JUDICIAL WATCH — (Washington, DC) – The Obama State Department last week admitted it withheld a key Benghazi email of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Judicial Watch since at least September 2014. If the State Department disclosed the email when first supposedly found, Clinton’s email server and her hidden emails would have been disclosed nearly two years ago, before Clinton authorized the alleged deletion of tens of thousands of emails.
The developments come in a July 2014 Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit seeking records related to the drafting and use of the Benghazi talking points (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). The lawsuit, which forced the disclosure of the Clinton email records, seeks records specifically from Clinton and her top State Department staff:
Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador 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.
Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
Also, upon further review, the Department has determined that one document previously withheld in full in our letter dated November 12, 2014 may now be released in part.
The referenced November 12, 2014, letter does not reference any withheld emails. A search declaration suggests the hidden email was found in September 2014 as a result of a search in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit.
The September 29, 2012, email to Clinton from then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan concerns talking points for Clinton calls with senators about the Benghazi attack. The email contains Clinton’s non-state.gov address.
It is in this litigation that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted “limited discovery” to Judicial Watch into Clinton’s and her aides’ email practices. Judge Lamberth ruled that “where there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA cases.” (U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan also granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton email matter. The discovery plan, agreed to by the State Department, is awaiting Judge Sullivan’s approval.)
Last week’s document production also includes material from a records cache of thousands of new Clinton State Department records supposedly only discovered in December 2015. The new material shows the State Department compiled extensive Libya/Benghazi-related dossiers on Republican and Democrat senators.
“Now we know the Obama administration consciously refused to give up key information about Hillary Clinton’s email in 2014. It covered up this email both from the court and Judicial Watch,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judge Lamberth was right when he suggested that Obama’s State Department acted in bad faith. This cover-up provided Hillary Clinton enough time to hide potentially thousands of government records. One aim of our court-order discovery will be to get to the bottom of this cover-up.”
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