Tech May Have Asked Reddit for Help in Covering Up Clinton Emails

Zach Montanaro | September 20, 2016
Font Size

We’ve all had IT problems at some point in our lives. Eventually, you’ll have to ask for someone else’s help in navigating technology properly. Just a tip though: make sure your IT guy isn’t getting advice from places like Reddit.

Especially if you happen to be the former Secretary of State.

An interesting plot line in the ever-growing story of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server has developed over the past few days, and it’s certainly a weird one. Users on the popular website Reddit have discovered posts from someone named “stonetear,” believed to be the username for Paul Combetta, an IT specialist that works for the firm that managed Clinton’s private server.

The post, which you can see fully here, reads:

Hello all- I may be facing a very interesting situation where I need to strip out a VIP's (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived email that I have both in a live Exchange mailbox, as well as a PST file. Basically, they don't want the VIP's email address exposed to anyone, and want to be able to either strip out or replace the email address in the to/from fields in all of the emails we want to send out.

The user then asks if something like this can be done with a certain program, and then asks, “Does anyone have experience with something like this, and/or suggestions on how this might be accomplished?”

After media outlets started to pick up on this story, “stonetear” deleted all of its old posts. Unfortunately for him/her, they've already been archived by other Reddit users.

To be clear, “stonetear” has not been confirmed to be Combetta at the time of this writing. According to The Hill, however, other Reddit users have discovered a profile for the online marketplace Etsy listed to a Paul Combetta with the username “stonetear,” as well as a website registered to the email

While pretty funny to think about, it’s also quite serious when you consider that someone looking to delete the former Secretary of State’s emails might have actually turned to Reddit for help. If anything, it again highlights how incredibly irresponsible it is to store sensitive emails on a private server, not to mention the security risk of someone looking for help on Reddit being in charge of handling potentially classified documents.

And before you think that this is simply a small group of people connecting strings that don’t attach to anything, think again. The House Oversight Committee is currently looking in to the deleted posts, and checking to see if they are in any way involved in the developing Clinton email scandal.

Reddit has always been an odd place on the internet, used for both good and evil. This time, though, it appears to be using its powers for good. So I salute you, Reddit users who are digging deep to find the truth. Keep up the great work!

mrc merch