- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2016

The State Department joined Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in rejecting claims made by a Romanian hacker who boasted of breaching the former secretary of state’s private email server.

“We don’t have any reason to believe that it might be true,” department spokesman Mark Tonertold reporters Thursday when asked about allegations made by Marcel Lehel Lazar, a Romanian national awaiting trial in the U.S. for a slew of cybercrime charges.

Mr. Lazar, known also as “Guccifer,” told Fox News and NBC News Wednesday that he had gained access to Mrs. Clinton’s email server after breaching the account of Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton confidant whose personal emails were leaked to the press by the hacker in 2013.

“For me, it was easy,” the 44-year-old hacker told Fox News from an Alexandria, Virginia, jail cell. Speaking to NBC, he described Mrs. Clinton’s email server as “an open orchid on the internet” containing “hundreds of folders.”

“By running a scan, I found that server … that was completely unsecured,” he said. “It was not what I was looking for. It was boring stuff.”

The FBI is currently investigating whether Mrs. Clinton broke any laws by using her own email server while serving as secretary of state under President Obama.

When Mr. Blumenthal’s email account was hacked in March 2013, Guccifer leaked correspondence to and from Mrs. Clinton that indicated she used a nongovernmental account for official business, “[email protected]

Asked if he had any reason to believe the hacker’s claims Thursday, Mr. Toner responded, “No, we don’t.”

Mr. Lazar was recently extradited to the U.S. to face a nine-count indictment brought in the Eastern District of Virginia. Although the targets of Mr. Lazar’s alleged cybercrimes are sealed, the Guccifer alias has previously been attributed with breaching accounts belonging to Colin Powell, members of the Bush family, Mr. Blumenthal and others, and subsequently leaking personal correspondence to the press.

Mrs. Clinton’s camp dismissed the hacker’s latest allegations Wednesday, calling it “unfathomable” that he would have obtained her emails and not leaked them as he did in other instances.

During Thursday’s scheduled State Department press briefing, Mr. Toner denounced the claim but declined from discussing the matter further, citing an ongoing investigation.

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