Ho-hum — another day, another stonewall. Give ABC News credit for picking up on a very curious lack of transparency involving a key figure in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. Bryan Pagliano got immunity from the Department of Justice but managed to keep from having to testify when the FBI recommended no action on the case, despite clear evidence of lawbreaking by Hillary and her aides. Pagliano, a State Department information-technology specialist, also has had his internal State communications mysteriously vanish, and the National Archives — and the Republican Party — want to know why:
The Republican Party is accusing the State Department of “stonewalling” a request to obtain the missing emails belonging to an information technology staffer who helped maintain Hillary Clinton’s private server, suggesting the delay is part of a “cover-up to protect” the Democratic presidential nominee.
New documents, first seen by ABC News, show that the State Department has not responded to a months-old request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to explain why it has so few email records belonging to the senior staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who worked at the department as a political appointee from May 2009 to February 2013.
During the course of Clinton’s email imbroglio, Pagliano developed a reputation as quiet insider with knowledge of Clinton’s controversial email configuration. He signed an immunity agreement with the Justice Department in exchange for cooperating with FBI investigators examining Clinton’s use of that private email server and has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights hundreds of times in response congressional and legal inquiries. In May, the State Department announced it couldn’t find any evidence that Pagliano had turned over his emails prior to leaving the department, which he would have been required by law to do.
NARA told State in July to produce Pagliano’s complete e-mail records within 30 days, or to explain what happened to them. So far, State hasn’t responded to this demand, now more than 90 days old. State told ABC News that it’s been spending that time looking for Pagliano’s .pst file from that period of time (May 2009 to February 2013), but … they just can’t seem to find it:
“As we have also previously explained, employees’ emails have not always been automatically retained, so the absence of this email file does not necessarily indicate that Mr. Pagliano intentionally deleted his emails,” Kirby said.
That’s a nonsense answer. Standard practice in IT orgs is to back servers up in their entirety and store the data on at least a weekly and monthly basis. In fact, that was standard practice back in the days when I was a network administrator, well before the period of time in question here, and with far fewer resources than the federal government — and when storage media was a lot more expensive, too. Those backups would have definitely included e-mail data from the entire system. If one person’s e-mails were missing, that would have been an intentional choice.
This isn’t the first time that the Obama administration has conveniently lost e-mails from a key figure in a scandal. The IRS played this same shell game after the exposure of its targeting of conservative groups for harassment. Despite subpoenas from Congress, the IRS first couldn’t find Lois Lerner’s e-mails, then reported that they’d been destroyed, only to suddenly discover them once the heat had abated enough for them to be reviewed. One either has to conclude that multiple Cabinet agencies employ the most incompetent IT professionals in America, or come to Reince Priebus’ conclusion:
“The State Department is clearly stonewalling another federal agency’s efforts to recover the emails of the IT staffer who set up Clinton’s illegal server and was granted immunity by the FBI,” Priebus told ABC News. “If this isn’t an Obama Administration cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton, I don’t know what is.”
I’m betting on Door #2 here … and a miraculous recovery of Pagliano’s e-mails sometime after November 9th.