• The New State Department Report on Hillary’s Email, and Why it Matters

    May 27, 2016 // 32 Comments

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State

    Trump_&_Clinton





    The State Department Inspector General’s (IG) investigation report leaked out a day early on May 25 makes a number of significant points. These matter, and need to be considered by anyone voting in November.



    What’s in the IG Report

    — Neither Clinton nor any of her senior staff would participate in the IG’s investigation.

    — Clinton never sought approval, legal or technical, for her unprecedented private email system.

    — IT staffers and others at State warned her against it.

    — Had she sought approval, the State Department would not have granted it.

    — Clinton violated Federal Records laws.

    — Clinton did not turn over all of her work-related emails. Several (unclassified) were quoted in the IG report that had never been released.

    — Clinton violated State Department policies and guidelines in place at the time, even as the State Department enforced those on the rank-and-file.

    — IT staff at the State Department who raised concerns internally were falsely told the server was approved and ordered to not discuss it further.

    — Clinton’s use of a non-standard email account caused many of her emails to not reach their recipients inside State, and ended up instead in Spam.

    — State Department staffers not in Clinton’s inner circle aware of her private email address could not communicate with the head of their agency.

    — His State Department bosses did not know their employee, Bryan Pagliano, was simultaneously working directly for Clinton maintaining her private server.

    — The server came under severe enough hacker attacks that its administrator had to physically unplug it to prevent intrusions.

    The question of classified material handling is, by agreement, being left by State to the FBI, and is thus not addressed in the IG report.

    All of that is in the report. I’ve read the whole thing, and if you do not believe my summary, above, or wonder what specific laws and regulations are being cited, you can also read the whole thing and learn for yourself.



    What Matters

    — For the first time, a set of actual facts of Clinton’s actions and decisions have been laid out by an independent, government entity. The IG was appointed by Obama and his report is dispassionate. No one can realistically claim this is a hit job. Sources are cited and laws footnoted.

    — Clinton did break Federal Records laws and violate State Department regulations that her organization held others to.

    — Despite repeated promises of transparency and cooperation, neither Hillary nor any of her senior staff would agree to participate in the IG’s investigation. Former Sectaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright did participate fully and voluntarily in the investigation. Clinton alone did not.

    — Clinton never sought approval, and ignored advice to stop what she was doing. She ran the server with no oversight. With no oversight, the only check on Clinton was Clinton herself.

    — That lack of oversights extended to potential destruction of evidence. It was Clinton alone who determined which emails to turn over to the State Department as “work related” and which to delete, some 30,000. It was Clinton who made the decision to then try and wipe the server clean. It is unclear whether or not the FBI can forensically retrieve and review those 30,000 deleted emails.

    Simply put, what she did wasn’t supposed to be done.



    Why It Matters

    — Hillary Clinton lied when she claimed her actions were approved. She lied when she said there were no regulations in place at the time of her server decisions. She lied when she said she broke no laws. She lied when she said this all was a Republican hit job. She lied when she said she would cooperate with any investigation.

    — Hillary Clinton covered up her actions for four years as Secretary, then another two years after she left office, and only admitted to anything after it hit the news last year.

    — Hillary Clinton asks voters to trust her with the most important job in America. She has not shown she is trustworthy.

    — Hillary Clinton asks to be America’s leader. She did not lead her State Department, and she showed contempt for its rules. She did not lead by example.

    — Hillary Clinton made clear by her actions that she believes rules that apply to others do not apply to her.

    — Hillary Clinton by her actions succeeded in hiding all of her official emails from the Freedom of Information Act for six years in open contempt for that process and the American people.

    — Hillary Clinton purposefully and willfully created a system that exempted her from the oversight applied to every other government employee.

    — Hillary Clinton alone in the entire U.S. government conducted 100% of her official business on a private email server.



    Defense?

    The other shoe has yet to drop. Though the Inspectors General from the intelligence community have stated unequivocally that Clinton did handle highly classified material on her unsecured server, the FBI report on the same matter has not yet been released.

    For those who wish to defend Clinton with the “but everybody did it” argument, Condoleezza Rice did not send any emails on any unsecured system at all. Powell and Albright sent a handful in the early days of the web. All of them cooperated in the State IG investigation. None of them ran a fully private system for four years and most importantly, none of them are asking us to trust them now running for president.

    If your support is whittle down to a sad Hillary is down to “well, she’s not Trump,” do be careful what you wish for. She’s not Trump, but she is all of the above.

    For those who wish to defend Clinton by saying “she’s not indicted,” well, actual criminality is a pretty low bar to set for the most important job in America. Also, the FBI has yet to release its report which may point to actual national security violations.

    And lastly, it is not about crime per se, but about trust and judgement.



    BONUS: If Bernie Sanders will not discuss any of this publically, he does not want to be president.




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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Justice Dept Grants Immunity to Staffer Who Set Up Clinton’s Email Server

    March 4, 2016 // 26 Comments

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    bryan at party



    You remember Bryan Pagliano, pictured above, the guy who ran Hillary’s IT during her 2008 presidential campaign. After Obama tossed Hillary the job of secretary of state, Hillary had Pagliano hired by the State Department. She also had him continue to administer her private server, supposedly paying him on the side for the help.

    Taking the Fifth

    In addition to everything else swirling in the cesspool of that email server, there are also questions about whether or not whether the State Department spent taxpayer money to manage Hillary’s email server. See, Pagliano was working for both State as a government employee and Hillary as a private employee at the same time. One wonders if he always kept the two tasks fully separate, and of course what a government employee was doing working privately for the Clintons at the same time.

    When asked back in September to provide testimony to Congress, Pagliano refused, asserting his Fifth Amendment rights.

    Now things have changed.


    Getting Immunity

    The Justice Department has granted immunity to the former State Department staffer, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.

    The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.


    What Pagliano Likely Knows

    Bryan Pagliano can shed light on several issues:

    — Pagliano’s dual role as government employee and Clinton employee opens a whole new arena for investigation against Clinton, similar to the one already ongoing with aide Huma Abedin, who at one point worked simultaneously for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary herself and a private company closely tied to the Clintons.

    — While at State, what was Pagliano’s day-to-day job? What did he really do, not just his job description, but is actual work accomplishments? Is there a paper trail showing he did any actual work at all, or was the State “job” just a make-work position to get him on the payroll as a gift in return for his service to Clinton?

    — He listed on LinkedIn his political-appointee position as “Serve as strategic advisor and special projects manager to the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) / Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) overseeing the operations of the Information Resource Management (IRM) bureau.” Employed at such a high level inside State’s IT structure assures that State’s most senior information officers knew about Clinton’s email setup, and apparently did not or were not able to stop it. Unless Brian never told his supervisor about his other job.

    — What was going on inside the State Department vis-a-vis the email server. Who knew about it? When did they know? Was it ever vetted/approved, and if so, by whom? Were objections raised by security personnel and how were those objections dealt with? Who is on the complete list of people who had email addresses on the server? What discussions took place inside State regarding the presence of classified information on the server? Were objections ever raised from outside State, say from the White House or the intelligence community?

    — Pagliano can also speak to what security measures if any were in place on Clinton’s server, and when were they instituted. He had visibility into server logs, showing any attacks or penetrations into the server.

    — Pagliano, as a State Department employee, had access to the State Department computer systems. He currently works as a computer contractor for State, and still has access to State Department computer systems. Has he ever been asked by Clinton to use his positions to gain information she would ordinarily not have access to, or to which she did not want her name attached?

    — Pagliano may have knowledge of where any backups of the server are, shedding light on what emails were deleted by Clinton before her “full disclosure” of what was in fact a highly curated batch of documents.

    There is a lot to learn from Bryan Pagliano. His testimony could be like when the Feds turn a Mafia accountant, a low-level guy with access to the family jewels.


    BONUS: The State Department’s Chief Information Officer, who should have stopped the Clinton email server? Well, well, she retired from State a few months before Hillary left, into a nice job at the IMF. It pays to be a winner!



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  • Questions for Clinton

    September 18, 2015 // 8 Comments

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iraq

    questions



    I’ll begin today a new series, called “Questions for Clinton,” in which I’ll compile a set of questions Congressional Committees, media and the FBI should ask the former Secretary of State when they have a few free moments before the election.

    The questions will be factual, and non-partisan under normal people’s definitions** of these terms.

    **Normal people excludes anyone who has decided without further thought that there is nothing to see here, that asking questions itself is a partisan attack, and that “everybody does it” is a valid explanation for whatever happens. If you are not willing to examine or re-examine these issues, there is nothing for you to see here. Enjoy being ignorant, you’ve earned it, so click here.



    Today’s Questions

    Madame Secretary, please read the September 1 exchange below, between State Department spokesperson Mark Toner and the media. Here are the questions:

    1) Who at the State Department, highest level, authorized your private email server. You stated it was permitted under State Department rules. Who made that determination and when? Was the determination ever reevaluated during your four years in office? If it is in writing, please produce the document. If it was not in writing, please explain why not.

    2) Was there concern/opposition/protest/raising of issues within the State Department over your use of a private email server? What is the highest level that voiced that concern, and the highest level that received the concerns? How were those questions responded to? Did anyone in the State IT or State Information Security structure know about your server? How and when were they informed, or did they discover it on there own?

    3) A person you placed into a State Department job, Bryan Pagliano, also at the same time administered your private server. Were his bosses’ at State aware of this? What was their reaction? Did they raise any concerns? If they were not informed, why not? As you are aware, State employees are required to report and vett any outside employment. Did he? If not, why not?

    4) In March you stated the private server was simply because you did not wish to carry multiple devices, though obviously you did. You then stated in September the reason there was a private server was because as you took office you were simply too busy with matters of foreign affairs to focus on how email was processed. Which is it? Why have you offered two different explanations separated by six months of additional disclosures?

    5) Your IT administrator from your 2008 presidential campaign was Bryan Pagliano. You had him hired by the State Department after you became Secretary of State, as a GS-15 civil service employee in his job as a special advisor and deputy chief information officer at the State Department. He earned around $140,000 per year from 2010-2012. You also paid him personally, on the side, to continue managing your private server from 2009 to 2013. Pagliano still works at the State Department, albeit now as a private contractor.

    Was the job “special advisor and deputy chief information officer” created for him, or did it exist prior to him filling it? Who were his predecessors and what was their pay rate? Exactly and specifically, what were his duties? What is his contractor job now at State? Do you feel it may create some sort of conflict of interest, given the issues around your use of private email, that Pagliano still has access to the State Department computer networks where information concerning your situation is being processed?

    6) If you do not know the answers, why not? Who will answer these questions for us if you cannot?



    The Press Exchange

    QUESTION: But do you know who signed off on her having a private server?

    MR TONER: Who signed off on her? I don’t, no.

    QUESTION: I mean —

    QUESTION: Did anybody?

    MR TONER: Again, I’m not going to answer that question. I’m not going to litigate that question from the podium.

    QUESTION: So you’re saying that nobody signed off on her having a private server?

    MR TONER: No. I’m saying – look, everyone – there were – people understood that she had a private server. I think we’ve talked about that in the past.

    QUESTION: What level was that knowledge? How high did that go up in this building?

    MR TONER: I mean, you’ve seen from the emails. You have an understanding of people who were communicating with her, at what level they were communicating at, so —

    QUESTION: Was there anybody in this building who was against the Secretary having her own private server?

    MR TONER: I can’t answer that. I can’t.

    QUESTION: And just —

    MR TONER: I mean, I don’t have the history, but I also don’t have – I don’t have the authority to speak definitively to that.

    QUESTION: But —

    MR TONER: Again, these are questions that are appropriate, but appropriate for other processes and reviews.

    QUESTION: But not the State Department? She was the Secretary of State and —

    MR TONER: No, I understand what you’re asking. But frankly, it’s perfectly plausible – and I talked a little bit with Arshad about this yesterday – is for example, we know that the State IG is – at the Secretary’s request – is looking at the processes and how we can do better and improve our processes. And whether they’ll look at these broader questions, that’s a question for them.
    [….]
    QUESTION: So last opportunity here: You don’t know who signed off on Secretary Clinton having her own server?

    MR TONER: Again, I don’t personally, but I don’t think it’s our – necessarily our responsibility to say that. I think that that’s for other entities to look at.



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  • Clinton Says She Was ‘Not Thinking’ (When She Set Up Email Server)

    September 7, 2015 // 7 Comments

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State

    colombia


    Let’s play a game, shall we? I’ll write down some things Hillary said and did, and you mark which ones are the kinds of things that suggest “presidential.”

    You know, the stuff you need from a world leader when the sh*it hits the fan at 3am and crucial decisions need to be made. Short-decision time frames, long-term consequences kinda stuff.

    For added fun, I’ll restrict myself to only Hillary’s latest remarks on her server.


    Here’s the money shot up front: Hillary said “You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world,” Clinton said. “I didn’t really stop and think what kind of email system will there be?”

    — “I was not thinking a lot when I got in.” How’s that for a president’s explanation for, well, anything? Generally speaking, you want yer president to be thinkin’ all the time.


    — Hillary, as Secretary of State, just did not want to pause from resolving all the world’s problems to consider what email system to use. So, instead of having Huma get her a password via one phone call (maybe there already was one on a yellow sticky under the keyboard) to use the existing State Department system already installed in her office and maintained by an existing staff, it seemed somehow better to create and use a fully independent system that she set up and paid for separately. Is such prioritizing, followed by such justifying, presidential?

    Dissenting opinion: Great leaders sweat the details. Image this conversation with Hillary on Day One: “Look people, we have a lot of work ahead. You, make plans to bomb Libya. You, get me Putin on the hot line. I’ll get personally right on downloading the latest Outlook patches. There’s a new Javascript vulnerability I’m focused on.”


    — “They may disagree, as I now disagree, with the choice that I made. But the facts that I have put forth have remained the same.” Except those “facts” keep changing and growing. Week by week there are new facts to be discussed. That drip drip drip of confidence lost in one’s leader (check the damn polls, people), how presidential is that?


    — Clinton seems to have a pattern of hiring people into public, taxpayer-paid roles (see Bryan Pagliano, her server guy, and Huma, her body man, to begin) while at the same time paying them as her private staff. Conflict of interest much? Public good versus personal employer good? Is that kind of thinking presidential?



    BONUS:
    Basically, the Clinton campaign now has left exactly three “positive” themes to promote:

    Vote for me because I am non-male (better hope Elizabeth Warren stays out of the race);

    Vote for me or you’ll end up with one of those Republicans (better hope Sanders quits and Biden stays out of the race);

    Vote for me because as of today nothing indictable has come up (better hope the FBI works really slowly).




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  • Man Who Ran Clinton’s Personal Email Server Worked for State Department

    August 5, 2015 // 12 Comments

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Iraq

    bryan

    The man who set up and administered Hillary Clinton’s personal email server during her tenure as Secretary of State worked for the State Department. This adds ethical issues to the problems Clinton already faces, as well raising questions about a taxpayer-paid official conducting private business on our dime.

    The FBI has begun looking into the security of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail setup. Also last week, the FBI contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Ken­dall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work e-mails Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state, some of which — according to the Inspectors General from State and the Intelligence Community — contain classified material.

    According to the Washington Post, those briefed on the server state the hardware was purchased for use by Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and installed at the Chappaqua home. That means any malware acquired under the conditions of the campaign migrated with the server.

    Bryan Pagliano

    More significantly, along with the new server came a technical specialist, Bryan Pagliano, pictured, who had worked as Clinton’s campaign’s IT director. According to federal campaign finance records, Pagliano was paid by Clinton’s Senate leadership PAC through April 2009. The next month, he went to work for the State Department as an IT specialist.

    The people briefed on the server indicated that Pagliano continued to act as the lead specialist responsible for Clinton’s personal server even while he was employed by the Department of State. The e-mail system was not always reliable, these people said, with Pagliano summoned at various times to fix problems. Notably, the system crashed for days after New York was hit by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, while Hillary Clinton was still secretary of state. It is unclear what email system the secretary used to conduct the nation’s diplomatic business with during that period.

    Responsibility for Clinton’s email system was moved to a private company, Platte River Networks in Denver, only in 2013, after Clinton left the State Department. That company either administered Clinton’s server in New York remotely, or operated a server for her in its own data warehouse. Either would have opened the hardware and its contents to a larger group.

    Pagliano at State

    Bryan Pagliano’s job at the State Department is confirmed on his LinkedIn page.

    He lists his political-appointee position as “Serve as strategic advisor and special projects manager to the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) / Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) overseeing the operations of the Information Resource Management (IRM) bureau.” Working at such a high level inside State’s IT structure assures that State’s most senior information officers knew about Clinton’s email setup, and apparently did not or were not able to stop it.


    Pagliano’s Facebook page also shows his closeness to the Clintons (the third person is identified on Facebook as Carrie Pagliano):

    bryan at party

    bryan at party two

    We note that at the same of this writing, Pagliano’s Facebook page employs no security, meaning anyone may access all of its content. Odd move for a guy in charge of the Secretary of State’s email.

    BONUS: The State Department’s Chief Information Officer, who should have stopped the Clinton email server? Well, well, she retired from State a few months before Hillary left, into a nice job at the IMF. It pays to be a winner!




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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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