- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s personal server was never breached by the Romanian computer hacker known as “Guccifer,” FBI Director James Comey said Thursday, contradicting previous claims that had prompted heightened concerns over the former secretary of state’s unorthodox email setup.

Testifying before the House Oversight Committee, Mr. Comey acknowledged that the hacker was indeed interviewed by the FBI while authorities conducted their investigation into the presumptive presidential nominee’s contentious email configuration. Contrary to claims made to the media, however, the hacker failed to access Mrs. Clinton’s server, Mr. Comey revealed.

“Can you confirm that Guccifer never gained access to her server?” Rep. Blake Farenthold, Texas Republican, asked Mr. Comey during Thursday’s hearing.

“He did not. He admitted that was a lie,” The FBI director replied.

“At least that’s good to hear,” Mr. Farenthold responded.

Marcel Lazăr Lehel, also known as Guccifer, was extradited to the U.S. in April to face felony computer hacking charges stemming from a cyber spree that allowed him to gain unauthorized access to internet accounts belonging to longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, Colin Powell and members of the Bush family, among others.

After initially pleading not guilty, the hacker told NBC News in May that he had gained access to Mrs. Clinton’s server during the course of his exploits and described it as “an open orchid on the internet” containing “hundreds of folders.”

Compromising Mrs. Clinton’s server “was easy … easy for me, for everybody,” Mr. Lehel told Fox News during a separate jailhouse interview.

The hacker later changed his plea to guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 1.

Mr. Comey made his remarks Thursday while answering questions regarding the recently completed FBI probe of Mrs. Clinton’s email server. The FBI began reviewing her use of a personal, non-government email server after leaked emails acquired from Mr. Blumenthal’s hacked account indicated the confidant had corresponded with Mrs. Clinton through a previously unpublicized email address.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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