Lock them up?
Judicial Watch has scored an impressive achievement by digging into the records of the entire Clinton e-mail scandal, showing that not only was the Obama White House aware of what was going on, but Clinton’s State Department may have lied in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. While you probably thought we’d heard the last of this tale, it turns out that this debacle dates back to 2012. At that time, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had submitted a FOIA request to the State Department asking for information about how many email accounts the Secretary of State had been using. They were told no such records existed and the White House continued to maintain that position for some time to come. But now, new documents show that the White House was indeed aware of the situation and were tracking CREW’s FOIA requests, presumably to keep a handle on the situation. (Judicial Watch)
Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained 44 pages of records from the State Department through court-ordered discovery revealing that the Obama White House was tracking a December 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records concerning then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system. Months after the Obama White House involvement, the State Department responded to the requestor, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), falsely stating that no such records existed.
Judicial Watch’s discovery is centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing Judicial Watch’s FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.
One of the smoking guns here comes in the form of a December 2012 email sent by Sheryl L. Walter, the director of the State Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS). The subject line is something of a dead giveaway. “Need to track down a FOIA request from CREW.” The body of the email begins with two simple words… “WH called.” She then asks for any details about the FOIA request so she can “call the WH back,” noting that they would like a “quick turnaround.”
From there, the plot thickens quickly. The State Department was handling the FOIA request and keeping the White House in the loop. But they appeared to be limiting the scope of their search. Here’s what CREW had originally requested: “[R]ecords sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.”
In January, Ms. Walter writes again, saying they’ve been looking into the number of email accounts associated with Secretary Clinton, but since CREW “isn’t specifying “personal” email accounts so we are interpreting as official accounts only.” It’s looking fairly obvious at this point that they know about the private server but are only collecting the official State Department email accounts.
And what did they do with all of this information when the task was finally accomplished? Nothing. The response sent back to CREW simply read, “no records responsive to your request were located.”
That clearly appears to be a lie. And people generally don’t tend to lie (particularly in official government correspondence) without a powerful motivation to do so. The question now is where do we go from here? This looks like fairly damning evidence, but who, if anyone, can do anything with it?