This week brings more banana-republic shenanigans from the State Department, which has already been slammed by federal judges for failing to comply with court orders related to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
Now the State Department claims it can’t find any of the emails sent by Clinton’s senior IT staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who set up the secret mail server that has become the focus of a massive criminal investigation.
“The Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” said State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau, as quoted by ABC News.
“To be clear, the Department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material. The Department has located a pst from Mr. Pagliano’s recent work at the Department as a contractor, but the files are from after Secretary Clinton left the Department,” Trudeau continued.
The Daily Beast explains that a “pst” is a backup file, which the State Department has allegedly been searching for Pagliano’s correspondence during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, without success.
“But the department has found a .pst file for Pagliano’s work at the department as a contractor after Clinton left office, Trudeau said. That period is beyond the scope of the RNC’s lawsuit,” the Daily Beast adds.
Adding to the comedy, Trudeau later rang up ABC News to tell them hey, guess what, “some small amount of Pagliano’s email has been recovered,” most likely “gleaned from other email accounts.”
The biggest, richest, most overstaffed government in the history of mankind claims it can’t find any of the email from the key staffer who was granted immunity to serve as a key witness for the FBI in the Clinton investigation. We’re talking about almost four years of email, from Hillary Clinton’s senior information-technology staffer, charged with setting up the utterly unprecedented private mail system that would eventually contain thousands of classified and Top Secret documents.
At some point, the people struggling to protect Hillary Clinton need to start asking themselves if it’s worth making themselves look so incompetent and/or corrupt. It’s been clear for more than a year that Pagliano would be an important figure in the investigation, leaving plenty of time to dig up his correspondence… or bury it.
“It’s hard to believe that an IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s reckless email server never sent or received a single work-related email in the four years he worked at the State Department. Such records might shed light on his role in setting up Clinton’s server, and why he was granted immunity by the FBI. But it seems that his emails were either destroyed or never turned over, adding yet another layer to the secrecy surrounding his role,” Raj Shah, deputy communications director for the RNC, told ABC News.
As the Washington Examiner explains, the State Department’s claim was “made by lawyers responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee.” Like so many other parties during the incredibly murky Obama years, the RNC had to file a FOIA lawsuit, because the Administration didn’t respond to its lawful FOIA request.
ABC notes that the one and only email from Pagliano proffered to date by the State Department is a November 2012 birthday message to Hillary Clinton, which reads, in its entirety: “Happy Birthday Madam Secretary. To many more!”
Even that email is shrouded in suspicion, because it has been publicly released by the State Department, but they somehow forgot to include it in their response to the RNC’s Freedom of Information Act request, according to the Daily Beast.
No doubt the rest of Pagliano’s email trove will turn up eventually, most likely some time after November 2016. It took two years for the State Department to cough up Benghazi emails from Hillary Clinton responsive to previous Freedom of Information Act requests, for example. Months after the State Department declared itself fully in compliance with a FOIA lawsuit from Judicial Watch, it suddenly “found” thousands more Clinton emails. On another occasion, State “found” about 1,300 responsive emails from top Clinton aides over four years after a FOIA case was filed.
Just last week, Judicial Watch found another few hundred pages of Clinton emails that she apparently “forgot” to hand over to the State Department, after filing sworn statements that she had surrendered all relevant correspondence.
“The emails cover topics such as: her schedule and travel plans; criticisms of Clinton by Richard Gere; Afghanistan; U.S. financial aid and security concerns for several Pacific Islands; the recommendation for a health care system overhaul; and food security,” Judicial Watch reported. There’s also a message from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin that “suggests Clinton would often complain of being ‘exhausted.’”
Of course, the whole point of Hillary Clinton’s secret server was to hide her correspondence from Congress and the American people, and it worked like a charm.
One of the reasons she got caught, besides the inconvenient raid on her friend Sidney Blumenthal’s America Online account by a Romanian hacker, was the way requests to the State Department for Clinton emails kept coming up empty.
Maybe there’s another secret server out there somewhere with Bryan Pagliano’s emails. Or were they among the thousands of emails Clinton deleted from her server, when she claimed she was just cleaning up silly personal stuff, like yoga workout routines and wedding invitations? If that’s the case, the FBI might already have them.