(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department requesting "all records regarding the security clearance status of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and four of her top aides during her tenure at the State Department."
Judicial Watch had to file the lawsuit because the State Department did not respond to a standard FOIA request made on Aug. 21.
“The State Department needs to provide the full truth on the security clearances of Hillary Clinton and her top aides and why the agency allowed Mrs. Clinton to keep her clearance despite her mishandling of classified information and related false statements,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
Hillary Clinton left her position as U.S. Secretary of State on February 1, 2013, but retained some level of security clearance until August 30, 2018. She apparently held a security clearance with the federal government for five-and-a-half years, when she was a civilian and while she was being investigated for sending classified materials through her own private email server.
After Judicial Watch filed its initial FOIA request on Aug. 21, Hillary Clinton contacted the State Department to withdraw her request for security clearance, on Aug. 30. The State Department informed the Senate Judiciary Committee of this situation in a Sept. 21 letter to Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
The Sept. 21 letter "added that, on September 20, security clearances were 'administratively withdrawn' for Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and four other redacted names who 'had been granted access to classified information through a request made by Secretary Clinton designating them as researchers,'" reported Judicial Watch. "The letter also suggests that Mrs. Clinton and her aides may have been cited for 'valid security incidents.'"
The letter states, "All identified and valid security incidents contained in those [State Department] documents have been forwarded to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Office of Personnel Security and Suitability (DS/PSS), to be placed in the official security file of individuals identified in that review as having valid security incidents. All valid security incidents are reviewed by DS [Diplomatic Security] and taken into account every time an individual's eligibility for access to classified information is considered."
Explaining this situation in an Oct. 12 press release, the Senate Judiciary Committee said that Clinton's security clearance had been withdrawn and "[c]learances for five other individuals whom Clinton designated as researchers have also been withdrawn, including close aide Cheryl Mills, according to the State Department’s update of its ongoing review of the mishandling of classified information related to the use of Clinton’s non-government email server."
"Documents containing classified material have been sent to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and all valid security incidents have been added to the security file for some individuals," said the Committee. "Department authorities are continuing to review tens of thousands of documents for classified content."
In other words, the handling of at least some of those documents by Clinton and/or her "researchers" are viewed by the State Department as "valid security incidents," i.e., problematic, and thousands of other documents they may have handled are still being reviewed.
In its lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Oct. 31, Judicial Watch is seeking, "Any and all records concerning, regarding, or relating to the security clearance status of Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jacob Sullivan and Phillipe Reines."
Abedin, Mills, Sullivan, and Reines apaprently are the people designated as "researchers" by Hillary Clinton. Sullivan was the State Department Director of Policy Planning under Clinton and a senior adviser to her 2016 presidential campaign.
Phillipe Reines is a political consultant who was Clinton's senior adviser at the State Department; he was later made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications. Reines also served aided Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign.
Huma Abedin was Clinton's long-time top adviser at State and during the 2016 campaign. Cheryl Mills is a lawyer who worked in President Bill Clinton's White House. She also served as Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Counselor of the U.S. Department of State.