Brian Pagliano, the former State Department IT Specialist who set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server, has ignored a Congressional Subpoena to appear at hearings which are aimed at determining if Secretary Clinton sacrificed informational secrecy during her term.
This is not the first time that Pagliano was called before Congress to answer questions which he did not attend. He was subpoenaed by Congress in 2014 to testify about informational security as it related to the attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. He declined to attend for fear that he could incriminate himself against his protections afforded by the Fifth Amendment. He has previously submitted to questioning by the FBI under a deal giving him immunity.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was furious that Pagliano ignored his Committee’s subpoena and is now considering “a full range of options” in response to his failure to appear.
“He should be here. … It is not optional, his attendance is required here.” Chaffetz said
Two executives, Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta, from the IT firm that maintained the server, Platte River Networks, appeared before the committee, but both refused to answer questions and exercised their Fifth Amendment Rights.
The only other called witness was Justin Cooper, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, who answered questions. He told the committee that he did have access to the server but at the same time has not been given any type of security clearance by the government.
The question at hand is whether Hillary Clinton committed a crime by using the private server during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat. There is fear that her mishandling of classified information could have led to a breach by foreign powers or have been hacked. Neither has been proven. It is against the law to not properly handle secret or classified information even without the intent to let that information be released to the public.
Less than 60 days ago, FBI Director James Comey, refused to indict Hillary Clinton over the server or her handling of her private emails. The House of Representatives is investigating whether the FBI made the right decision or if there was information that hadn’t been made available to them which could have affected their decision. Further, they are trying to determine if Hillary Clinton committed perjury as her public answers have often come into conflict with what investigators have said about the investigation.
The House Committee is also trying to understand the unfolding events which lead to the recommendation not to file charges against Hillary Clinton at the time. Two weeks before the decision to not indict Clinton, Former President Bill Clinton had held a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on a tarmac in Arizona. While both Bill Clinton and Lynch have stated that the investigation was not discussed, they both acknowledged that the meeting was inappropriate. Later that week, with calls for Lynch to recuse herself from the decision, Lynch refused the calls and said she would make the decision whether to indict Hillary Clinton based solely on the recommendation of the FBI. Two days later Hillary Clinton went to the FBI voluntarily to discuss the case. Days later Director Comey, while making it clear that Hillary Clinton was extremely careless in her handling of classified information, the FBI was recommending against indicting her.
After the FBI had recommended against indictment, there have been several pieces of information indicating that the FBI may not have had all the information it needed. Platte River Networks is now known to have used a program called BleachBit to erase more than 30,000 emails from the server. Bleachbit is used to specifically make emails which are deleted very difficult, if not impossible, to recover.
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