The secret life of Bryan Pagliano

Bryan Pagliano is the former State Department staffer who just advised congressional committees seeking his testimony of his intention to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The Washington Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig enlist the assistance of three of their colleagues to report on Madam Hillary’s private arrangement with Pagliano. The Post reports that Madam Hillary personally paid Pagliano for his services maintaining the private e-mail server she used for her official correspondence as Secretary of State. The Post reporters confirmed the story directly with an unnamed Clinton campaign official.

The Post adds this intriguing detail: “Pagliano did not list the outside income in the required personal financial disclosures he filed each year.” Pagliano’s attorney declined to comment to the Post.

What is one to make of this? The arrangement rather obviously illustrates the rationale for the unprecedented setup in the first place. As the Post reporters put it: “The unusual arrangement helped Clinton retain personal control over the system that she used for her public and private duties and that has emerged as an issue for her campaign.”

That of course is not the rationale advanced by the mysterious campaign official to whom the Post turns. According to the campaign official, the arrangement “ensured that taxpayer dollars were not spent on a private server that was shared by Clinton, her husband and their daughter as well as aides to the former president.” The arrangement is thus held out as an application of Clintonian ethics for the public good.

Who is the mysterious unnamed Clinton campaign official? The Post reports: “The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. A campaign spokesman declined to provide a statement.”

Anonymity has its uses, which the Post kindly respects even though the reporters struggle to articulate them in this case. Let’s put it this way. No one likes to be a laughingstock.