Saturday, August 12, 2017

Federal Court Orders State Department to Conduct a Search of Benghazi Emails of Hillary Clinton’s Closest Advisors

Judicial Watch announced that on August 8, 2017, D.C. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered the State Department “to search the e-mail accounts of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jacob Sullivan,” former aides of Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. The State Department is ordered to search in those accounts “for records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] March 4, 2015, FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request.” (A separate Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit first broke open the Clinton email scandal.)
Judge Mehta described Judicial Watch’s Clinton Benghazi FOIA lawsuit as “a far cry from a typical FOIA case. Secretary Clinton used a private e-mail server, located in her home, to transmit and receive work-related communications during her tenure as Secretary of State.” Further:
[I]f an e-mail did not involve any user, the message would have passed through only the Secretary’s private server and, therefore, would be beyond the immediate reach of State. Because of this circumstance, unlike the ordinary case, State could not look solely to its own records systems to adequately respond to [Judicial Watch’s] demand.
[The State Department] has not, however, searched the one records system over which it has always had control and that is almost certain to contain some responsive records: the e-mail server. If Secretary Clinton sent an e-mail about Benghazi to Abedin, Mills, or Sullivan at his or her e-mail address, or if one of them sent an e-mail to Secretary Clinton using his or her account, then State’s server presumably would have captured and stored such an e-mail. Therefore, State has an obligation to search its own server for responsive records. 

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