Stonetear’s Secret: Immunized Former Clinton Aide Allegedly Sought Advice On Removing Email Address For “Very VIP” Official [UPDATED]

bleachbit-paul-combettaWe have been discussing the controversy surrounding the decision of the Justice Department to give immunity to former State Department staffer, Bryan Pagliano and tech specialist Paul Combetta — thereby removing much of the pressure that could have been brought to bear with the threat of criminal charges. That immunity deal became even more questionable when it was disclosed that Combetta used Bleachbit to destroy email records despite his knowledge that those records were being sought by Congress. Now, there is an allegation that Combetta sought advice on the website for how to hide a “VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address.” If true, that would show a conscious effort to conceal the identity of the VIP and illegally alter federal records. Either Combetta did not disclose this effort in violation of his immunity deal or the Justice Department effectively removed a serious threat of indictment though the agreement. Update: the House Committee has ordered Reddit to preserve all messages concerning “Stonetear.”

The new information was disclosed by Reddit users who found a series of questions from what they say is Combetta who worked under user name of “stonetear.” Here is one of the queries on July 24, 2014 during the period when the State Department first asked Clinton aide Cheryl Mills to turn over the former secretary of state’s work-related emails from her personal server:

“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… Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?”

Various people told Stonetear that it was not possible and one warned “[If Microsoft Exchange] allowed this, it could result in major legal issues. There may be ways to hack a solution, but I am not aware of any.”

The response (if from Combetta) would show a clear effort to conceal evidence:

“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.”

It is such an amazing admission that I would like confirmation that this was not a set up. It is hard for me to believe that the FBI would give immunity to a guy who openly solicited advice on hiding information being sought as federal records — the same guy who would later destroy evidence being sought under congressional subpoena. Such a person would be at serious risk of indictment and many prosecutors would go ahead and charge while leaving open a plea bargain with cooperation. Instead, Combetta got immunity and has now refused to testify before Congress.

The profile “stonetear” was created in 2011 and registered to Paul Combetta. The email address stonetear@gmail.com is also linked to Combetta’s name, and the domain name combetta.com is registered under that email.

Later, when the questions were found, Stonetear began deleting his comments and Reddit readers made videos and screen shots of the deletions as they were occurring.

The allegation could prove particularly embarrassing for FBI Director James Comey who has been criticized for opting not to seek charges despite conflicts in testimony, the deletions of email, and mishandling of classified information. If this is indeed Combetta, it is hard to believe that a contractor would come up unilaterally with the idea of changing federal records to remove the identifying information.

Immunity deals do include provisions for rescinding the agreements if a witness fails to disclose information or misrepresents facts or fails to cooperate. The Reddit material represents an extremely serious development, if true. Congress would have ample reason to investigate such an effort and enforce its subpoena authority.

107 thoughts on “Stonetear’s Secret: Immunized Former Clinton Aide Allegedly Sought Advice On Removing Email Address For “Very VIP” Official [UPDATED]

  1. I have a question:
    If HRC knew that PRN would be handling business that was related to the federal government, wouldn’t she have to go through the proper channels to hire an outside vendor and get bids for the services she was trying to acquire?

  2. In case it’s not obvious, the reason to delete the email address isn’t to conceal the identity of the VIP; rather, it’s so that searches for the VIP’s actual email address don’t find the messages.

  3. There are many threads which come together. Law enforcement is out of control. Neither the Feds nor local police are serving the public. They are acting without honor. They took and oath of office and it means nothing to them.

    Here we have a case which is about as close to a statement of intent that law enforcement will find. Combetta is asking 1. how to erase the e-mails and 2. when it comes out that his queries show up, he tries to take them down and make them disappear. How is that not intent? Yet Comey says, I can find no intent. Comey has no internal integrity. He’s told what to do and he does it. What kind of person has such a deep lack of integrity?

    Meanwhile, local police have been uparmoured to the teeth by the Federal Govt. When Obamaco isn’t busy selling white phosphorus to the Saudi’s so they can burn up civilians, or calling in drone strikes at weddings and funerals, he is working hard, having other minions sell military equipment to local law enforcement.

    We see the effect this is having in the killing of black people. It’s open season all year long. Why on earth would you shoot the man in Charlotte and in Tulsa, point blank, no remorse? Is there some reason police cannot act within their oath, with integrity, with using force as a last resort, not lethal force as a first call?

    Then the Native American protectors-again, police up armoured, threatening, allowing dogs, bringing in weapons of war for use against a civilian population. Screaming, get on the sidewalk, get off the sidewalk or will take you down.

    Finally, the stand off in Oregon with white ranchers. As Bundy was driving in his car, he got out and there were police everywhere. The road was high with snow banks. Yet the police did not think to capture him for trial, they just shot to kill.

    I will ask again, where is honor? Where is integrity? Where is the intellect to do one’s job with decency?

    We see the police enforcing the will of the powerful against the people. We see the powerful run amok, both here and overseas, powerful people for whom life does not matter, only more power, more wealth.

    I want people in the military and in law enforcement to speak up against these actions. I want them to say they are wrong and they do not support this, that they support their oath of office, a sacred trust with the people. I want to hear that voice and I want to hear it now..

    • Finicun,not Bundy, was the one shot and killed by officers.
      The trial of the two Bundy brothers just got underway, and may last for weeks or months.
      Their father is in jail awaiting trial relating to the 2014 standoff in Nevada.
      The Oklahoma shooting appears to be completely unjustified, based on what I’ve seen.
      The Charlotte shooting is a separate case, were officers claimed that an armed suspect posed a lethal threat.
      The investigation the Charlotte case is barely underway; given that the Black suspect )shot by a Black officer) was killed, the violent rioters who injured 10-12 cops, looted semi-trucks, set fires, shut down the freeway, etc. feel justified in their behavior absent the results of any investigation.
      Anyway, I think it’s a mistake to “lump the 2 shootings together”.
      In one case, the video looks like a trigger-happy officer shot without justification.
      In the other case, riot-happy scum did their thing, absent specific knowledge of what happened.

      • The Bundy trial is in federal court, in Portland Oregon.
        The defense attorneys face an uphill battle, given the evidence.
        I think they may luck out and get a hung jury-at least on some charges- but acquitals seen very unlikely.
        Finicum, the sole fatality in the Burns, Oregon standoff, had stated that he’d rather die than go to prison.
        He was armed, and officers claim they fired as he reached for his pistol.
        They video of the shooting is online. Even with the video, there is a questioned raised about whether he was shot BEFORE he reached for his gun, or reach for his gun AFTER officer shot him.
        Cell phone video from other occupants in Finicum’s vehicle are said to show shots hitting the vehicle long before Finicum exited the vehicle and was shot.
        I don’t think the officers initially disclosed the earlier shootings at the vehicle; that’s likely to be a key point in the civil suit Finicun’s family filed.

  4. Darren,
    Jill’s comment, “Is there some reason police cannot act within their oath, with integrity, with using force as a last resort, not lethal force as a first call?” makes me wonder:

    How has the training for police officers changed over the last 15 years? Are all officers trained towards SWAT protocols? Are police officers trained to be more aggressive with the public? Are there other factors at play with this perception?

    • Praire Rose,

      I heard Killer Mike the rapper who promoted Bernie during the primaries here a few weeks ago. I had watched his “barbershop series” as he tried to get Bernie out in the black community and was curious – who is this guy? I was blown away at his perspective on various issues including cops. His step dad is a cop so he was raised around authoritarian figures which according to him worked out fine as the cops reflected their (his) neighborhood in Atlanta. But he said after HRC made that comment about “bringing predators to heel” the dynamic changed between police and citizens. It was as if the cops were actually encouraged to take the “gloves” off and it was okay to use excessive violence.

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