So much for the talking point offered by Team Hillary about private e-mail servers being allowed under law. A federal judge overseeing a FOIA lawsuit rebuked the State Department in court, demanding that they ask the FBI whether they have restored Hillary Clinton’s e-mail database yet and if any backups exist. Judge Emmet Sullivan had sharp words for the former Secretary of State, too:
A federal judge on Thursday said he would push the Federal Bureau of Investigation to see if it can recover any deleted government records that may exist on Hillary Clinton’s private server.
If the FBI accedes to the judge’s wishes, it would expand the scope of its review from questioning the security of the Clinton system to probing whether all relevant government records were provided by Mrs. Clinton and her lawyers.
At a court hearing over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit surrounding the communications of Mrs. Clinton and one of her top aides, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan urged government lawyers to begin talks with the FBI about how to review any new data investigators might find. …
Referring to Mrs. Clinton, the judge said, “We wouldn’t be here today if the employee had followed government policy.”
One has to wonder whether that will fit in with the FBI’s investigation of the server. Right now, Hillary’s making a number of public statements that could be called into serious question if and when the FBI gets a restored version of the wiped server, whether from the original hardware or from a data backup at Platte River Services or elsewhere. It might suit their purposes to let Hillary and her close aides keep talking in public for a while longer, if they suspect that any might be charged in the scandal.
However, a court order is a court order, and the FBI can’t just blow off Judge Sullivan. This action pertains to a declaration that Hillary filed under oath in the FOIA lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, which really said … not much, depending on how one parses it:
I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct:
- While I do not know what information may be “responsive” for purposes of this law suit, I have directed that all my e-mails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records to be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.
- As a result of my directive, approximately 55,000 pages of these emails were produced to the Department on December 5, 2014.
- Cheryl Mills did not have an account on clintonemail.com. Huma Abedin did have such an account which was used at times for government business.
Sullivan wanted a straightforward declaration of compliance, but instead got a sworn tautology: I ordered my work e-mails to be turned over, and everything that was turned over were my work e-mails, plus I don’t know what “responsive” means in this FOIA lawsuit. Presumably Hillary can declare later that she believed all her work e-mails had been handed to State when the FBI inevitably finds more within the server files, but we already know that at least 15 of the Sid Blumenthal e-mails got trashed. We know that because they were among the e-mails that Blumenthal supplied the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Don’t expect this to be a flat-out perjury trap for Hillary, in other words. She calculated that response to keep her out of that danger, but that won’t keep Sullivan from making sure everyone understands why the State Department has misled courts on FOIA demands for more than four years. State wouldn’t be in this position if it hadn’t been for Hillary Clinton, but it’s not as if they didn’t know something was amiss. They had an opportunity in 2013 to get Hillary’s e-mails, but they turned a blind eye to the obvious, McClatchy reports:
Despite a hack two years ago that publicly exposed Hillary Clinton’s emails, the State Department took no action to shore up the security of the former secretary of state’s private computer server.
A State Department official said the department could not do anything in response to the March 2013 hack of longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal because it occurred on a non-governmental computer system. The hacked emails, which included Blumenthal’sfrequent correspondence with Clinton while she was in office in 2012, were sent by the Romanian hacker to media organizations, which later posted them online.
The disclosure renews questions of when State Department officials first learned that Clinton was doing department business on a private server and what steps they took to safeguard her sensitive diplomatic communications, some of which have been deemed classified. …
“The State Department should have done something,” said Brian Reid, a cybersecurity expert with the company Internet Systems Consortium. “If your house is burgled, you’re going to put alarms on the windows. It’s just basic common sense.”
The department’s inspector general’s office, which on its own initiative could have investigated or assessed the breach at the time, declined to comment this week and referred questions to the State Department.
So they knew that Hillary Clinton had a private e-mail server in 2013, and knew it had been hacked — and yet kept testifying in federal courts in FOIA actions that they had no Hillary Clinton e-mails to provide. No wonder Sullivan’s taking them to the woodshed now, and paddling Hillary along the way.