Legal Watchdog, Citing Secret Material in Clinton Emails, Presses State Department in Court

Legal Watchdog, Citing Secret Material in Clinton Emails, Presses State Department in Court
Legal Watchdog, Citing Secret Material in Clinton Emails, Presses State Department in Court

In federal court hearings this week, a watchdog legal group keeps the heat on the State Department for answers about the exposure of classified information during Hillary Clinton’s use of unsecure email to conduct official business when she was secretary of state.

A hearing is set Friday in U.S. District Court in the nation’s capital to address a request from Judicial Watch for Clinton, longtime top aide Cheryl Mills, and other current or former State Department officials to testify under oath.

Judicial Watch wants them to address how the department responded to its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

“It is frankly unbelievable that the State Department is still protecting Hillary Clinton and her aides from being asked basic questions about her illicit email system,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a prepared statement.

“The courts were misled and obstructed by Hillary Clinton’s email scheme, and we hope to get some more answers about this scandal,” Fitton said.

The court hearing Friday follows on the heels of a separate one Thursday where the watchdog group reported on the estimated number of Clinton documents the State Department continues to withhold.

The Washington-based nonprofit’s initial request under the Freedom of Information Act, filed May 13, 2014, sought copies of “any updates and/or talking points” given to Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice “by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.”

The watchdog also sought all “records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” given to Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the attacks on the consulate and a nearby CIA annex in Benghazi.

‘Attempted to Delete’

In a related development, Judicial Watch found more classified information after reviewing 288 pages of newly uncovered Clinton emails.

Three of the emails included in the newly released emails from the State Department reproduce some of the same classified material that appeared in previously released emails.

“These new classified and other emails appear to be among those that Clinton had attempted to delete or had otherwise failed to disclose,” Judicial Watch said Wednesday in a press release.

The watchdog group obtained documents containing the Clinton emails in response to the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit it filed May 6, 2015, after the State Department failed to respond to an earlier request.

Judicial Watch had sought all emails “sent or received by” Clinton while she was secretary of state from January 2009 until January 2013, plus “all emails by other State Department employees” to Clinton using her private, nongovernment email account.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the State Department to complete processing, by Sept. 28, the remaining 72,000 pages of documents the FBI had uncovered as part of its 2016 investigation into Clinton’s use of the private email server.

The tens of thousands of Clinton emails include messages sent to her by longtime aide Huma Abedin.

The FBI found emails from Abedin on a laptop computer belonging to her estranged husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., prompting then-FBI Director James Comey to briefly reopen the FBI’s email probe only days before the presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016.

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