It is a stunning revelation that is sure to add a suspicious, if not incriminating, new wrinkle into the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.  Whether her impropriety has metastasized into criminal wrongdoing may rest, in part, in the hands of her former IT specialist, Bryan Pagliano.

Pagliano appears to be the keeper of the secrets.  The State Department has now revealed it cannot locate a single email from Pagliano during the four years he served as Clinton’s senior information technology staffer.  That’s right, nothing over his entire career at the federal agency.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  The Department confirmed he had an official email account, but it is empty.  Bone dry.

How is it possible that someone could work at the State Department for four years, but produce not a single email --especially an IT guy?  Well, Hillary Clinton did it.  Which is precisely why she is facing potential legal jeopardy accompanied by an onslaught of negative public opinion that threatens to destroy her ambition to occupy the Oval Office.

Two Possibilities Exist

It seems inexplicable that the man who set up and maintained Clinton’s infamous private server in the basement of her home never, himself, sent or received a single work-related email over the course of four years.  There would seem to be two explanations.

First, Pagliano’s emails could have been deleted.  But since federal records are, by law, required to be preserved, failure to do so may well constitute a crime.  Indeed, several crimes including obstruction of justice.

Second, he could have used a private account for all his official business at the State Department.  If so, did he violate the law in the same way Clinton may have?  Also, was he really working for Clinton personally, but not for the State Department, even though he was being compensated with taxpayer dollars?  That could be considered misappropriation of government funds.  Or fraud.

We already know he was working for Clinton on the side and paid “off the books” by her personally, all the while collecting a government paycheck.  He failed to disclose both the job and the salary, which is a potential crime all on its own.

No wonder this guy invoked the Fifth Amendment and negotiated immunity from criminal prosecution.

A Vital Witness

Armed with immunity, Pagliano can be compelled to testify. There is every indication he has been cooperating with the FBI and, perhaps, the Department of Justice.  He could be a devastating witness.  In fact, that is the very description used by an intelligence source close to the case, as reported by our own chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.

How devastating?  We don’t know, as yet.  But Pagliano could have the ability to answer serious questions about potential misconduct and/or crimes:

--Did Clinton set up the server to circumvent the law on public records?

--Did she know that classified information was stored on her unauthorized server?

--Who had access to the server?

--Were classified markings deliberately erased?

--Was it Clinton who decided to delete thousands of emails?

--Did she order the server to be “wiped clean”?

Pagliano is the guy who installed the server.  He maintained it.  He communicated with Clinton.  He could be the keeper of secrets.  Those secrets may now be in the hands of the FBI.      

A Lawsuit Triggered the Disclosure

The news of Pagliano’s missing emails comes not from the FBI, but from a federal lawsuit pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request.  It speaks volumes about the State Department’s recalcitrance.  It took a lawsuit to get the agency to comply with the law, forcing it to search for Pagliano’s emails.  There have been three dozen such lawsuits to pressure State into doing what it’s supposed to do by law.  The federal judges presiding seem impatient, if not downright angry about it.  One of them found “evidence of wrongdoing and bad faith,” citing the agency’s “shifting admissions.” That’s legal code for “lies.”     

All the delays and obfuscation invite the question: is the State Department complicit in trying to cover-up incriminating evidence?  Do officials there believe they are above the law?  Have they forgotten their fundamental duty is to serve the public?  And where is John Kerry in all of this?  After all, he has been in charge for three years.

State Department Reverses Itself

If you suspect incompetence instead of malice, there is evidence to support both.  Hours after the State Department revealed the MIA emails, it contradicted itself by announcing that it did find a small amount of Pagliano’s emails.  So it seems the agency can’t even get its story straight.  It’s enough to give you whiplash.

Apparently, these suddenly discovered emails come from other people’s email accounts, not Pagliano’s.  It will be interesting to learn what server he was using.  I have a hunch.  Same as yours.

Finally, one of Pagliano’s mysterious emails has managed to surface.  He wished Clinton a “Happy Birthday Madam Secretary”.  But instead of just replying “thanks,” she forwarded the email to yet another staffer… instructing him to “please respond.”  No kidding.  She demanded an underling provide a reply.

Every day seems to bring new revelations that leave even the most seasoned cynics scratching their heads.  For every vacuous excuse there is a stupefying act of ineptitude and, perhaps, malevolence.  It has become political theater of the absurd. 

The entire sordid affair brings to mind the words of the Scottish poet, Walter Scott, who wrote:  “Oh what a tangled web we weave… when first we practice to deceive.”