Ex-State Department IT Staffer Pleads the Fifth on Clinton Email Questions

Hillary Clinton
• October 24, 2016 3:34 pm


A former IT staffer at the State Department who oversaw technology for senior officials invoked his Fifth Amendment right in a sworn deposition on Monday when asked about Hillary Clinton's private email server.

John Bentel had previously received an immunity deal of some kind during the FBI investigation into Clinton's email practices, the Hill reported. Bentel also contradicted Clinton's long-held claim that her use of a private server was approved and known to State Department employees.

According to an Inspector General audit, while was Clinton secretary of state she assured concerned staff members that her use of the server had been approved and that they should not discuss it further. But in interviews with the FBI during its investigation, Bentel denied that any such conversation took place.

In his testimony on the server before the House Benghazi Committee, he claimed not to know that Clinton's email account was housed on a private server until media reports exposed it in 2015.

Bentel answered over 90 questions that were submitted him to by Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group that has been leading the charge for more information from Clinton and her associates regarding her email server. Bentel was ordered by a federal judge to answer the questions similarly to how Clinton had been.

Judicial Watch says that the topics of the questions they submitted to Bentel included whether Clinton was paying Bentel's legal fees or had offered him other compensation.

"On advice from my legal counsel, I decline to answer the question and I invoke my Fifth Amendment rights," Bentel answered each question.

Bentel invoking the Fifth Amendment "highlights the disturbing implication that criminal acts took place related to the Clinton email and our Freedom of Information Act requests," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Monday.