The Clinton campaign played some serious hardball last week after Bryan Pagliano invoked his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify before the Benghazi Committee. To do that, a witness must have a reasonable belief that any testimony offered by him would lead to criminal charges.
That's why Pagliano is a grave threat to Hillary and may hold the fate of her run for the White House in his hands. He' set up and maintained her private server and he's the only one who with intimate, first-hand knowledge of what happened to all of the documents on it. If he thinks he might have criminal exposure, that's a big problem.
And that's why the Clinton folks were so upset about his announcement that inferred criminal conduct.
So they decided to take some action and change the storyline.
Enter the Hillary Clinton "Secret Police," the Clinton operatives who sent Pagliano a warning about what happens when you cross the Clintons.
All of a sudden, confidential information about payments to Pagliano -- ostensibly made by the Clintons -- was leaked to The Washington Post. (Anonymously, of course) The Clinton aides helpfully added that he might not have reported all the payments on his mandatory confidential executive branch financial disclosure form and found a friendly State Dept. spokesman, anonymous of course, to confirm it.
Of course, a failure to report this outside income is a felony.
Did Hillary's people leak this information implicating Pagliano in the commission of a felony to hold it over his head and keep him quiet? Or were they trying to suggest that the only criminal conduct that Pagliano's testimony might expose had nothing to do with the server, but rather with his own failure to report the alleged payments?
Either way, they were trying to intimidate him.
But here's the really important question: How did Clinton's "secret police" learn that Pagliano didn't disclose his payments from Hillary in the first place? (If in fact, the Clintons did really pay him?)
Answer: Their usual way. They wrongfully invaded his confidential State Department personnel file, just like they did with Kathleen Willey and Linda Tripp. It's what they do when they are in a crisis mode. No rules apply to them.
It's important to remember that the key word here is "CONFIDENTIAL," a word that means nothing to the Clintons when they want to make a point. How the campaign aides suddenly had access to Pagliano's confidential personnel file was not revealed, of course.
They have some help at the State Department. Last month, another helpful unnamed Hillary-friendly State Dept. official reported that there was "no evidence that he ever informed the department that he had outside income," also a felony. Since when does the State Department make public comments concerning personnel files of former employee?
According to The Washington Post, anonymous campaign aides said that the Clintons personally paid Pagliano $5000 to set up the server before he came to the State Dept. and continued to pay him to maintain it. They did this to avoid the impropriety of the State Department paying for the non-governmental use of the server by Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton's aides. (If that concern were true it would be a first for the couple who emptied out everything that wasn't nailed down in the White House and trucked it up to Chappaqua.)
The campaign aides said that the $5000 payment was listed on a disclosure form he filed in April 2009, just before arriving at the State Dept. That's curious because he was also paid $15,861 by Hillary's political action committee, HILL PAC from January 2009 through April 2009 -- exactly when the server was set up and launched.
The Clinton leakers said that Pagliano was paid by the Clintons even though he was an employee of the State Department at a salary of $136,000 (only $13,000 less than Hillary's own salary as Secretary).
The timing of the leak was instructive. The Clinton folks knew that once Pagliano invoked the Fifth Amendment, he could not say a single word about the controversy without jeopardizing his privilege. That's how it works. You can't decide to talk about some aspects of the matter and refuse to speak about other points. Once you discuss anything at all, there is a danger that you have waived your right. So the Clinton folks knew that Pagliano would not respond.
The Secret Police are at it again.
Watch your back, Mr. Pagliano.