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Communications Crime Democrats Government The Courts United States IT Politics

Justice Dept. Grants Immunity To Staffer Who Set Up Clinton Email Server (washingtonpost.com) 592

schwit1 writes with this news from the Washington Post: The Justice Department has granted immunity to the former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email server, a sign the FBI investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing is progressing. A senior U.S. law enforcement 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. As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents will likely want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said. The inquiry comes against a sensitive political backdrop in which Clinton is the favorite to secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
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Justice Dept. Grants Immunity To Staffer Who Set Up Clinton Email Server

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    • by twotacocombo ( 1529393 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:30PM (#51631093)
      "Him" being Pagliano? If he's being granted immunity, it means he's probably going to talk. If she still gets in, she'll have him disappeared.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2016 @05:00PM (#51632017)

        The Clinton have far too many suicides of partners in their history. If the FBI doesn't protect the witness, that one will surely die as well.

    • Will she pardon here self and him once she gets in

      Well, hopefully, if they find enough evidence, they'll indict her BEFORE she wins any election.

      • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:25PM (#51631635) Homepage Journal

        Think this through with me, please, think.

        Is there anything more dangerous than to indict a popular (within their own political movement) and likely nominee for the office President of the United States?

        Well, yes, electing an unindicted felon, one accused of federal crimes that would disqualify them for civil service.

        But, if indicted and even convicted, could they be elected anyways? This is an interesting potential constitutional issue.

        - Do elections overrule the law, and so require that a President-elect be permitted access to information they have already been found guilty of mishandling in the past?

        - If indicted before nomination, and thence nominated, would any states declare the nominee disqualified? If so, how do they replace the nominee? Wait, which states decide the nominee? Don't most states merely oversee primary elections, and parties hold conventions where those delegates chosen decide the nominee?

        - If indicted after nomination, would a judge be persuaded to void this indictment as being an improper interference in the election?

        I'm proposing that any indictment must occur before nomination, and indeed before the primary process goes far enough to ensure the candidate will be the nominee.

        So it is interesting that today two events are noted in the spew:

        It is claimed that Bryan Pagliano has been granted immunity by the Justice Department to offer testimony regarding the operation of Hillary Clinton's private email server at her home.

        And a former U.S. Attorney, Joseph diGenova, claims he is 'confident' that a grand jury has been convened to investigate the issues regarding the operation of Hillary Clinton;s email servers, the handling of classified material at the State Department during her tenure there, and the possible violation of law.

        If this is true, three salient points come to mind:

        0. The timing is probably crisis driven. This can't be rushed, but should/must be completed before Hillary is the presumptive nominee. That may happen pretty soon.

        1. If true, the empaneling of a grand jury indicates the pressure is irresistible from the various government constituencies to 'do something' about this. If so, I doubt that a grand jury can merely whitewash the affair, for if the public reports are even marginally accurate, she is plainly guilty of several felonies, and the primary question is whether these infractions were intentional. Many groups will probably not care about that, as the results of such errors are the same whether intentional or not- lost lives and lasting harm to our nation and others.

        2. And if this is indeed true, then Justice has either been compelled to move on prosecution, or given permission to do so, by the White House.

        I'm not hopeful that this is true because I wish to see Hillary discredited and abandon her campaign. I'm hopeful because she needs to be held to account for her actions. She had the misfortune to be the first credible and likely woman to be a nominee for President, only to be up against the first credible black nominee. Now she should experience the self-inflicted misfortune of being forced to abandon her aspirations to the office due to criminal indictment and conviction.

  • Its not like the Clintons have not made people disappear when they testify against them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Information that is "Top Secret" is born classified. Removing markings, headers, footers etc. doesn't change the classified nature of it. If you measure what was done with her server (leaving it in her hands to sift through at her leisure, turning over only that which she felt like doing and then wiping the rest) with what happens to ANYONE else when they are even suspected of breaking clearance rules ...

    Good to see that Hillary as President will be more of the same, there are rules for them and rules f
    • And, interestingly, "public" information can deemed classified if an analysis of the information and any related resources deem it so. And, such classification can occur at anytime. Does that mean everyone in possession of that information prior to classification should be held accountable for possessing it? No.

      However, as you noted, removal of classification markings from a document does not make it any less so until the appropriate classification authority lowers or removes the classification.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:10PM (#51631473) Homepage

      Information that is "Top Secret" is born classified. Removing markings, headers, footers etc. doesn't change the classified nature of it. If you measure what was done with her server (leaving it in her hands to sift through at her leisure, turning over only that which she felt like doing and then wiping the rest) with what happens to ANYONE else when they are even suspected of breaking clearance rules ...

      Only in the land of fairies and unicorns. Information is born and everyone with a classification is supposed to submit it to a original certification authority that'll determine what, if any, classification status it'll get. Primarily it's the one who creates this information but secondarily everyone who receives it also has an independent duty to get any information they think is classified reviewed. From what I gather a lot of people sent information to Clinton's server that has been retroactively classified, meaning those who sent it didn't do their job. The accusations are so far as I can tell that Clinton should have recognized some of this information as obviously classified, so she didn't do her job either.

      I'd be much more interested to hear if there's any accusations of mishandling actual, pre-classified information. It's one thing to say that you could have, should have, maybe seen this was classified it's quite another to be reckless about content that's clearly marked secret/top secret. If they can prove that, they might have an actual case against her. If it's only a case of omission as a recipient of information that ought to be classified, that doesn't seem like that big a deal.

      • by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:48PM (#51631899)
        "Some of the classified materials on Clinton’s server originated in intelligence agencies outside the State Department and came into the department on a secure, classified network. They were marked as such. They could only be transferred to Clinton’s unsecured network by hand. Each occurrence was a felony. Since the server has now been recovered, the FBI and intelligence agencies know who sent those messages and who received them at the State Department." http://www.realclearpolitics.c... [realclearpolitics.com]
      • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:54PM (#51631959)

        Information that is "Top Secret" is born classified.

        Only in the land of fairies and unicorns. Information is born and everyone with a classification is supposed to submit it to a original certification authority that'll determine what, if any, classification status it'll get. Primarily it's the one who creates this information but secondarily everyone who receives it also has an independent duty to get any information they think is classified reviewed. From what I gather a lot of people sent information to Clinton's server that has been retroactively classified, meaning those who sent it didn't do their job. The accusations are so far as I can tell that Clinton should have recognized some of this information as obviously classified, so she didn't do her job either.

        I'd be much more interested to hear if there's any accusations of mishandling actual, pre-classified information. It's one thing to say that you could have, should have, maybe seen this was classified it's quite another to be reckless about content that's clearly marked secret/top secret. If they can prove that, they might have an actual case against her. If it's only a case of omission as a recipient of information that ought to be classified, that doesn't seem like that big a deal.

        And the Special Access Program (SAP) information? The emails that everybody involved, including the recipient Clinton, certainly knew was always and permanently classified? Clinton committed a crime in multiple ways in the handling of that info. Here's an example -- simply leaving the received email on her server in any format that could be read by her own IT staff was a crime. Deleting it and knowing that the bytes might still be on the HDD would also be a crime. Ignoring the situation was a crime.

        Of course, somebody went to great lengths to somehow hop the airgap between the SAP network and the public internet. But even as the recipient, Clinton committed a crime in allowing that email to continue to exist on her server.

        Stop trying to paint her as anything other than a willing lawbreaker on this. Lesser analysts of the State Dept or the TLA intelligence agencies would go to jail right away. It's only the Democratic party's M.O. of corruption while they hold the reins of power that keeps Obama's DOJ from arresting her.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:29PM (#51631081)

    They have emails from her telling people to take classification markings off. They have found CIA human intelligence [breitbart.com] on her private server. They have Special Access Program data which everyone with an IQ above 80 outside of the federal government knows is presumed classified. What she did makes Bradley Manning look like a prankster, since she was a cabinet level appointee responsible for overseeing the protection of classified data.

    • Laboring under the delusion that 'little people' laws apply to any of the political elite (and at this level, party affiliation is meaningless).
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:47PM (#51631887) Journal

      They have emails from her telling people to take classification markings off.

      Hold on, Tex, she said in an interview that's simply short-hand for cleaning it up for non-classified release, such as removing the classified parts and rephrasing. She said the office worker she sent it to knew what she really (fully) meant because he had done it many times before.

      http://hotair.com/archives/201... [hotair.com]

      If all my internal emails were interpreted by the public/press verbatim, I'd probably be on trial also.

      Think about your own internal work emails being read and interpreted by bloggers, pundits, and trolls.

      I don't know if her claim is true yet, but until that's determined from the investigation, it should be "innocent until proven guilty".

      Further, note that if she had used the "regular" office server instead of her home server, the classified/problematic emails would probably still end up on a server NOT designed for classified materials. The risk/breach would still exist. (There was a separate transmission system for classified stuff, but it wasn't email as we know it.)

      The regular office server was no more special or vetted than her home server. Pundits keep implying it is.

      I'm not defending her actions, only saying many are jumping to conclusions prematurely. Using a home server is probably not illegal (although the laws are subject to interpretation*), just poor judgement, which she admitted to. Members of the other party made similar errors of judgement.

      * Wealthy people are more likely to afford top lawyers who can successfully argue their side of such vague laws, and in that sense, her "privilege" may indeed just get her out of it. But that's life in an unequal society. OJ would probably lose if he were poor.

      • Hold on, Tex, she said in an interview that's simply short-hand for cleaning it up for non-classified release

        Maybe. Or maybe she's lying about that, the same way she lied in her claim that there was no classified material on her server. She deserves the benefit of the doubt in terms of a fair law enforcement investigation, but news flash -- she really doesn't deserve the benefit of the public's doubt.

  • by Etcetera ( 14711 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:30PM (#51631089) Homepage

    No matter who you are, you're probably not the fish they want to fry.

    Don't incriminate yourself. Then, wait for a deal which allows you to unload on specifically what was asked of you, when, how, and why, and what you said, and what your concerns were.

    You're far more important as a neutral observer than as someone who configured a server.

    • Warnings (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      1. It only works if you have the proof they need in their case against a "bigger fish"

      2. It only works if the political class chooses to not use YOU as a scapegoat (i.e. blame it all on you, jail you, and tell the public that the case is over)

      3. It only works if the prosecutors have a good case against their "bigger fish"... if not and if YOU have broken the law then you may be the only one going down.

      4. None of this "works" in four favor, if you are the little guy without a good lawyer and the prosecutor i

  • Seems legit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:31PM (#51631099)

    The guy who pushed the buttons was clearly just following orders, which was "set up a mail server", a relatively common task. Moreover, her statement of "it was above board when I did it" was correct, in that it was contingent upon those e-mails being turned over upon her exit from the position, so the initial setup wouldn't have had reasons to raise suspicions of wrongdoing at that time.

    I see no reason not to grant immunity in this context.

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      It seems his reason for pleading the 5th was he did not report his income as required by the State Dept.
  • Or it's a sign... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 )
    ... the FBI cannot find anything on Clinton, but has something on the staffer, and is hoping the staffer will give up something on Clinton.

    .
    The FBI doesn't go around granting immunity unless they need information to justify the immunity grant.

  • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:41PM (#51631213)

    As long as it's a fair investigation, go for it. As crimes go, though, setting up a private server (not explicitly forbidden by the rules) and receiving (not sending) some emails that are retroactively classified, seems to be a fairly minor crime.

    Also, given that the email server was unclassified, and Clinton can demonstrate that she understood that and informed her subordinates not to use it to send her classified material, what more could she have done?

    • by ERJ ( 600451 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:52PM (#51631313)
      I've got to disagree a bit with you. I'm fine with her using her own server for personal email. However, any government business, whether classified or not, should be done through government email servers. That's why we have open record laws is so that we have a level of transparency and, to me, she was blatantly trying to skirt those laws by setting up her own server.

      My 2c. Take it for what it's worth.
    • by OhPlz ( 168413 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:59PM (#51631381)

      Ignore the classification issue entirely. The private mail server was a way of dodging accountability by hiding any potential evidence from where investigators would be able to access it. The whole thing was an attack on government transparency and accountability.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also, given that the email server was unclassified, and Clinton can demonstrate that she understood that and informed her subordinates not to use it to send her classified material, what more could she have done?

      Do you not understand the shit storm that happens in the private sector if someone accidentally sends you classified information? If you don't respond to it instantly in the correct way, you're going to jail.

      I've posted about seeing this happen before. Someone accidentally marked some stuff classified and then uploaded it. The fallout for merely mismarking information as classified and storing it on an unclassified network was instantly killing the network, checking which machines had accessed the server af

    • by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:54PM (#51631969)
      She had information that was born classified not retroactively classified. Research before posting.
    • It is a false claim that the information was "retroactively classified". It was classified at the time of sending and receiving. There was information that is always classified highly, information about methods and sources. Even Hillary does not make that claim that it was "retroactively classified" anymore. She says it was not marked at the time, which is a meaningless distinction. Classified information is about what the information is about not the markings. A number of people have been sentenced for inf
      • by jmac_the_man ( 1612215 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @05:58PM (#51632513)

        Leaking the name of Valerie Plame a CIA agent led to a long investigation with Scooter Libby going to prison.

        Worth noting: Scooter Libby was NOT the leaker. The actual leaker, Richard Armitage, confessed almost immediately and was never charged. After Armitage confessed, Libby was caught with an inconsequential lie that the prosecutors ran with. Also worth noting: Libby did NOT go to prison. President Bush commuted his sentence. (Bush removed the jail time but left the fines intact.)

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:47PM (#51631271)

    So, the little fish, who certainly did nothing wrong in setting up a mail server, gets immunity in exchange for all he knows, or can be persuaded to "remember".
    Although I'm far from being a Clinton fan, (either of them), there's something sinister about a justice system that feels it necessary to "grant immunity" (often in exchange for unspecified "co-operation") rather than just being confident enough in itself to say "hey, you've done nothing wrong, but we would like to call you as a witness where your civic duty is to tell the truth".

    • But the fallacy is saying the little fish "certainly did nothing wrong." In a nation of lawbreakers [goodreads.com], by definition there's no way to say that with confidence about anyone. The only realistic way to give you any comfort is to say, "hey, whether or not you did anything wrong, we're not going to come along later and say you did." Whether there should be such a blizzard of broad/vague/obscure laws is another issue, but for better or for worse that's where we are.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @04:37PM (#51631761) Homepage Journal

    Rumors that Hillary will face questioning by investigators in a few weeks.

    This should be a familiar timeline:

    - Rumors that the FBI is interviewing lots of people.
    - Immunity granted to a key person of interest.
    - Grand Jury empaneled
    - Interview the subject of the investigation.
    - Compare the interviews.
    - Give your results to the Grand Jury
    - Indictments.

    Whether a prosecution is forthcoming is an open question of course. And plenty of opportunity to fiddle with the interviews to get the outcome you want.

  • (in the foot, of course)

    If the GOP were to manage to somehow knock Hillary out of the race for president, things actually get much worse - not better - for their cause. As much as they hate Hillary, they are overlooking the fact that Sanders beats every GOP candidate in national polling by even larger margins than does Hillary. Knocking her out would only guarantee their defeat.

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