Commentary

Judicial Watch’s Clinton Records Lawsuits Uncover More Hidden Documents

By Tom Fitton | January 19, 2016 | 3:20pm EST
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (AP File Photo/Seth Wenig)

As if the hidden Clinton email cache wasn’t enough, apparently, the Obama State Department recently found “thousands” of new records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.  According to information provided to Judicial Watch by various Justice Department attorneys, the new documents appear to be “working” records in electronic format located on both “shared” and “individual” drives accessible to or used by persons identified as being relevant to Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits on the Benghazi scandal and controversies from Clinton’s term at State.  The State Department confirmed the new find in a court filing earlier this month as part of a FOIA lawsuit concerning records about Clinton aide Huma Abedin:

“After State filed its motion for summary judgment in this case [on November 11, 2015], State located additional sources of documents that originated within the Office of the Secretary that are reasonably likely to contain records responsive to Plaintiff’s request.  State has informed Plaintiff that it intends to search these locations, produce non-exempt portions of any responsive records, and file a supplemental declaration in support of its motion for summary judgment (which is presently stayed).”

This is how the Washington Free Beacon reported on JW’s find:

“The watchdog group Judicial Watch has been suing the State Department for years to turn over public records related to Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation, the employment arrangements of Clinton’s top aides, and her response to the Benghazi attack.

“According to the State Department, the newly found records are likely to include information relevant to Judicial Watch’s requests. Officials said they would need until at least Feb. 1 to review the documents.”

In another modified limited hangout, the State Department admitted in another JW court case that the new records include the files of two of Clinton’s top aides:

“The newly identified files that need to be searched in this case consist of office files that were available to employees within the Office of the Secretary during former Secretary Clinton’s tenure as well as individual files belonging to Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.”

The notorious Mills was Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at State and Sullivan was her top policy advisor.  Both now work on her presidential campaign.  As best as I can tell, the Obama State Department is still withholding key facts.  We still don’t know where exactly these newly identified records are located; why they were not identified and searched previously; and how and when they were just identified.

This is the statement we issued to the press about this new Clinton records scandal:

This latest find of Clinton records, at this late date, is astonishing.  The State Department waited to the last possible moment, as it did with the Clinton emails, to tell Judicial Watch and the federal courts about thousands of records that haven’t been searched, as the law requires.  Who knew what – and when did they know it – about these new Clinton documents?

These newly recovered Clinton records are a potential game changer – and will be of interest to the courts, Congress, and the FBI’s criminal investigation.  It sure looks like more of the same in terms of Obama administration officials’ obstructing our FOIA requests, obstructing the courts, obstructing Congress, and obstructing justice.

Judicial Watch exposed this new cover up on the heels of a finding by State Department’s Inspector General that Hillary Clinton and the Obama State Department thwarted specific Judicial Watch FOIA requests by issuing “inaccurate” and “incomplete” responses.

Despite this new obstruction, there was some success last week over our legal fight for all the emails of Huma Abedin, another Clinton State adviser.  We forced the State Department to agree to review and release under FOIA at least 29,000 Abedin emails over the next year.  As Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported:

“At a court hearing in September, a Justice Department attorney said State had no plans to process for release all of the emails submitted by Abedin and other top aides such as Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan.

“However, a legal filing Monday in a lawsuit brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch indicated State has acceded to a request to process all the emails Abedin turned over, except for news articles and summaries.

“‘The parties have agreed that State will produce to Judicial Watch responsive, nonexempt records from within the recently received documents, excluding news clippings/briefings contained therein,’ said the court filing (posted here).

“The schedule the two sides agreed to has the disclosure of the records overlapping significantly with Clinton’s presidential campaign and will have the State Department ramping up release of Abedin’s private emails just as the agency winds down its disclosure of Clinton’s messages.”

So now a court will supervise the release of records the Obama gang had previously opposed.  Though we all would have liked to have the records released years ago, as opposed to within a year.

Looking back, it’s remarkable that JW’s numerous lawsuits continue to make waves on the Clinton records issue.  Mrs. Clinton is probably worrying about 150 FBI agents, investigating her potential crimes on her records scandal and her possible abuse of office to help out those funding the Clinton Foundation and her own bank accounts.  But as JW’s work first led to the disclosure of both these scandals, you can see how JW is the key driver of the effort to hold her accountable.

Tom Fitton is the President of Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption. Founded in 1994, Judicial Watch seeks to ensure government and judicial officials act ethically and do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American public.

MRC Store