It is one of the least talked about issues in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton seems to be edging closer and closer to the Democratic nomination, and she is a strong candidate. She has extensive experience in government, and she served as First Lady for her husband, so she knows intricately how the White House functions. However, she is facing a possible indictment from the Justice Department that could grind her campaign to a halt.


What are the allegations?

Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State from 2009-2013 under President Barack Obama. She dealt with classified material on a daily basis, and she chose to set up a private email server in her house, to make it easier for her to access her emails. If she kept her data in her State Department email, she would have had to carry around a second, secure telephone, and since her personal Blackberry was not secure, she would be forced to leave it in a lock box outside her office. This would be understandably inconvenient, so she continued to use her Blackberry, which was tethered to a server at her house, meaning classified email was stored on her home server. However, this would make the information insecure, and while there were no data breaches, it still may have violated the law. The Justice Department has opened an investigation, and they will choose whether or not to bring charges against her.

This week, things got very fishy. Hillary Clinton has been very open about the issue and has cooperated with the authorities at every turn. The server was set up by a State Department IT staff member Bryan Pagliano, and it seems that his emails to Clinton have disappeared. The emails from his account during the time that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary are gone. The backup pst files for this period are missing. “The Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said to ABC News. She later reached out and corrected


“It’s hard to believe that an IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s reckless email server never sent or received a single work-related email in the four years he worked at the State Department,”  Republican National Committee spokesman Raj Shah told The Daily Beast. This information has came to light via a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request from the RNC.

The State Department has clarified that only the flies from Mr Pagliano are missing, but they are working on reconstructing the missing emails from the accounts that he sent emails to. This very well could be a simple technical error, but it seems suspect that this would happen now, especially after Mr Pagliano has received immunity in exchange for his testimony in the case.

What is a pst file?

A pst file is a file from Microsoft Outlook that is used for archiving purposes. It is a way to increase the storage limit on your mailbox by storing emails on your computer, not on the cloud. Since it is a local file, issues could occur, and the file could be accidentally deleted.


Why is this a big deal?

This is a very important issue, as the Justice Department is supposed to act independent of the political landscape, so this could not come at a worse time. Trump now has more ammo to throw at Clinton should she make it to the general election. While not exactly the same, Clinton is facing similar allegations that took down General David Petraeus in 2015. While that case was a bit different, the charges against Hillary Clinton would be the same: mishandling classified information. Overall, this issue makes Clinton a bit of a wild card, as if the Justice Department files charges, it will destroy her candidacy. Hopefully that can be decided before she gets the nomination, or it would ruin the general election.


Image Credit: Flickr Gage Skidmore