Patrick Kennedy, the State Department official who tried to get the FBI to change email classifications in exchange for helping the FBI meet its staffing needs in Bagdhad, is what they used to call a “fixer.” A fixer is not quite the same thing as a henchman. Cheryl Mills played that role at the Clinton State Department.
Kennedy has been a fixer in both Democratic and Republican administrations. But until Hilary Clinton came to Foggy Bottom, there’s no evidence that Kennedy needed to fix things corruptly.
The Clintons corrupt everything they touch, so it’s not surprising that as Hillary’s State Department fixer, Kennedy went to corrupt lengths. In the case of the FBI negotiations, the Bureau either needed extra personnel in Baghdad or it didn’t. If it didn’t, Kennedy should not have offered to help the FBI. If it did, he should have helped the FBI unconditionally. [Note: Though Kennedy disputes tying FBI manpower to classification of documents, the chief of the FBI’s records management division says the deal was presented to him, via his colleague who spoke to Kennedy, as a “quid pro quo”].
Baghdad is not some way station; it is at the center of American foreign policy and national security concerns. For Kennedy to condition his assistance in obtaining extra U.S. personnel in that hot-spot on a favor for a presidential candidate is deplorable. And, as argued below, it’s clear that he did this in concert with Hillary Clinton.
The FBI negotiation is just one example of Kennedy trying to fix things for Clinton. Steve Hayes reminds us of another.
It was Kennedy who helped Cheryl Mills select Clinton-friendly members and staff for the State Department’s Administrative Review Board (ARB). Clinton would later use the findings of the ARB as the key component of her defense on Benghazi. However, as Hayes says, the in-house State Department investigation of those attacks was hardly independent:
The chairmen acknowledged under congressional questioning that they had advised Clinton and her team about potentially problematic witnesses before congressional hearings, provided an advanced copy of their final report to several top Clinton staffers, allowed [Cheryl] Mills to edit the report, and even briefed Clinton for two hours on their findings before they were made public.
In this instance, Kennedy wasn’t just fixing things for Hillary, he was fixing them for himself. Kennedy was at fault for the poor security at Benghazi. Gregory Hicks, the State Department’s charge d’affaires in Libya, testified before Congress that “given the decision-making that Under Secretary Pat Kennedy was making with respect to Embassy Tripoli and Consulate Benghazi operations, he has to bear some responsibility” for the Benghazi terror attack.
As Clinton’s fixer, it was only natural that Kennedy assist the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Examiner reports that Kennedy was involved in pushing plans for a new $177.9 million embassy in Norway in 2011 over the apparent objections of diplomatic officials in Oslo. Norway’s government has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, donor records show.
“Yes” to $177.9 million for an diplomatic officials didn’t want; “no” (absent help for the Clinton campaign) to two agents in Baghdad the FBI wanted badly. And “no” to beefed up security in Benghazi.
Kennedy also helped fix it so that Brian Pagliano, the man in charge of Hillary’s home-brew email server, got a job at the State Department. A State Department official told the FBI:
Around the time of Clinton’s onboard transition, Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary of State for Management, suggested [redacted] interview Brian Pagliano, who served on Clinton’s. . .presidential campaign. [Redacted] and [Redacted] interviewed Pagliano, who had an MBA form the University of Maryland. After interviewing Pagliano [Redacted] agreed he would be a good fit for [Redacted] team. Pagliano was subsequently hired on to DoS in a Schedule C position, and was tasked with assisting mainly with cost recovery planning and researching DoS technical enhancement opportunities.
Kennedy claims he had no knowledge that Clinton was using a private email server. However, he exchanged dozens of emails with Secretary Clinton’s private email address. In fact, he emailed Clinton at two private addresses: HDR22@clintonemail.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kennedy’s official job at the State Department isn’t fixer, it is Undersecretary of State for Management. As such, he oversees the department’s compliance with federal records laws. Clinton’s use of a private email server undermined the department’s ability to comply with federal records laws. Kennedy knew from his own correspondence with Clinton that she was using private email for State Department business.
All of this is clear. The remaining question is whether Kennedy sought to have the FBI help Clinton’s position in the email scandal on his own or, instead, at the behest of Clinton.
It seems unlikely that Kennedy would do this something this risky — the FBI could have gone public immediately with Kennedy’s quid pro quo offer — without sign off from the party he was serving. However, we need not speculate. The timing of events demonstrates Clinton’s involvement in Kennedy’s efforts.
As John pointed out, quoting FBI memos, prior to the end of the conversation between Kennedy and the key FBI man on the classification issue, “KENNEDY asked whether the FBI or STATE would conduct the public statements on the matter.” The FBI man “advised KENNEDY that the FBI would not comment publicly on the matter.”
Safe in the knowledge (dutifully provided by Kennedy) that the FBI would not be commenting, Hillary Clinton promptly met the press, a rare event, “to deny having sent classified emails on her private email server.”
Thus, when Kennedy tried to influence the FBI, via a quid pro quo, to help the Clinton campaign, he was no rogue fixer. He was a fixer working closely with Hillary Clinton, as he had in the past.
As President, Bill Clinton needed not just an ordinary fixer but a “Secretary of Sh*t” (John Podesta filled that job for a time). As President, Hillary Clinton will need at least one. Patrick Kennedy is perfect for the role.