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FBI document spurs new controversy over Hillary Clinton e-mails

The e-mail in question had to do with the September 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of the ambassador and three other Americans

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Hillary Clinton. Wikimedia
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October 18, 2016: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released some 100 pages relating to its investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as Secretary of State.

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Clinton, while acknowledging in hindsight that she made a mistake in bypassing the official communications channels, has insisted she did not knowingly send or receive classified information via the server, located in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, EFE news reported.

One of the documents published on Monday cites an FBI agent saying that the State Department’s top administrative official sought to persuade investigators to retroactively declassify a classified item found in the e-mails.

The agent, whose name was redacted, “indicated he had been contacted by Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary of State, who had asked his assistance in altering the e-mail’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo’,” the FBI document stated.

“In exchange for marking the e-mail unclassified, State would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden,” the document said.

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The e-mail in question had to do with the September 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of the ambassador and three other Americans.

There was “no quid pro quo”, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday when asked about the document during his daily session with reporters.

Toner added that disagreement among agencies about the proper classification of documents is common.

The FBI likewise denied any notion of a quid pro quo.

Clinton’s opponent, Republican Donald Trump, was not convinced by the assurances from the State Department and the FBI, reacting to the Kennedy document with a one-word tweet: “Unbelievable”.

A Trump ally, retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn, said the new documents “provide undeniable proof that Clinton colluded with the FBI, Department of Justice and State Department to cover up criminal activity at the highest levels.”

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“If any person had done a fraction of what she (Clinton) has done with our sensitive information, they would be criminally charged and those in our military would be court-martialed,” the former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency said in a statement. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google's new tool can help you make our planet healthy. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?