) did not have funding for the project,” the FBI document stated, “she met with NEWT GINGRICH and asked (name redacted) to brief GINGRICH on the project.”
The FBI reported that Gingrich directed the Senate staffer to contact an official at Judicial Watch, an outside conservative group that has been pressing the State Department for Clinton’s emails.
The FBI was told that Judicial Watch ultimately spent $32,000 on the project, to see if anything secret – that had been on Clinton’s server – could be found somewhere on the internet, and thus prove the charge that Clinton’s private server had been hacked.
The group chosen to do the work was reportedly skilled in both “the Deep Web and Dark Web.”
The report says that the effort evidently found about “200 Microsoft Word, Excel and other file types” belonging to Clinton’s friend Sidney Blumenthal – on a server in Romania.
Also found was a file that had the names of “known or suspects jihadists in Libya,” which had the markings of IP addresses that were in the range of “the IP address of CLINTON’s server.”
But the FBI documents do not indicate if indeed that file had come from Clinton’s server. While critics have said it’s likely that Clinton’s server was breached by hackers, the FBI has not arrived at that same conclusion.
In a statement released this afternoon, Judicial Watch defended its open source effort.
“Judicial Watch sought to uncover any evidence from open sources on the Internet as to whether Hillary Clinton’s government emails had been hacked,” the group said in a written statement.
“It is unfortunate that Judicial Watch – not Congress or federal law enforcement – undertook this basic investigative step.”
Here are the relevant pages about this story from the FBI documents released today: