And not much else, as it turns out. Seven weeks ago, the Department of Justice reversed itself on the FOIA action brought by Judicial Watch about the infamous meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the airport tarmac in Phoenix. The DoJ had originally told the court that it had no records responsive to JW’s demand for files about the meeting, which took place just as the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server was concluding. In mid-October, the DoJ told the court that it had located 30 pages as part of a search in another FOIA case and pledged to release them soon.
Judicial Watch finally got the documents, releasing them yesterday, but don’t get your hopes up. This release won’t exactly thrill those looking for a smoking gun:
Judicial Watch today released 29 pages of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton. The documents show that FBI officials were more concerned about leaks than the actual meeting itself. The new documents also show that then-FBI Director Comey seemed to learn of the meeting from news reports. …
The new FBI documents show FBI officials were concerned about a leak that Bill Clinton delayed his aircraft taking off in order to “maneuver” a meeting with the attorney general. The resulting story in the Observer is seemingly confirmed and causes a flurry of emails about the source of the article. FBI official(s) write “we need to find that guy” and that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted “in an attempt to stem any further damage.” Another FBI official, working on AG Lynch’s security detail, suggests instituting non-disclosure agreements. The names of the emails authors are redacted. There are no documents showing concern about the meeting itself.
Why the focus on the leaker? In reading through the memos, the concern from multiple points along the chain was that the media’s source for the story had inadvertently revealed security methods, potentially making their protectees vulnerable. That’s a legitimate issue, although it’s not clear from these e-mails just how serious that breach was. The consensus was that it was a Phoenix traffic officer who leaked the story; one FBI official wrote, “We need to find that guy and bring him or her before a supervisor and opr.” I’m not sure what “opr” means, but I don’t think it’s pleasant.
Other than discussion about the possible source of the leak, the rest of the 30 pages mostly consists of reprints of various media reports … including this one:
Yes, that’s our good friend and then-colleague Larry O’Connor, and that’s his Hot Air post from the morning after the local ABC affiliate broke the news of the tarmac meeting. That made it up at least as high as the assistant director of the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs, Michael Kortan, and then-chief of the Media and Investigative Publicity Section in OPA, Richard Quinn. Hope you fellas enjoyed the article!
Otherwise, this release tells us nothing of interest about the tarmac meeting — not even how it magically came about, which Washington Post reporter Matt Zapotosky asked in an e-mail to the FBI.
That’s not a bad question. And it’s still unanswered — as are so many other questions about this tarmac meeting.