WASHINGTON – House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to news reports that former Secretary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills and top aide Heather Samuelson were granted immunity by the Department of Justice for their cooperation in the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s private server.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Today’s news shows that the number of individuals central to the FBI’s inquiry who were granted immunity in exchange for testimony was far more expansive than previously known. The FBI’s decision to grant immunity to five key individuals who failed to properly secure the highly sensitive contents of former Secretary Clinton’s private server raises questions as to whether the FBI conducted a thorough inquiry into the actions of Secretary Clinton’s closest aides. This news is particularly troubling given this week’s discovery that Paul Combetta sought help from Reddit.com for ways to hide a ‘VIP’s’ email address and the FBI’s previous finding that Cheryl Mills was in communication with Combetta’s employer, Platte River Networks, about the deletion of emails on former Secretary Clinton’s private server.”
Earlier this week, the committee wrote to Platte River Networks’ attorney about the newly revealed information involving Combetta reiterating the demands included in its subpoena and requests for transcribed interviews of Platte River Networks employees. Combetta, who was also granted immunity by the FBI, sought help from Reddit.com users to delete email addresses from archived emails for a “VERY VIP” client. Combetta, who was hired by the Clintons to maintain the private server wrote, in part, “Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone….” Combetta took to Reddit.com for help the day after the State Department and House Select Committee on Benghazi defined the scope of former Secretary Clinton’s documents to be produced to Congress. In addition to Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, and Combetta, then-State Department Director of Information Resources Management John Bentel, and Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton technology aide, also received immunity from the FBI.