A former State Department staffer who pleaded the Fifth Amendment before Congress last September over Hillary Clinton’s possibly illegal email arrangement has been granted immunity, a senior law enforcement official told the the Washington Post.
Bryan Pagliano is now reportedly cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation into 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.
According to WaPo’s sources, the FBI is expected to wrap up its investigation in the coming months — but not before they interview Clinton and her 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.”
It’s unclear whether Clinton and her aides would agree to an interview with the FBI because of the potential legal risks. However, if Clinton refused to cooperate with FBI investigators, the issue could become a political flashpoint in the campaign.
Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said in a statement: “As we have said since last summer, Secretary Clinton has been cooperating with the Department of Justice’s security inquiry, including offering in August to meet with them to assist their efforts if needed.”
Fallon also said the campaign is “pleased” that Pagliano is now cooperating with prosecutors.
While the Clinton campaign has been characterizing the probe as a “security review,” the FBI investigation has become criminal in nature. As one official told WaPo, “There was wrongdoing.”
Of the 30,068 Clinton emails released by the State Department, 22 have now been classified as “top secret,” 65 as “secret” and 2,028 at the lower level of “confidential.”
Clinton has argued that none of the material was marked classified at the time it was sent, but as a high-ranking government official, she was supposed to know how to properly handle classified material.
Since none were marked classified at the time, the question is whether classified information — details of secret programs or sources — nevertheless slipped into the emails. Many of the “secret” and “top secret” emails were written or forwarded by Mrs. Clinton’s senior aides.
In their investigation, F.B.I. agents have sought to compare electronic timestamps on classified sources to figure out whether the aides reviewed the sources and then retyped the information into emails that were sent or forwarded to Mrs. Clinton’s private server. That has proved challenging, and one official said investigators have not concluded that such retyping occurred.
The email probe is being conducted by FBI counterintelligence agents under the supervision of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. FBI Director James B. Comey said Tuesday that he was “very close” to the investigation.
FBI and Justice Department spokesmen would not comment on the investigation. Pagliano’s lawyer also declined to comment.