State Department officials were never sure what to make of a special tech assistant who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought in as a political appointee, according to email exchanges that took place at the time.

Those exchanges were included in a newly unveiled letter that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent last week to Patrick Kennedy, the department's under secretary for management. Lawmakers are trying to find who in the department, if anyone, participated in the oversight of a private server that Clinton used to process her email.

The exchange reveals the confusion officials expressed over Clinton's naming of Bryan Pagliano, who set up Clinton's basement server, as a political appointee, elevating him beyond the status of typical IT workers in the department. The secretary's appointees are typically intended to report to appointees of the president, but because no one in the tech department fit that description, Pagliano's supervision fell to Kennedy.

However, Kennedy has disavowed knowledge of Pagliano's activities in Clinton's basement. "Pagliano and Kennedy had little contact," the department reportedly told Reuters.

Other employees in the IT department similarly denied knowing anything. Susan Swart, who served as Clinton's chief adviser on the departmental IT systems, and her deputy, Charlie Wisecarver, both denied having knowledge, in spite of supervising Pagliano within the IT department.

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