The State Department has released for the first time a batch of emails specifically regarding Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department tech worker who helped manage Hillary Clinton’s private email system.
The records, which were provided to The Daily Caller in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on its behalf by the watchdog group Cause of Action, suggest that Pagliano is a central figure in a State Department inspector general investigation. They also show Pagliano, who started working at State in May 2009, discussing personnel and IT-related matters with Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top two State Department aides.
The State Department inspector general’s interest in Pagliano has been rumored. In September, Yahoo! News reported that the watchdog sought to interview Pagliano in June. But the tech worker declined the request, as well as one from the FBI, by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He did the same in September when he declined to testify for the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
But the emails recently released to TheDC for the first time show officials within the agency discussing Pagliano within what appears to be the context of an IG probe.
“I recently found an email in my possession I believe responsive to the OIG’s direct request of me several weeks ago,” wrote Donald R. Reid, who oversees the State Department’s network cyber security program, in a partially-redacted Sept. 4 email to Gregory B. Starr, the agency’s assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.
“I intend to conduct a further review of my email and have directed others in SI likely to have responsive information to similarly ‘take another look,'” he added.
Reid’s email includes an attachment entitled “2009 Pagliano ROI” as well as an email sent to him from a contractor who works for AJVV, a company that handles personnel investigations for the State Department.
“Attached is the page from the PSS ROI from the 2009 Investigation,” the contractor, whose name is redacted, wrote to Reid.
“ROI” is a reference to a “report of investigation.” Pagliano’s security file, which is maintained by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, is included along with the email. It shows that Pagliano first underwent a security check on April 9, 2009. His official start date was May 10, 2009. Pagliano’s security file was reviewed again on Nov. 5, 2015, the document shows.
The State Department tells TheDC that “2009 Investigation” in the email sent to Reid refers to Pagliano’s initial security check and not to a criminal probe.
A spokesman for the State Department’s inspector general tells TheDC that “it is OIG policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.” Pagliano’s attorney, Mark MacDougall, did not return a request for comment.
It would be no surprise if Pagliano were a central figure in an IG investigation. The IT director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Pagliano has emerged as a key player in the Democratic presidential front-runner’s ongoing email scandal, which took a new turn on Tuesday with the revelation that emails containing information even beyond the “top secret” classification were housed on the former secretary of state’s server. (RELATED: Report: Emails At The Highest Classification Level Found On Hillary’s Server)
Clinton reportedly paid Pagliano out of her personal funds to manage her private email system, which involved the use of the email domain, clintonemail.com, and a server which was housed in her Chappaqua, N.Y. home.
While managing that homebrew system, Pagliano held the official State Department title of special advisor and deputy chief information officer. He was classified at the GS-15 level for most of his tenure and now reportedly works as a contractor for the State Department. As The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Richard Pollack has reported, Pagliano was hired with no national security experience or security clearance.
The State Department withheld some Pagliano documents, John F. Hackett, the director of the agency’s FOIA program, said in a letter to TheDC. While stating that the search for Pagliano’s records is ongoing, Hackett wrote that 19 out of 23 responsive documents from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security were withheld in full. Two documents — the Reid email and Pagliano’s security file — were released in part. Two others require intra- or inter-agency coordination, Hackett said.
The agency released all or part of 12 records that it found originated within the office of the executive secretariat, which serves as a liaison between the Office of the Secretary and other agency branches.
The documents were likely culled from Cheryl Mills’ and Huma Abedin’s records since, as State Department lawyers said in a court filing last month, the agency has been unable to find emails from Pagliano’s government account.
The emails provided to TheDC show Pagliano mostly discussing personnel matters and job opportunities with Mills. Other messages show him helping her recover contact information from a personal Blackberry she lost in March 2010. Like Clinton, Mills used a personal email account. Unlike Clinton, she was provided a second Blackberry for official business.
As TheDC reported on Monday, the State Department offered in August 2011 to provide Clinton a second Blackberry with access to a state.gov email account. But Abedin, who is now vice chair of Clinton’s campaign, rebuffed the suggestions, telling a State Department official that the idea “doesn’t make a lot of sense.” (RELATED: Emails: Clinton Aides Resisted State Department Suggestion That Clinton Use State.gov Account)
In a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Mills, Pagliano wrote “I heard that there may be an opening at the CIO position at Millennium Challenge,” a reference to MCC, a State Department sub-agency.
“Is there anyone over there who I can potentially talk to there to see if they will be looking?” he asked. A return email from Mills is not included.
In another email, dated July 3, 2012, Pagliano asked Mills about “any upcoming trips that I can join and help out on?”
“Good ques – will revert,” Mills replied.
Other Pagliano emails to Mills show him offering advice on topics ranging from desktop computer choices to physical therapist suggestions.
One email in the batch is notable for its sense of urgency.
On Sept. 22, 2010, Abedin wrote to Pagliano: “Can I call u asap?”
It is unclear whether a crisis was at hand. No other emails from the Hillary Clinton releases during that time frame refer to Pagliano or any computer issues.
One Pagliano email is notably absent from the State Department’s release. The State Department’s November dump of Clinton’s emails included an Oct. 26, 2012 email from Pagliano’s personal email account wishing Clinton happy birthday. Clinton forwarded the email to one of her aides’ state.gov accounts. But the absence of that email from the State Department’s new release raises questions over whether it is searching State Department employees’ records for correspondence with Pagliano on his private email account.
In a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry last month, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested that the agency look for Pagliano’s emails among other State Department employees.