Clintons paid State staffer to manage private email server

Posted at 12:08 PM, Sep 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-06 12:08:26-04

Hillary and Bill Clinton personally paid the State Department staffer who managed their private email server, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign confirmed on Saturday.

Bryan Pagliano was retained separately from his job at State to manage the server, two campaign aides said. The arrangement insured that no taxpayer money was spent on the server that was used by the Clinton family and some of their closest advisers, the aides added.

Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill tweeted a statement early Saturday afternoon that said Pagliano was hired to “periodically” manage the server.

“Bryan was hired by the Clinton family as a consultant in order to help out periodically with the management of the system in Chappaqua that hosted the family’s emails,” Merrill said.

The aides initially said Saturday that Pagliano was retained to install the server. A campaign aide said Saturday afternoon that Pagliano is no longer paid by the Clintons.

The Washington Post first reported the arrangement Friday night.

Clinton addressed Pagliano’s role in the email server while speaking to reporters Saturday after a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“We obviously paid for those services, and did so because for a period of time, we continued to need his technical assistance,” she said.

A message left with Pagliano’s lawyer Saturday morning was not immediately returned.

Pagliano, an IT specialist, informed Congress through his lawyer earlier this week that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and other Congressional inquiries into the server.

Clinton’s aides earlier this week sought to minimize any damage from his refusal, saying they’d encouraged Pagliano to testify because he has nothing to hide. The candidate herself said Saturday that she and her advisers “have encouraged everyone to cooperate.”

“I feel strongly that the facts are the facts, and we’ve been repeating them over and over again,” Clinton said. “We will continue to do so, and I would very much urge anybody who is asked to cooperate to do so.”

On Thursday, a Clinton aide called Pagliano an “utter professional and a wonderful young man who does not live in the public eye and understandably may not wish to be drawn into a political spectacle.”

“So his decision is both understandable and yet also disappointing to us, because we believe he has every reason to be transparent about his IT assistance,” the aide added.

Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth could create a fresh opening for Clinton’s opponents in the 2016 presidential race to attack her, this time citing a former staffer’s actions rather than leveling their own charges, like Donald Trump’s suggestion that the controversy surrounding Clinton’s emails could force the end of her campaign.

The FBI took possession of Clinton’s former email server last month from a data center in New Jersey, according to an attorney representing Platte River Networks, the Denver-based company that Clinton used to managed her private email system after she left the State Department.

Platte River provided its services beginning in mid-2013, Barbara Wells, the company’s lawyer, said. She declined to comment last month on whether the company still counted Clinton as a client.

The server no longer contains data, Wells said then, since thousands Clinton emails were removed and turned over to the State Department.