Hillary Clinton has wiped clean a private computer server she kept in her home while Secretary of State, the head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi says.
"We learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server," Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in a statement Friday.
He added that although it is "not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department."
“Not only was the Secretary the sole arbiter of what was a public record, she also summarily decided to delete all emails from her server, ensuring no one could check behind her analysis in the public interest,” he said.
Gowdy had demanded the email server be turned over to a third party that would review the contents of some 30,000 emails Clinton said she had deleted, deeming them "personal." Her lawyer, David Kendall, who represented Bill Clinton when he committed perjury over a sex scandal, said the server had been set to save only emails sent in the past 60 days.
"Thus, there are no [email protected] emails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized," Kendall said in a letter to the House select committee.
The top Democrat on the committee, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, said the sudden revelation that the server had been wiped clean proves that Clinton has turned over all relevant documents.
"This confirms what we all knew — that Secretary Clinton already produced her official records to the State Department, that she did not keep her personal emails, and that the select committee has already obtained her emails relating to the attacks in Benghazi," Cummings said.
Deleting emails from a service provider such as Gmail or AOL doesn't kill them for good. They have to be erased from the hard drive, which is a complicated endeavor. Once a computer file is deleted, it remains on the hard drive until it is over-written -- meaning often, data can be retrieved.
In fact, usually a "data destruction" program needs to be downloaded in order to be sure the drive is completely over-written. Clinton's lawyer did not release details on how the server was wiped clean or if an outside company handled the erasure.
Clinton claims she went through some 60,000 emails from her time as Secretary of State, later saying only 30,000 of them were public records. The rest, she said, dealt with private matters, like her daughter’s wedding or her yoga class schedule.