The State Department may have initiated the request for Hillary’s emails, but it seems they weren’t overly specific in terms of what they were looking for. Their oversight may end up testing the boundaries of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Associated Press filed a lawsuit today in an attempt to force the State Department to release certain key emails authored or in the possession of one Hillary Rodham Clinton. Apparently, the AP has been filing FOIA request after FOIA request for years, seeking a response, and the State Department has been reticent to address them. One such FOIA request has been languishing for five years. And so, in light of Secretary Clinton’s statements on the subject (including that 30,000 of her emails are now lost to the “brown file”), they’re taking their request to the courts.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, comes a day after Clinton broke her silence about her use of a private email account while secretary of state. The FOIA requests and lawsuit seek materials related to her public and private calendars, correspondence involving longtime aides likely to play key roles in her expected campaign for president, and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and National Security Agency surveillance practices.
“After careful deliberation and exhausting our other options, The Associated Press is taking the necessary legal steps to gain access to these important documents, which will shed light on actions by the State Department and former Secretary Clinton, a presumptive 2016 presidential candidate, during some of the most significant issues of our time,” said Karen Kaiser, AP’s general counsel.
“The press is a proxy for the people, and AP will continue its pursuit of vital information that’s in the public interest through this action and future open records requests,” she said.
The State Department “declined to comment” according to the Associated Press, except to say that they get a lot of FOIA requests and, like any government agency, it takes them an extended amount of time to respond to basically anything.
If you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to get those 30,000 deleted emails back, especially given that the Clintons seem to know so little about servers. Much of what’s “deleted” remains unless completely scrubbed. ClintonEmails.com’s archives may not be as easy to dispose of as, say, the mythological FBI files that allegedly appeared in the White House residence that time in the mid-1990s.
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