Monday, 07 September 2015

Hillary's Computer Tech to Plead the Fifth; Congress May Offer a Deal

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Huma Abedin was not the only person at the State Department to have a special arrangement with the Clintons to work for Hillary as both a federal and a private employee. Hillary's Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and IT staffer Bryan Pagliano (shown here with Hillary) also worked on the side for Hillary Clinton. In fact, Pagliano — who has said he will take the Fifth when he is called to testify before Congress later this week — maintained the private e-mail server that Hillary used to manage all her e-mails, both work and personal, during her tenure as secretary of state. Hillary's campaign acknowledged only recently that he was paid out of the Clintons' private funds for those services.

This new information is in conflict with previous statements. According to a report by the Washington Post, State Department officials "found no evidence that [Pagliano] ever informed the department that he had outside income," even though he was required to disclose any such "outside income" on the standard personal financial documents he filed each year.

He will have a hard time selling the idea that the omission was merely an oversight, since he did disclose the payments the Clintons made to him for the same work previous to his employment at the State Department. He began working for Hillary during her failed 2008 bid for the White House. He served as the IT director for her campaign and was then hired to work at State by Hillary when she became secretary of state in 2009. On the financial disclosure forms he filed in April 2009, he listed receiving $5,000 from the Clintons for "computer services." Though he continued to provide — and be paid for — those services, he never again listed them on the required forms.

This pattern of behavior by the Clintons and their close associates is not new. As The New American reported previously:

The Clintons and many of their associates have always played fast and loose with the rules everyone else is required to follow. The two terms she [Hillary] and Bill spent in the White House were marked by one scandal after another. Irregularities were, well, regular.

Pagliano's moonlighting as a computer tech for the Clintons simply continues that tired old pattern. He was already familiar with their private e-mail server, since he had been maintaining it for some time. He was then hired by Hillary to work in the IT department at the State Department while continuing to maintain the server as she pressed it into service as the hub for all her work-related e-mails. This brings up some questions that will likely be asked in the coming weeks and months:

• Was Pagliano's employment with the Department of State a special favor for his discretion about the data on Hillary's private server?

• How much was he paid for his continued work on the server once it was being used for both private and official government e-mails?

• Was he privy to the classified data that is known to have been stored on the server?

• If so, did he have clearance to access that classified data?

Invoking the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination may be his best defense, but it will likely prove inadequate. Congress could easily access Pagliano's tax and financial records to show that he did indeed work privately for Hillary and that he omitted that information from the personal financial disclosures he filed as part of his government employment. It could prove to be a trying time for Pagliano as he tries to avoid the questions that could very well put him in jail.

One thing that may work to his favor is that Congress seems very interested in his testimony. He may be offered imunity for telling Congress what he knows about the way Hillary's private server was set up, what was done to protect it, what was on it, and who had access to it. As the Washington Post reported:

Lawmakers interested in hearing Pagliano’s account of the server’s setup and security protocols are considering whether to offer him immunity in exchange for his testimony. If they take the step, Pagliano would be compelled to appear.

What's more, the Clinton campaign may well be looking for a fall guy. While Hillary, Abedin, and Mills circle the wagons, Pagliano seems to be on his own. It was, after all, the Clinton campaign that drew attention to his financial arrangement with Hillary. Unless Congress offers him a deal in exchange for compelling his testimony, he may well provide the opportunity for the Justice Department and Congress to be seen measuring out justice while still not actually prosecuting Hillary or the people closest to her.

No matter how this plays out, Hillary is not nearly out of the woods. As The New American has noted before, her problems are both legal and political. Even if she manages to avoid jail — by sacrificing Pagliano or by some other means — her presidential campaign is not likely to recover from this scandal. Her numbers in the polls continue to slip, and this story is not losing momentum. As more and more e-mails are released and this scandal continues to lead the news, it is becoming increasingly clear that her political career is all but over.

If Congress makes a deal with Pagliano for his testimony, Hillary may yet wind up in jail.

Hillary Clinton with Bryan Pagliano: Facebook photo

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