The Connecticut company that recently found itself possibly holding some of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails also received $6 million in economic assistance from the state in 2014.
Datto, of Norwalk, provided data backup services to Platte River Networks, the firm Clinton hired to maintain her email server. McLatchy DC reported the link to Datto on Oct. 6.
On Tuesday, Datto said it had delivered to the FBI the hardware device containing all backed up data “related to Platte River Networks’ client known to be in its possession.”
The company that provides backup data storage to thousands of managed service provider (MSP) clients said in a statement that it is responding to the letter it received Monday from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
The letter from Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the committee, contains a request for any information Datto could provide. The existence of the backup server means more than 31,000 personal emails may still be recovered. Clinton has said she deleted them when she turned over her official State Department emails last December, but Congressional committees have expressed skepticism.
When Clinton’s private server was moved from her private residence to a New Jersey-based data center is when Platte River Networks set up an account with Datto. At the time it looks as if the Clintons “specifically requested that no data be stored on Datto’s off-site cloud at any time.”
However, according to Johnson’s letter, in August 2015 employees at Platte River Networks discovered that Secretary Clinton’s private server was syncing with “an offsite sync server . . . belonging to Datto.”
“PRN employees reached out to Datto to determine if the server was actually sending data from the private server to Datto’s off-site cloud for backup,” Johnson wrote. One PRN employee wrote to Datto, “[w]hen we made the purchase [of the SIRIS S2000], it was under the understanding that we didn’t want to backup to the Datto’s [off-site] datacenter.”
Another Platte River Networks employee replied, “[t]his is a problem. This data should not be stored in the Datto Cloud.” When it was discovered that it was backing up to the cloud, employees directed Datto not to delete the saved data and to work with Datto to find a way to move the saved information on Datto’s servers back to Secretary Clinton’s private server, according to Johnson’s letter.
Also, in August a Platte River employee raised the prospect that the length of the backups was reduced at some point at the request of Clinton’s company during the time it was managing the server, according to Johnson’s letter. In an email to a colleague, the employee voiced concerns about damage to the company’s reputation and suggested that they could possibly mitigate that damage through disclosure.
“If we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups,” the employee wrote, “and that we can go public with our statement saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30days [sic], it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better,” according to an email cited by Johnson.
Datto said it is in the process of responding to Johnson’s request.
Johnson requested the information be made available by 5 p.m. Oct. 19.
In March 2014, Datto received $6 million in economic assistance from the state of Connecticut to retain 150 jobs and create up to 200 new jobs within five years.
It was given a $5 million loan at a 1 percent interest rate for 10 years, which will be forgiven if it meets its job creation goals. Datto also received a $1 million grant for training.
The Department of Economic and Community Development will audit its progress with its job creation numbers in 2016.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has endorsed Clinton’s presidential bid, said Thursday that he thinks the news is “great advertising for a great Connecticut company.”
Malloy said “if it helps them grow being in the limelight for a couple of days I’m happy because we think we made a great investment.”
Malloy said he doesn’t think Clinton did anything wrong and kept her emails the same way as her Republican predecessors.