Back in early 2014, when IRS director Lois Lerner pleaded the Fifth, it became clear that not all is well with the official story of why the IRS targeted conservative groups, and certainly cast a shadow on Lerner's official excuse involving the disappearance of her countless emails while in a position of power including her explanation that the email server had been destroyed. Subsequent revelations that Lerner had lied about most aspect of the narrative, including the stunning discovery that she had used a private email account under an entirely different and made up alias "Toby Miles" largely confirmed the shorthand conventional wisdom that anyone pleading the Fifth, is if not guilty apriori then certainly hiding critical evidence.
Fast forward to this week when another prominent democrat caught up in another email scandal has just indicated they would plead the Fifth. And no, its not Hillary Clinton, at least not yet, but her former staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who oversaw her private email server. As reported by Politico, he too plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to answer incriminating questions before the House Benghazi Committee, according to a letter his lawyer sent the panel.
Bryan Pagliano with Hillary
Politico has the details:
The panel on Aug. 11 subpoenaed Bryan Pagliano, the go-to technology fixer for Clinton’s home-made server, to testify privately next Thursday about what he knew of the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic front-runner's email arrangement. The panel also asked for all his documents about the email arrangement.
But in a letter to the committee, his lawyer said he’d take the Fifth to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO. He also is refusing to turn over documents, citing the ongoing FBI investigation.
So wait, there is an ongoing FBI investigation? Didn't Hillary's camp nearly sue the NYT for reporting just this a few weeks ago? Or was that "confidential" information at the time and was only declassified when someone emailed it? Very confusing.
Meanwhile, back to Clinton's latest headache:
“We hope the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution… excuse Mr. Pagliano from personally appearing on September 10, 2015,” reads the letter from attorney Mark MacDougall of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
And so another attempt to cover up what in the past would have surely led to indicments begins, only this time it may be difficult to keep it hidden: shortly after the announcement, conservative group Judicial Watch announced it would sue the State Department for his records and all documents that relate to his job at State and his work on the server.
Who is Pagliano?
Pagliano, Clinton’s 2008 campaign IT director who followed her to the State Department, was originally on salary for Clinton’s Senate leadership PAC. He personally helped set up the Clinton email system in the spring of 2009, an arrangement inspired by a home-based server Bill Clinton used in their Chappaqua, New York residence, according toa Washington Post report from last month.
At the State Department, Pagliano continued to manage the server, occasionally being called in to fix it when technology went awry.
In 2013, after Clinton left Foggy Bottom, so did he, for the private sector. The server, now found to have dozens of emails containing classified information and currently in the hands of the FBI, would pass to Platte River Networks, a Denver-based mom-and-pop shop that at one point in time stored some servers in a bathroom closet, according to theDaily Mail.
It is still unclear why or how the Denver company was selected.
Actually, it rather is.
As for Pagliano pleading the Fifth to avoid "self-incrimination", Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said it best: "Mrs. Clinton’s argument that her ‘server’ was private fails on many levels, especially if Mr. Pagliano, a State Department employee, was paid by taxpayers to take care of it,” said group President Tom Fitton in a statement. “We must wonder if Mr. Pagliano has emails from the Clinton server.”
But the far more relevant question is how will the US public respond to the clearest indication yet that something very material is being hidden from not only the US public, but Congress itself. With Hillary suddenly fading fast in the polls she may need a quick answer before her entire campaign is obliterated by scandal after ever greater scandal.