Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top information technology official at the Department of State pleaded the Fifth Amendment Monday — more than 90 times, according to the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch.
John Bentel, the State Department’s former director of information resource management, asserted his Fifth Amendment right more than 90 times in response to questions during a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit deposition, adding his name to the growing list of Clinton connections resorting to the Fifth to avoid answering questions about Clinton’s use of a private email and server system located in her New York residence.
Bentel’s office served Clinton and her most senior aides.
“The fact that yet another State Department official took the Fifth highlights the disturbing implication that criminal acts took place related to the Clinton email and our Freedom of Information Act requests,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said regarding Bentel’s responses.
Judicial Watch is also suing for records related to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s special government employee (SGE) status at the State Department.
Bentel joins Clinton’s former IT aide Bryan Pagliano and employees of Clinton’s IT firm, Platte River Networks, in pleading the Fifth. Bentel, on the advice of his counsel and the Department of Justice (DOJ), refused to answer any questions about whether Clinton was paying his legal fees or offered him employment, according to Judicial Watch.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted Judicial Watch’s request to depose Bentel, citing discrepancies in Bentel’s previous claims about Clinton’s private email system before the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi. (RELATED: The Immunized Five: Meet The Five People Covering For Hillary)
“Specifically, Mr. Bentel testified that he was not aware that Secretary Clinton’s email account was housed on a private server until media reports in 2015,” Sullivan said in an August court order. “However, several emails indicate Mr. Bentel knew about the private server as early as 2009.”
A May 2016 State Department Office of Inspector General (IG) report also found Bentel told employees in his office that the State Department’s legal staff approved Clinton’s email setup and ordered them not to discuss the matter.
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