A Republican Congressman is calling for the criminal prosecution of a managed services provider (MSP), claiming the CEO refused to comply with subpoenas seeking information about the handling of Hillary Clinton’s private servers.
Smith chairs the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which issued subpoenas to Platte River (PRN), Datto and SECNAP Network Security as part of its investigation into Clinton’s emails.
Datto and SECNAP reached an agreement with the committee to provide responsive records, while Colorado-based PRN did not.
“Since January 2016, Mr. Suazo and his counsel repeatedly refused to comply with requests for documents,” Smith wrote. “Furthermore, Mr. Suazo refuses to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas, making no valid legal arguments for its refusal to comply.”
The case illustrates the prickly predicament in which an MSP can find itself when torn between loyalty to a customer and a legal subpoena.
PRN, Datto and SECNAP were retained by Clinton to manage various components of her IT operations.
The Committee, charged with determining whether additional cybersecurity legislation is needed, subpoenaed a variety of documents and information, including transcripts of interviews with PRN employees.
“PRN, according to media reports and (FBI) documents, performed certain services related to maintaining and securing former Secretary Clinton’s private email server,” Smith’s letter says.
“Among other items, the Committee requested their assistance in understanding work each company performed to secure the server, and whether it was performed in accordance with NIST’s (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Framework,” the letter goes on. “(The) Committee requested from PRN’s CEO, Mr. Suazo, all documents and communications related to the cybersecurity measures taken to secure former Secretary Clinton’s private email server.”
The politicization of Congressional investigations into Clinton’s email server are well documented; and the Science, Space and Technology committee’s request appears relatively broad.
“The…subpoena required PRN’s CEO to produce all documents and communications referring or relating to the following: private servers or networks used by Secretary Clinton for official purposes, the methods used to store and maintain data on private servers or networks used by Secretary Clinton for official purposes, any data (on) security breaches to private servers or networks used by Secretary Clinton for official purposes, and any documents related to the NIST Framework or FISMA,” the letter states.
“Because any work performed by PRN during or after Secretary Clinton served as Secretary of State is pertinent to the Committee’s investigation, the subpoena required the production of all such documents, and not just documents relating to work carried out while Secretary Clinton served as Secretary of State.”
PRN responded to the Committee through its lawyer that the company didn’t have responsive records, and refused to turn over transcribed interviews, citing the completed FBI investigation, the letter states.
The agreements for Datto and SECNAP to produce records were brokered by Clinton’s lawyer, and committee officials have suggested that the same attorney orchestrated PRN’s obstruction.
“The refusal to provide witnesses for transcribed interviews without a valid assertion of privilege(s) prevented the Committee from completing its investigation,” Smith’s letter said. “Further, PRN’s false statements to the Committee concerning a lack of responsive documents (belied by Datto’s production to the Committee) and complete failure to respond to the Committee’s lawfully issued subpoenas amount to obstruction…as well as a violation…for false statements made to the Committee.”
Smith indicated his hope that the current Justice Department under Sessions would be more amenable to enforcing subpoenas in the Clinton email case than was the previous administration.
Justice Department officials confirmed to POLITICO.com that they had received Smith’s letter, but offered no further comment.
An attorney for PRN also declined to comment to the publication about Smith’s letter.
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