by Katie Bo Williams, The Hill:
The House Oversight Committee is reviewing a Reddit post that alleges an IT specialist who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private server sought advice on how to alter the contents of “VERY VIP” emails, according to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).
Meadows is the chairman of the panel’s Government Operations subcommittee.
“The Reddit post issue and its connection to Paul Combetta is currently being reviewed by OGR staff and evaluations are being made as to the authenticity of the post,” Meadows told The Hill.
Reddit users appear to have uncovered a two-year-old post from an account believed to belong to Combetta, an engineer with Platte River Networks. The Denver, Colo.-based firm managed Clinton’s private server.
The post, which has been deleted but can be read in images archived by Reddit users, coincides with the discovery of Clinton’s use of the server.
“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… 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,” reads the post, by a user called “stonetear.”
“Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?”
Combetta is currently one of the targets of a broader Oversight investigation on whether Clinton ordered the destruction of emails that had been subpoenaed by the Benghazi Select Committee.
“If it is determined that the request to change email addresses was made by someone so closely aligned with the Secretary’s IT operation as Mr. Combetta, then it will certainly prompt additional inquiry,” Meadows told The Hill. “The date of the Reddit post in relationship to the establishment of the Select Committee on Benghazi is also troubling.”
The Reddit message was sent on July 23, 2014, according to an archive of the page saved by other users. The day before, the Benghazi Committee had reached an agreement with the State Department on the production of related records, according the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of the server.
The identity of the “stonetear” user is not confirmed. Reddit users point to the fact that an account on the online marketplace Etsy for a Paul Combetta has the username “stonetear” and the inactive website combetta.com is registered to the email address [email protected].
Combetta appeared under subpoena in a committee hearing last week on the alleged destruction of evidence, but both he and colleague Bill Thornton exercised their Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
The committee has scheduled another hearing on the “preservation of State Department records” for Thursday.
Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has issued a criminal referral asking the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to investigate deletions from the server.
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