NEW YORK – The decision to grant immunity to Bryan Pagliano, the Clinton aide who placed the private email server in her home, makes clear the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation and has convened a grand jury, said former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova in a telephone interview Thursday morning with WND.
“For Pagliano to get immunity in this case, his lawyers had to have come into the Justice Department to make a proffer, an offer of evidence in which his lawyers explained to the Justice Department what Pagliano was likely to tell them under oath,” diGenova explained.
“For Pagliano to be granted immunity means the FBI investigation is a criminal investigation,” diGenova declared.
The development in the case was reported Wednesday by the Washington Post, which cited a senior law enforcement official.
Hillary Clinton has dismissed questions about the FBI’s investigation of her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state by describing it as a “security review.”
But diGenova told WND it “has moved passed being a security inquiry or a security review.”
“Federal prosecutors do not immunize witnesses in a security review,” he said.
“This is a criminal case, and with Pagliano the federal prosecutors have somebody at the bottom of the case that the prosecutors need to interview in the process of building their case against Hillary Clinton and her top aides,” he said.
DiGenova noted that Pagliano took the Fifth Amendment to avoid giving testimony to the House Benghazi committee last year.
He said the granting of immunity to Pagliano also indicates to him that the Department of Justice has convened a grand jury.
“It is unlikely the Justice Department prosecutors would seek to compel testimony from Pagliano without first getting documents, and to get documents you need a grand jury to issue a subpoena,” diGenova concluded.
“In order to protect themselves later, Justice Department prosecutors would have opened a grand jury so their subpoenas have the force of law.”
Who is Bryan Pagliano?
Pagliano served as the information technology director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.
His résumé on Linkedin.com notes he worked for Clinton from 2006 to 2009. In 2008, he “headed the design and build of the campaign headquarters’ data center and orchestrated the continuous movement of technical equipment and staff among nationwide field officers in response to ever-changing organizational needs.”
When Clinton’s presidential campaign disbanded, Pagliano moved to working for her political action committee.
As reported by the Washington Post in September 2015, Bill and Hillary Clinton personally paid Pagliano $5,000 for “computer services” prior to his becoming a State Department employee, according to a financial disclosure form Pagliano filed in April 2009.
The payment evidently was for establishing a private server for the Clintons in their home in Chappaqua, New York.
In May 2009, the State Department employed Pagliano as a special adviser.
The record shows Pagliano lied to the State Department hide payments the Clintons continued to make to him privately to maintain the Chappaqua e-mail server.
The Washington Post article further reported that even after he became a State Department employee, the Clintons continued paying Pagliano privately to maintain the server for Hillary Clinton.
Pagliano neglected to list the outside income in the required financial disclosures he filed with the State Department each year until concluding his full-time employment in February 2013, coincident with Hillary Clinton’s departure as secretary of state.
‘A web of deceit’
“Because of the complex legal questions regarding Pagliano’s dual employment by the State Department and the Clintons privately, that is one of the reasons he had to be granted immunity,” diGenova observed.
He said Pagliano also needed immunity because he neglected to disclose to the State Department, as required, his outside income with the Clintons,”
He said Pagliano’s actions are “evidence of this web of deceit that has grown up around the creation of Hillary Clinton’s private server.”
DiGenova stressed that Pagliano’s testimony will go a long way to establishing that Hillary Clinton intended to violate national security laws by setting up a non-secure private network over which classified information would be transferred.
He also expects Pagliano’s testimony to affirm former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden’s point that the “original sin” of creating Hillary Clinton’s private server as the sole communications device for the secretary can never be fixed.
“That starts it and ends it – it’s over – the original sin of the private server creates the crime and ends the investigation. The rest is icing on the cake,” diGenova said.
“Pagliano’s testimony will establish clearly his conflicts of interest working at the same time for the Clintons privately while he was a State Department employee, as well as false statements in his failure to disclose to the State Department his outside private income with the Clintons,” he said.
Time to ‘lawyer up’
DiGenova emphasized that Pagliano clearly needed immunity before he testified under oath.
“Pagliano is a small enough fish in the pyramid the FBI is investigating, yet he is central to the investigation – a real smart fish and a very important fish – making it important enough to the Justice Department prosecutors to get his testimony under oath that they were willing to grant him immunity,” he said.
DiGenova said Pagliano’s testimony will show that Hillary Clinton “knew exactly how the private email server was installed, who was involved in making the decision to establish the private email server, who if anyone was spoken with at the State Department, and who on her staff was aware of the private email server.”
The Justice Department’s granting of immunity to Pagliano, diGenova pointed out, means everyone who was on Clinton’s State Department staff knows now that he is talking.
“I doubt the Justice Department prosecutors have yet begun interviewing Hillary Clinton’s staff,” he said. “But knowing that Pagliano has been given immunity, you better believe that everybody on Hillary Clinton’s State Department staff is now lawyering up, if they haven’t already done so.”