Sky News US Team
Published: Thursday, August 20, 2015, 7:29:00 AM EDT
Received: Thursday, August 20, 2015, 8:01:01 AM EDT
A lawyer for Hillary Clinton has told a Senate committee that emails and other data stored on her private computer server were erased before the device was handed over to US government authorities.
In a letter to Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, lawyer David Kendall said the server was given to the FBI on 12 August by Platte River Networks – a company hired by Mrs Clinton to oversee the device.
Earlier this week, the Democratic presidential front-runner told reporters she was not aware if the data on her server had been erased.
Federal investigators had requested the server to find out whether data stored on it was secure, following a request from the inspector general for the State Department.
Forensic experts told the Associated Press news agency that some emails and other data may still be extracted from the server, even after they have been wiped clean.
Mr Kendall, Mrs Clinton’s long-time personal lawyer, said in the letter that he and another lawyer at his firm had been given security clearance by the State Department to handle a thumb drive which contained around 3,000 emails later handed over to the FBI.
He said the drive was kept in a safe provided in July by the State Department.
Republican senators have been pressing to see whether any emails sent or received by Mrs Clinton through the private server while she was secretary of state contained secret information that should only have been exchanged on secure, encrypted government portals.
An inspector general for the State Department has said that some emails did contain classified material.
Mrs Clinton’s campaign officials have stressed that the information in the emails did not risk leaking classified data at the time they were sent to her.
Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the campaign, said that two emails that prompted the referral by the inspector general were sent by career diplomats and “did not have information marked ‘classified’ or any classified documents attached to them”.
One of the emails, a 2012 message about arrests in Libya, was later classified as secret by the FBI, but then released in full earlier this year by the State Department.