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The Washington Post
Former Clinton aide who helped set up server to plead Fifth Amendment to avoid subpoena
September 03, 2015
By Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger
September 2, 2015
A former aide to Hillary Clinton who helped set up her private email server has told at least three congressional committees that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying against his former boss, Fox News has confirmed.
Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign before helping install the so-called "homebrew" server system in her Chappaqua, N.Y. home, was asked to testify about the server by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
"Mr. Pagliano's legal counsel told the committee yesterday that he would plead the 5th to any and all questions if he were compelled to testify," a spokesperson for Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Fox late Wednesday.
A letter from Pagliano's attorney Mark MacDougall explaining his client's decision cited the ongoing FBI investigation into whether classified national security information was mishandled when it passed through Clinton's server.
"While we understand that Mr. Pagliano's response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution," MacDougall wrote.
The Washington Post reported that Pagliano had been subpoenaed by the Benghazi committee Aug. 11 and committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. had ordered that he appear for questioning Sept. 10. Gowdy had also demanded that Pagliano provide documents related to all servers or computer systems controlled or owned by Clinton between 2009 and 2013.
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The Post reported last month that Pagliano had worked as an IT director on Clinton's ill-fated 2008 campaign, and was asked to oversee the installation of Clinton's server to handle her correspondence while secretary of state. He was paid by a political action committee tied to Clinton until April 2009, when he was hired by the State Department as an IT specialist. The Post reported Wednesday that Pagliano left government service in February 2013 and now works for a technology contractor that provides some services to the State Department.
The Benghazi committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., claimed that Gowdy had issued the subpoena unilaterally in an effort to smear Clinton.
"Although multiple legal experts agree there is no evidence of criminal activity, it is certainly understandable that this witness's attorneys advised him to assert his Fifth Amendment rights," Cummings told the Post, "especially given the onslaught of wild and unsubstantiated accusations by Republican presidential candidates, members of Congress and others based on false leaks about the investigation."
Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing related to her private server.
On Thursday, former State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton ally, was scheduled to give a closed-door deposition to the Benghazi committee. The deposition was expected to cover Clinton's server, the Obama administration's Libya policy, and the security situation at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that killed four Americans.
Fox News' Ed Henry, Mike Emanuel, and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.
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