Federal investigators probing Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address and home-brew server located in her New York residence are zeroing in on the former secretary of state’s obscure information technology guru as the key to unraveling the scandal.
“More than 100 days after he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying before the House committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack, a key Hillary Clinton aide is at the center of the separate and ongoing investigation by the FBI into Clinton’s use of a private unsecured server while she was secretary of state,” Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne report Thursday.
“That former staffer, Bryan Pagliano, set up the controversial private email server in Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y. Pagliano is believed to be the only witness publicly identified during the politically charged hearings on Benghazi to invoke the Fifth Amendment,” according to Herridge and Browne.
The Fox News report notes that in invoking the Fifth Amendment, the former Clinton aide relied upon an obscure “act-of-production” privilege that has only been invoked in 103 federal and state cases in the past 31 years.
“A person can invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against the production of documents only where the act of producing the documents is incriminating in itself. According to a legal review by Fox News, this privilege applies when producing the documents – as opposed to their contents — to the government is entitled to Fifth Amendment protection,” Herride an Browne said.
“This assertion is tantamount to the defendant’s testimony that the documents exist, are authentic and are in his possession,” they added.
Earlier this year, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Richard Pollock exclusively reported Sept. 5, 2015, that Pagliano had no national security experience and may have received a 55 percent pay hike after Clinton left the State Department in 2013.
“Bryan Pagliano joined Clinton in 2009 as a top-level IT strategist and adviser. He previously was IT director of Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The White House personnel office must approve political appointees before they are hired,” Pollock said.
“Pagliano was hired as a GS-15 even though he had no national security experience or security clearance,” Pollock said. Pagliano was initially paid $140,000 annually but that was reduced to $136,000 per year in 2011 and 2012 for unknown reasons.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has sued the State Department in federal court after the government failed to produce documentation that Clinton and her key aides completed mandatory training in protecting classified information when transmitting it digitally.
There are also questions about Pagliano’s compensation and employment status in the nearly three years since Clinton’s tenure ended as the nation’s chief diplomat, according to Pollock.
“In February 2013, the same month Hillary left as Secretary of State, Pagliano’s GS-15 employee status ended and he joined Gartner, Inc. a global IT company, according to his LinkedIn web page. Gartner has received 176 contracts and subcontracts from the State Department since 2007 collectively worth more than $14 million,” Pollock reported.
“While the State Department refused to disclose Pagliano’s contractor or any other details about his current or past employment status, federal contracting data bases show that on January 3, 2013, the State Department awarded Gartner $212,871.29 for an employee to work in the IRM where Pagliano remains despite having left the firm last November,” Pollock said.
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