The State Department has released a previously hidden email that shows that top State Department officials used and were aware of Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured email account.
On December 24, 2010, Daniel Baer, an Obama State Department deputy assistant secretary of state, writes to Michael Posner, a then-assistant secretary of state about Clinton’s private email address:
Baer: “Be careful, you just gave the secretary’s personal email address to a bunch of folks …”
Posner answers: “Should I say don’t forward? Did not notice”
Baer responds: “Yeah-I just know that she guards it pretty closely”
Mr. Posner had forwarded Clinton’s email address, which was contained in an email sent to State Department senior leadership, about WikiLeaks.
It appears the State Department produced this email in 2016 in redacted form, blacking out Clinton’s personal email address and the discussion about Clinton’s wanting to keep her email address closely guarded.
Judicial Watch sought the email after a former top Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) State Department official testified to Judicial Watch about reviewing it between late 2013 and early 2014.
The testimony and the email production comes in discovery granted to Judicial Watch on the Clinton email issue in a FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Clinton also faces potential questioning under oath in this lawsuit.
Despite a recent court order requiring the production of the email, the DOJ and State Departments only produced it 10 days ago after Judicial Watch threatened to seek a court order to compel its production.
“Judicial Watch just caught the State Department and DOJ red-handed in another email cover-up – they all knew about the Clinton email account but covered up the smoking-gun email showing this guilty knowledge for years,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
The scope of court-ordered discovery that produces this email find includes: whether Secretary Clinton used private email in an effort to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); whether the State Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 and 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.
During a recent hearing, Judge Royce Lamberth specifically raised concerns about a Clinton email cache, firstname.lastname@example.org, discussed in a letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and wants Judicial Watch to “shake this tree” on this issue.
Judge Lamberth also criticized the State Department’s handling and production of Clinton’s emails in this case stating, “There is no FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] exemption for political expedience, nor is there one for bureaucratic incompetence.”
The court rejected DOJ and State efforts to derail further Judicial Watch discovery. Judge Lamberth called their arguments “preposterous” and cited a prior Judicial Watch FOIA case in which he ordered U.S. Marshals to seize records from a Clinton administration official.
Judge Lamberth detailed how the State Department “spent three months from November 2014 trying to make this case disappear,” and that after discovering the State Department’s actions and omissions, “Now we know more, but we have even more questions than answers. So I won’t hold it against Judicial Watch for expanding their initial discovery request now.”
Judge Lamberth stated his goal was to restore the public’s faith in their government, which may have been damaged because of the Clinton email investigation.
The court granted Judicial Watch seven additional depositions, three interrogatories and four document requests related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Clinton and her former top aide and current lawyer Cheryl Mills were given 30 days to oppose being deposed by Judicial Watch.
On December 6, 2018, Judge Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers and Clinton aides to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
This Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015. Judicial Watch’s discovery over the last several months found many more details about the scope of the Clinton email scandal and cover-up:
- John Hackett, former Director of Information Programs and Services (IPS) testified under oath that he had raised concerns that former Secretary Clinton’s staff may have “culled out 30,000” of the secretary’s “personal” emails without following strict National Archives standards. He also revealed that he believed there was interference with the formal FOIA review process related to the classification of Clinton’s Benghazi-related emails.
- Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s White House liaison at the State Department, and later Clinton’s personal lawyer, admitted under oath that she was granted immunity by the Department of Justice in June 2016.
- Justin Cooper, former aide to President Bill Clinton and Clinton Foundation employee who registered the domain name of the unsecure clintonemail.com server that Clinton used while serving as Secretary of State, testified he worked with Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, to create the non-government email system.
- In the interrogatory responses of E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, he stated that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President.
- Jacob “Jake” Sullivan, Clinton’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff when she was secretary of state, testified that both he and Clinton used her unsecure non-government email system to conduct official State Department business.
- Eric Boswell, former assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, testified that Clinton was warned twice against using unsecure BlackBerry’s and personal emails to transmit classified material.