A couple of Clinton staffers are scheduled to show up and provide testimony before Gowdy’s congressional committee investigating – among other things – Benghazi and Hillary’s private email server. But there’s one name on the invitation list who will either be a no-show or will only be coming to repeat over and over again that he is invoking his protections against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. His name is Bryan Pagliano and he was the former Secretary of State’s IT guy during her 2008 campaign and also did some work for her after she took over at State. (He was given the title of “strategic adviser and special projects manager” working for the Chief Technology Officer, but apparently worked directly for Clinton.) It seems that he’s lawyered up and his attorney thinks it might be a bad idea for him to go around answering any questions. (Washington Post)
A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The letter cited the ongoing FBI inquiry into the security of Clinton’s e-mail system, and it quoted a Supreme Court ruling in which justices described the Fifth Amendment as protecting “innocent men . . . ‘who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.’ ”
As for Clinton herself, she released a statement saying that Bryan’s decision was “disappointing” and that she had “urged” him to testify. Yeah… good luck with that. But the point which her brief statement makes clear is that either Hillary herself or members of her team have been in contact with Pagliano and knew something was coming down the pike. Wouldn’t we all have loved to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations.
In some ways you really have to feel sorry for this guy. He wasn’t ever Bryan “the super spy who snooped on Putin” Pagliano. Nor was he Bryan “I get a quarter million dollars for fifteen minute speaking gigs at the Clinton Foundation” Pagliano. He was just Bryan “oh crap I got a blue screen again can somebody call Bryan” Pagliano. And with that in mind I’m fairly sure that he never signed on for this sort of imbroglio.
But in that same context I find myself wondering what it is that Bryan really had to worry about and what’s making his attorney nervous. After all… he’s the guy who installed an email server at the house when the boss asked him to do so. I can’t conceive of a set of circumstances where that would be an offense which merits prosecution. There’s no law against anyone – including the Secretary of State – just having a private server. And for that matter, if Hillary had even used the server but actually restricted it to strictly personal correspondence about her daughter’s wedding and scheduling yoga classes while dealing with all of her office business on a State Department account we wouldn’t even be having this discussion today.
Or does it go deeper than that? Having installed the server, one assumes that Bryan might also be the guy who had to maintain it for her, right? And if that’s the case then he would no doubt have had at least some level of access to the contents since he would be an administrator on the system. Odds are that he didn’t know or care what the contents of all those emails were so long as the system was performing up to par, but perhaps his attorney is warning him that if he had access to the emails or had even taken a peek at a few then suddenly he was in the middle of giant national security mess.
In any event, Bryan most certainly has the right to take the 5th. What the rest of the world makes of that decision is beyond his control but it certainly tosses another log on the fire of Hillary Clinton’s woes.