Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails are once again taking center stage. Thanks to Judicial Watch, a federal judge has ruled that the State Department needs to find the emails Hillary Clinton wrote concerning the Benghazi attack in Libya. The judge stated that the State Department had not done enough to locate the missing messages that Clinton had to have sent during that time period. Specifically, during that assault on the US diplomatic compound that resulted in the deaths of four Americans on Sept. 11th, 2012.
Those emails are surely out there somewhere and Judicial Watch is not giving up on them, nor should they. Very few were recovered through Freedom of Information Act requests that took forever and then produced only 348 Benghazi-related messages or documents involving Clinton. That means that she hid or destroyed the rest of them and we want to know why. Judicial Watch argued that the search wasn’t good enough because State never tried to search its own systems for relevant messages in the official email accounts of Clinton’s top aides.
Nine months after the presidential election was decided, a federal judge is ordering the State Department to try again to find emails Hillary Clinton wrote about the Benghazi attack.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the State Department had not done enough to try to track down messages Clinton may have sent about the assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound on Sept. 11, 2012 — an attack that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
In response to Freedom of Information Act requests, State searched the roughly 30,000 messages Clinton turned over to her former agency at its request in December 2014 after officials searching for Benghazi-related records realized she had used a personal email account during her four-year tenure as secretary.
State later searched tens of thousands of emails handed over to the agency by three former top aides to Clinton: Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan. Finally, State searched a collection of emails the FBI assembled when it was investigating Clinton’s use of the private account and server.
In all, State found 348 Benghazi-related messages or documents that were sent to or from Clinton in a period of nearly five months after the attack.
In a shocking ruling that I didn’t see coming, Judge Mehta issued a 10-page ruling Tuesday on this agreeing with Judicial Watch. The kicker is that this judge is an Obama appointee. “To date, State has searched only data compilations originating from outside sources — Secretary Clinton, her former aides, and the FBI. … It has not, however, searched 8 the one records system over which it has always had control and that is almost certain to contain some responsive records: the state.gov e-mail server,” Mehta wrote.
The judge continued: “If Secretary Clinton sent an e-mail about Benghazi to Abedin, Mills, or Sullivan at his or her state.gov e-mail address, or if one of them sent an e-mail to Secretary Clinton using his or her state.gov 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.” The Justice Department then responded by arguing that forcing them to search other employees’ accounts for Clinton’s emails would set a bad precedent that would belabor other FOIA searches. They were shot down by the judge… again. Mehta said the circumstances surrounding Clinton’s email represented “a specific fact pattern unlikely to arise in the future.” Let’s hope not anyway.
A central premise of Mehta’s ruling is that the State Department’s servers archived emails from Clinton’s top aides. However, it’s not clear that happened regularly or reliably. The State Department says it was not a regular routine, but how can you believe anything from these liars anymore? A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the judge’s ruling. A Justice Department spokesman said: “We are reviewing the judge’s opinion and order.” I bet. They are trying to find a way out of this one. Good luck with that.
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