Ah, the tested-and-true Friday night document dump. Is there any embarrassing news it can’t bury in the weekend news-cycle doldrums? The State Department certainly doesn’t think so. Politico reported late yesterday afternoon that Foggy Bottom has gotten even foggier about the status of e-mails belonging to Hillary Clinton’s favorite IT specialist:
The State Department has told Senate investigators it cannot find backup copies of emails sent by Bryan Pagliano, the top Hillary Clinton IT staffer who maintained her email server but has asserted his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer questions on the matter.
State officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a recent closed-door meeting that they could not locate what’s known as a “.pst file” for Pagliano’s work during Clinton’s tenure, which would have included copies of the tech expert’s emails, according to a letter Chairman Chuck Grassley sent to Secretary of State John Kerry that was obtained by POLITICO.
The department also told the committee the FBI has taken possession of Pagliano’s government computer system, where traces of the messages are most likely to be found, according to the letter.
What a coincidence! Another missing set of e-mails connected to the Hillary e-mail server scandal. Who would have guessed that, eh? What are the odds?
By the way, a “.pst” file is a backup for individuals in a Microsoft Outlook system. As Rachel Bade explains, State didn’t actually do backups on an individual basis, but required “senior” employees to regularly create and/or update their .pst files. Apparently, there was no check on that requirement, or else State has something else to hide. However, State should have system-wide backups of their Outlook system, and that should yield some if not all of Pagliano’s communications — unless Pagliano was gaming the system with his access to the IT infrastructure at State, or someone else has decided it might not be a good idea for people to have a look at them.
If this sounds familiar, by the way, you’re not crazy. Besides, Chuck Grassley might want to start looking around for a “Toby Miles” account, because unless Pagliano was a complete fool, it’s likely that the communications investigators want to see are in a much different kind of e-mail system.
Isn’t it funny how often the Obama administration’s e-mails come up missing? By funny, I don’t mean funny ha-ha, but funny obstruction-of-justice.
Addendum: Give them four years, and maybe State will find Pagliano’s e-mails. Here’s the other Friday night document dump from State, courtesy of Politico’s Josh Gerstein:
The State Department has belatedly discovered about 1,300 emails relating to deceased Islamic cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki in official accounts belonging to top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, more than four years after a conservative group requested all such records, a new court filing reports.
At a federal court hearing in Washington last month, Justice Department attorneys assigned to the case brought by Judicial Watch told a federal judge that State‘s “executive secretariat” — the repository of records for the secretary’s office — was searched in response to the initial Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch.
In the new filing Thursday evening, the lawyers representing the State Department said the records of Clinton’s former office were searched initially. The filing (posted here) is vague about whether any responsive records were found at that time. However, it says a batch of emails about Al-Awlaki — who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011 — turned up only during the follow-up search.
Ah, the old follow-up search! Maybe State should start with those, and skip over the eyes-closed search they seem to always provide for the first few years of a FOIA case.