Obama Admin Tracked FOIA Request for Hillary Clinton Emails: Judicial Watch
Tom Fitton reveals details of State Department records showing Obama White House activity
Former President Barack Obama's administration tracked a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Hillary Clinton's emails, according to new documents revealed by political watchdog Judicial Watch.
According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, the finding is evidence that Obama's White House lied about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use.
Fitton's watchdog group announced in late April that the assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, E.W. (Bill) Priestap, had admitted in writing and under oath that the Bureau had discovered Hillary Clinton's email records in the Obama White House.
More specifically, the records were found in the Executive Office of the President.
Through court-ordered discovery, Judicial Watch has now obtained an additional 44 pages of records from the State Department, revealing that the Obama White House was tracking a December 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records concerning Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system.
According to Fitton, months after the Obama White House involvement, the State Department responded to the FOIA requestor, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), falsely stating that no such records existed.
Judicial Watch’s discovery is centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing our FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.
U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides, as well as E.W. Priestap, 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.”
The State Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a report in January 2016 saying: “At the time the request was received, dozens of senior officials throughout the Department, including members of Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff, exchanged emails with the Secretary using the personal accounts she used to conduct official business.”
Also, the IG “found evidence that [Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills] was informed of the request at the time it was received …”
Big story out that the FBI ignored tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails, many of which are REALLY BAD. Also gave false election info. I feel sure that we will soon be getting to the bottom of all of this corruption. At some point I may have to get involved!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
The State Department produced records in response to court-ordered document requests that detail Obama White House involvement in the Clinton email FOIA request.
In a December 20, 2012, email with the subject line “Need to track down a FOIA request from CREW,” Sheryl L. Walter, director of the State Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services (A/GIS/IPS), writes to IPS officials Rosemary D. Reid and Patrick D. Scholl and their assistants:
WH called – have we received a FOIA request from CREW (Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington) on the topic of personal use of email by senior officials? Apparently other agencies have. If we have it, can you give me the details so I can call the WH back? I think they’d like it on quick turnaround. Thanks! Sheryl
In the same email chain, Walter on December 20, 2012, also emailed Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s White House liaison, describing the CREW FOIA request:
Hi Heather – Copy attached, it was in our significant weekly FOIA report that we send to L and S/ES also. Do you want us to add you to that list? It’s a subset of things like this that we think likely to be of broader Department interest. More detail below re this request. As a practical matter given our workload, it won’t be processed for some months. Let me know if there are any particular sensitivities. If we don’t talk later, happy holidays! All the best, Sheryl
Sheryl: The request is assigned Case #F-2012-40981. It was received on 12/6/2012 and acknowledged on 12/10/2012. The request is assigned for processing.
On January 10, 2013, Walter writes to Samuelson that she is not including “personal” accounts in the FOIA request search:
Hi Heather – did you ever get any intell re what other agencies are doing re this FOIA request that seeks records about the number of email accounts associated with the Secretary (but isn’t specifying “personal” email accounts so we are interpreting as official accounts only). We are considering contacting the requester to find out exactly what it is they are looking for. Do you have any-concerns about that approach?
Soon afterward, Samuelson responds, “White House Counsel was looking into this for me. I will circle back with them now to see if they have further guidance.”
CREW’s general counsel, Anne Weismann, submitted a FOIA request to the State Department on December 6, 2012, seeking “records sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.”
The Mueller Witch Hunt is a total disgrace. They are looking at supposedly stolen Crooked Hillary Clinton Emails (even though they don’t want to look at the DNC Server), but have no interest in the Emails that Hillary DELETED & acid washed AFTER getting a Congressional Subpoena!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2018
On May 10, 2013, [Information Programs and Services] replied to CREW, stating that “no records responsive to your request were located.”
Samuelson became Secretary Clinton’s personal lawyer and in 2014 led the review of Clinton’s emails to determine which ones were work-related and which were personal.
She was also one of five close Clinton associates granted immunity by the Department of Justice in the Clinton email investigation.
Samuelson is one of several Obama administration and State Department officials ordered by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth to respond under oath to our questions regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA.
The new documents also include a January 2013 email exchange discussing Clinton’s departure from the State Department in which Agency Records Officer Tasha M. Thian specifically stating that Secretary Clinton “does not use email.”
This was directly contradicted by an email exchange between Secretary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus dating back to January 2009 – the very first days of Clinton’s State Department tenure – in which she tells Petraeus that she “had to change her email address.”
Interestingly, this email exchange between Petraeus and Clinton was not produced in a related FOIA lawsuit seeking “all emails” of Hillary Clinton.
In a January 2013 email under the subject “RE: Sec Clinton’s papers,” Thian writes:
Just so you know, Secretary Clinton – she brought with her a lot of material as Senator and First Lady – 47 boxes. In case you hear there are many boxes I wanted you to know what they are. She is taking her copies of photos, public speeches, press statements, contacts, templates (some of these are both hard copy and electronic), reimbursements, etc…
Although Sec. Clinton does not use email [emphasis added] her staffers do – I have agreed that the emails of the three staffers will be electronically captured (and not printed out).
Also included in the new batch of documents is the draft Departing Officials Notice, which states that State Department personnel are not to remove classified records from Department “custody and control.”
These documents suggest the Obama White House knew about the Clinton email lies being told to the public at least as early as December 2012.
A federal court granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton emails because the court wanted answers about a government cover-up of the Clinton emails.
And now we have answers because it looks like the Obama White House orchestrated the Clinton email cover-up.