State Dept. says it can’t find emails of former Clinton IT staffer

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bryan Pagliano, aide to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. © Reuters
The State Department says it cannot find emails to or from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior information technology staffer, Bryan Pagliano, dating from her tenure.

Pagliano, who set up and maintained Clinton’s private server, is a key witness in the FBI inquiry into Clinton’s handling of sensitive material on that server.

He was granted immunity by the Justice Department in exchange for his cooperation.

State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said in a press briefing Monday that “the Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure.”

“To be clear, the Department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material. The Department has located a pst from Mr. Pagliano’s recent work at the Department as a contractor, but the files are from after Secretary Clinton left the Department," Trudeau added.

The statement was issued in response to a claim made in court by the Republican National Committee (RNC)  that the State Department has told them there are no documents relating to their FOIA requests on this issue.

The RNC filed a lawsuit in March to access all of Pagliano’s emails, as well as Clinton’s text and Blackberry Messenger communications.

“At no point did the State Department convey to the RNC that we did not intend to produce responsive emails within our possession, consistent with our obligations under the law,” Trudeau said Monday.

“As this matter is in ongoing litigation, as is standard, the department cannot comment further on this matter."

Trudeau confirmed the State Department are continuing their search for Pagliano’s email archive.

The State Department made the same revelation to the Senate Judiciary Committee in December, suggesting one reason for the absence of emails could be that Pagliano’s computer was taken by the FBI during its investigation into the Clinton email scandal.

“It’s hard to believe that an IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s reckless email server never sent or received a single work-related email in the four years he worked at the State Department," the RNC's Deputy Communications Director, Raj Shah, said in a statement to ABC News.

"Such records might shed light on his role in setting up Clinton’s server, and why he was granted immunity by the FBI. But it seems that his emails were either destroyed or never turned over, adding yet another layer to the secrecy surrounding his role.”

The State Department has until May 16 to declare when it would hand over relevant documents to the RNC or to file a ‘dispositive motion’ asking the courts to dismiss part or all of the claims without further proceedings.