New FOIA Documents Released: Comey-Led FBI Lost Chain of Custody for Clinton Email Server During Investigation
It’s a shocking investigatory misstep. We’ve just obtained new FOIA documents showing that the Comey-led FBI lost the chain of custody for one of Hillary Clinton’s email servers during its supposed investigation.
In September of last year, the ACLJ issued a FOIA request to the FBI seeking, among other things, documents concerning the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server in sending and receiving classified documents. In response to that request, the FBI notified us that it would be releasing responsive documents in monthly productions uploaded to its online Vault. We’ve told you about previous releases here.
The latest release of documents, while heavily redacted, reveals that the FBI bungled the investigation more than we thought.
One of the newly released documents “memorialize[s] the review of case evidence by the [FBI’s] Filter Team” – which separated privileged evidentiary materials in the investigation from non-privileged materials, the latter then being sent to the FBI’s Investigative Team. This document lists the sources of evidence the Filter Team reviewed, which included a Dell Poweredge 2900 and a Seagate Desktop External Hard Drive. According to the document, those two sources alone “contained over 200,000 unallocated files or file fragments available for Filter review.”
Another of the new documents offers a truly astonishing revelation, however. This same Dell Poweredge 2900 (one of Clinton’s email servers obtained from Platte River Networks during the Clinton investigation) was initially received by the FBI on August 12, 2015. It was then transported to the FBI Operational Technology Division (OTD) the same day. But when one of the Special Agents working on the investigation went to retrieve this server on October 20, 2015 – presumably for review by the Filter Team – “he discovered the original chain of custody was missing.” In fact, they created a new chain of custody starting that day, but the preceding 2 months were completely unaccounted for.
In short, this document confirms that the FBI cannot account for the whereabouts of a significant source of evidence for a period covering more than two months. The chain of custody in a criminal investigation is critical. It ensures there is no tampering with the evidence. But for two months no one knows where this server was or how it was secured.
This revelation is shocking and further calls into question the integrity of this investigation. As if the American public needed another reason to question the FBI’s handling of this investigation.
As the documents continue to trickle out, we will continue our investigation to get to the truth – because we—and you, the American citizenry—deserve nothing less.
We will continue to fight in court – as this is one of our many FOIA lawsuits – for the truth about the sham investigation of Clinton.