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Judicial Watch • JW v State Hackett deposition 01242

JW v State Hackett deposition 01242

JW v State Hackett deposition 01242

Page 1: JW v State Hackett deposition 01242


Number of Pages:99

Date Created:June 3, 2019

Date Uploaded to the Library:June 18, 2019

Tags:Francis, Hackett, cotca, planetdepos, Gardner, recall, 01242, Clintons, exhibit, Benghazi, Hillary Clinton, State Department, FBI, DOJ, FOIA

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Planet Depos Make Happen
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Date: May 31, 2019
Case: Judicial Watch, Inc. -v- U.S. Department State
Planet Depos
Phone: 888.433.3767
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
Civil Action No.
425 Third Street, Southwest
Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5199
Videotaped Deposition JOHN FRANCIS HACKETT
Friday, May 31, 2019
10:00 a.m.
1100 Street, Northwest
Washington, 20005
(202) 305-7583
Job No.: 238864
Reported By: Debra Ann Whitehead
Videotaped Deposition JOHN FRANCIS
HACKETT, held the offices of: BEHALF DEFENDANT:
1100 Connecticut Avenue, Northwest
2201 Street, Northwest
Suite 950
Washington, 20520
Washington, 20036
(202) 647-8042
(888) 433-3767
JEREMY DINEEN, Video Specialist
Pursuant notice, before Debra Ann Whitehead, Notary Public and for the District Columbia.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
PAGE Ms. Cotca Mr. Gardner
200 Ms. Cotca
(Not Attached the Transcript)
Instructions for Preserving
Email Departing Senior
E-mail string, Bates Nos.
The Honorable Trey Gowdy,
Letter from Ms. Frifield,
Officials, August 2014
E-mail string, Bates Nos. ITS TIN
PAGE HACKETT DEPOSITION EXHIBIT Exhibit E-mail from Ms. Weetman, 122
IPS-FOIA Litigation-DL, 8/6/14 Exhibit Declaration John Hackett 126
Regarding Exemptions Taken
Responsive Documents Exhibit E-mail from Mr. Prince, 144
Ms. Cotca, 12/5/14 Exhibit Joint Status Report, 12/31/14 146 Exhibit Joint Status Report, 2/2/15 153
159 Exhibit Letter from Mr. Stein,
Ms. Bailey, 4/18/16
163 Exhibit Case Comments sheet
171 Exhibit E-mail string ending from
174 Exhibit FBI 302, Bates Stamps
HRC-98 102
192 Exhibit FBI 302, Bates Stamps
304 Exhibit Timeline Events 6/15/15 200
HRC-2521 2523
Letter from Ms. Weismann,
and Services, 12/6/12
Letter from Ms. Walter,
Ms. Weismann, 5/10/13
E-mail string ending from Ms.
Grafeld, Mr. Stein, al.,
Office Information Programs
E-mail string ending from
Mr. Visek, Ms. Duval,
E-mail string ending from
Mr. Hackett, Mr. Stein,
Acknowledgement Receipt
Timeline Events, Hillary
Rodham Clinton Email
VIDEO SPECIALIST: Here begins Disk Number the videotaped deposition John Francis Hackett; the matter Judicial Watch, Inc., U.S. Department State; the U.S. District Court for the District Columbia, Civil Action Number 14-01242.
Todays date May 31, 2019. The time the video monitor approximately 10:00 a.m. The videographer today Jeremy Dineen, representing Planet Depos. This video deposition taking place the offices Planet Depos, 1100 Connecticut Avenue, Northwest, Suite 950, Washington, DC.
Would counsel please voice identify themselves and state whom they represent.
MS. COTCA: Ramona Cotca, for Judicial Watch.
MS. BURKE: Lauren Burke, for Judicial
MR. GARDNER: Josh Gardner, with the United States Department Justice.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
And the witness reserves the right read and sign.
MR. PRINCE: Robert Prince, Department Justice.
MR. PEZZI: Stephen Pezzi, with the Department Justice.
MR. LIEBERMAN: Michael Lieberman, from the Department State.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: The court reporter today Debbie Whitehead, representing Planet Depos.
Would the reporter please swear the witness.
JOHN FRANCIS HACKETT, having been duly sworn, testified follows: EXAMINATION COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF MS. COTCA: Good morning, Mr. Hackett. Thank you -19 Good morning. Thank you for being here.
Would you please just identify your full name, for the record. answering the questions, very important that you dont understand question you need clarification, that you let know that you need that; otherwise, will assume that you have understood the question. that fair? Thats fair. Okay. Also, because everything being transcribed, just all our responses your responses should verbal. The nods the head dont transcribe onto the record. Okay. Okay? you need break any point, just let know, and sure well able accommodate you. Okay? Okay. All right. Thank you.
This this lawsuit that have asked you for your deposition FOIA lawsuit against the State Department for FOIA request asking for copies updates and talking John Francis Hackett. Okay. Mr. Hackett, have you been deposed before? No. Okay. Lets just over few ground rules for the deposition. you can see, have court reporter here, she transcribing everything thats being said. that being said, would just ask, even though you may anticipate the question that asking, that you let finish asking question dont speak over each other, that way the court reporter able get the record everything thats being said today.
With that mind also, you may hear your attorney objecting today. would ask that you let your attorney finish his objection, and then answer. instructs you not answer, then dont answer the question. But unless instructs you not answer, then you must still answer the question thats being asked.
One other thing is, when you are 12) points given Ambassador Rice the White House any federal agency concerning related the September 11, 2012, attacks the U.S. Consulate Benghazi, and also for any records communication about those talking points.
Are you familiar with this litigation? Yes. Okay. And tell when you first became involved this lawsuit. guess approximately 2014. 2014? Okay. All right. were going cover your involvement the lawsuit, and then also with respect what you knew about Secretary Clintons e-mail use and when you knew that. Okay?
One quick followup wanted ask you
Did you review any documents preparation for your deposition deposition today? Yes. Okay. What were the documents that you reviewed?
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 reviewed the judges Order. Okay. reviewed 302 that was released the FBI. reviewed, believe, one search Declaration involved this case. this your Declaration that you signed? Yes. Okay. And trying remember some the other documents. They were all publicly available documents that had been released. Okay. Were they e-mails? you can recall. think one e-mail was shown me, but cant remember what that was. Okay. Quick background.
Are you still working the State Department? No. Okay. And when did you leave the State Department? left the State Department March National Intelligence. And what did you for DNI? was Director similar office, Information Management Office, for the Office the Director National Intelligence. Okay. How long were you there? was there from April 2006 until April 2013. Okay. when you came the State Department Deputy Director for IPS, what were your general duties and responsibilities? general duties were support the Director and step for the Director when she was away; and generally kind special projects relating records management declassification sometimes for Freedom Information Act.
But there were would say real defined duties, other than stepping and supporting the Director. was worked the Executive Order 13526 program, mostly classification policy and declassification policy; and and also worked 2016. Okay. When did you begin just want over your employment history generally while mostly interested while you were the State Department.
When did you begin working the State
Department? began working the State Department April 2013. And what was your position when you started there? position was Deputy Director for Information Programs and Services. that what short for IPS? Yes. Okay. refer IPS, then are talking about the same thing. that right? Yes. Okay. Before April 2013, where did you work? worked for, excuse me, the Director (13 16) acting basis handling that office and handling prepublication review that office. Okay. should have asked this question before.
What does IPS do? What does you can describe the office. The office, you know, handles the Freedom Information Act program for the Department State. Okay. Which was then, and believe today, quite substantial. handles the Records Management program for the Department State, the policy relating that, well the actual retirement records for the department.
The office also handles the declassification records. Records that reach certain time limit under Executive Order 13526 can declassified, and then theyre retired and sent the National Archives.
Theres classification policy. They also
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 handle the implementation the Privacy Act through the department.
Thats about it. mean, thats thats plenty. sure is.
What about with respect requests from congressional committees for document requests; that handled IPS different office? Yes. IPS? Yes. Okay. And then what about internal investigations, such the Accountability Board the ARB, the Accountability Review Board; after the attacks Benghazi, were requests for documents the board handled any way the IPS office? well, dont recall. mean, IPS does not handle, you know, Accountability Review Board. they didnt that case, far know. Okay. 2014 Okay. that became... Spring 2014, its fair say? Correct. Okay. All right. And then when you became the Director IPS, how have your responsibilities, how had they changed? Well, the responsibilities changed; that you were now the head this program, including -12 Let ask this way. How about your day-to-day activities; how had that changed from being Deputy Director Director IPS? Again, mean, think the responsibilities for program almost 500 people, and including its budget. And also became the Declarant FOIA cases for cases that were litigation. was involved many other inner-agency meetings relating classification, declassification. Certainly well, what remember that they may have assisted the board gathering some documents. But dont think they were part the board, thats thats what you were asking. Okay. think got the gist it. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.
Now, when you came your Deputy Director role IPS, you said that part your responsibility was support the Director.
Who was the Director the time? Sheryl Walter. Okay. And how long did you serve your role Deputy Director? Approximately one year. Okay. And then what was your position after? became Acting Director. Okay. that would have been and around April 2014? Correct. may have been May (17 20) was just you were, you know, responsible for the the whole program now. Okay. What can remember it. Sure. And only asking what you can remember Yeah. you sit here today.
You said that you became the Declarant FOIA cases litigation.
Can you elaborate that? Yes. there was search, sometimes the head the office would the Declarant. And dont know whether its certification youre certainly swearing the court about that search was made relating particular FOIA case -18 Okay. based the information thats provided you. that something that generally fell within the scope the Directors role?
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 Yes; but would say wasnt entirely exclusive the Director. Okay. was not entirely exclusive the Director; that what you said? Correct. Can you walk through general process how FOIA request would handled IPS the time that you were there? mean, have vague recollections about mean, was not the weeds when FOIA requests were coming in. When was there, they got upwards, you know, thousand FOIA requests, believe. recollection is, FOIA request came either mail e-mail fax, and went some sort in-processing branch that would look the FOIA request see met the standards actual FOIA request. see had been sent the right place.
And then response would the FOIA request would accepted, and response would sent the requestor. subject matter experts, many them former Foreign Service Officers, help them task parts the department where these requests should go. And these subject matter experts, what office would they in? IPS, also. Okay. Okay. All this handled within IPS before its tasked out? Correct. Okay. Now, would requests for records that came from congressional committees, would those handled any differently? dont understand your question. there different process processing FOIA request from congressional investigation request for documents?
MR. GARDNER: not sure was done laying out the process for the FOIA requests. you want him finish his response first, and then ask that question?
MS. COTCA: Yes. Thank you.
MR. GARDNER: Youre welcome.
Then there was whole tasking office that would task out the the FOIA requests. would sent FOIA analyst, who would task out where the records relating the requests most likely would reside. Okay. And the tasking office, that
IPS? Yes. Okay. And the FOIA analyst that would then distribute the request particular offices that would expected have relevant information, that FOIA analyst, was that would they have been within IPS? Yes. Okay. You hesitated little bit. there reason? Well, recollection little fuzzy. Okay. Also, would say times there were analysts, plural. And there was FOIA analyst who was civil servant. And they relied heavily (21 24) Well, are youre talking about FOIA youre talking about congressional document production -MR. GARDNER: think she has withdrawn that question for now.
MR. GARDNER: allow you finish your answer about -THE WITNESS: Okay.
MR. GARDNER: the process for FOIA requests. Okay. the tasking, requests are tasked out after the civil servant, the FOIA analyst, consults with this senior former employee, tasks out bureau, functional area bureau the department. And records come back that might responsive the request, then they review the records.
And kind what this
what remember it. And, you know, they review them. And redactions may have applied based a...
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
And and sure skipping some process there. There may some back and forth. The analyst may not think, you know, lot records came back.
They may task the Records Center where
records are stored get, you know, records from there, pull those back and they search themselves. theres lot there should lot back and forth going that process. Okay. When you said, they, you are referring the individuals, the taskers within IPS? Yes. Okay. Thank you. Okay. And what about once FOIA request goes into litigation? recollection -18 Sure. Absolutely. that that process kind stops, and goes different work with the attorneys the department. And should stop saying, we, because dont work there youre referring are the IPS Litigation Branch this point? Correct. Okay. Now, Ill back previous question about any difference processing FOIA request and what you just described, from request for documents from because congressional investigation.
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. You can still answer. Yes, there there difference. And they wouldnt submit FOIA request. Right. They may request they may issue subpoena. And there different what remember, different process. There different office that handles congressional document production.
When arrived, there wasnt separate office. But when was there, separate office was created handle congressional document production. anymore.
They work with the attorneys, Office Legal Advisor. And and goes recollection is, its handled separate branch within IPS who handles all supports all the litigation for IPS. Whats that branch called, you recall? The Litigation Branch. Okay. think. recall. used call the Litigation Branch. But think they had its bigger name, but cant remember it.
And then recollection that they start the search all over again. They will collect the documents that have already been collected, theyve already been collected. But they they would they would start -19 depending the litigation, they would start the search all over again, just make absolutely sure that all the records have been collected. Okay. And, again, the they (25 28) Whats the name the office that was
created? dont recall. Okay. Okay.
MR. GARDNER: Were you done answering the question about the differences? just trying dont recall what the different there are any different processes the tasking process. dont recall. Okay. Were you involved any the responding process with respect the Benghazi Select Committees request for documents from the State Department? Initially, no. mean, that preceded arrival the department. The Benghazi Select Committee? Oh, the Benghazi Select see, getting the -19 Sorry. No. The Benghazi Select Committee. Can you give more information about when that committee sat?
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 How about 2014, when you would have been the Director IPS? recollection, only involvement would have been making sure there were enough resources available produce documents. And resources, what you mean? mean staffing, people working overtime. Are you are going work this weekend, you know, those kinds issues. Are going work over overtime, are going work holiday weekend. Okay. But you dont have specific recollection the timing when? dont dont recall. Thats fine. From the time that you started the State Department 2013, was there did there come time when FOIA requests that related Secretary Clintons e-mails became issue?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. Can you elaborate what you mean issue? Did you raise your concerns anybody that point, June 2013? Yes. whom? Sheryl Walter; and also the Deputy
Secretary, Margaret Grafeld, who was one supervisors. When you first was that 2013, the time frame when you first raised it, your concern? Yes. Okay. And what can you tell what those discussions were? Some those discussions were with the departments attorneys. asking with respect Ms. Walter and Ms. Grafeld.
MR. GARDNER: But the extent there were not also attorneys present where you were discussing legal advice, you can obviously answer the question.
MR. GARDNER: there were attorneys concern focus your department. Yes. Okay. When was that? concerns started June 2013. Okay. And can you tell what those concerns were?
And followup will be, and what prompted you have those concerns? But lets start with what the concerns were. concerns were that IPS may have been well, its related what prompted Okay. the concerns. Then lets start with what prompted. what prompted concerns was photograph June 2013 the WTOP website the former Secretary sitting plane with BlackBerry.
And that got thinking that, well,
-what was that BlackBerry? Was government BlackBerry? And so, where were the e-mails relating that BlackBerry? (29 32) there and legal advice were discussed, would instruct you not answer.
THE WITNESS: Okay. with Sheryl Walter, went Sheryl after seeing that photograph and suggested that had careful about what sort responses made relating Hillary Clintons e-mails, when there was Record Located response that was being given out. fact, advised Sheryl that should stop giving Record Located responses until come kind come, you know find out what that BlackBerry meant, come ground about what was known about the former Secretarys e-mailing habits. And how did Ms. Walter respond? recollection is, she agreed with me. Okay. And what happened next, guess, you... With Sheryls permission, believe thought had issued e-mail written instruction, may have just been verbal
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 (33 36) instruction, our FOIA branch that didnt want any, you know, Record Located responses going out without them talking first. And thats you and Ms. Walter? Correct. Okay. Other excuse me. sorry. You said that you e-mailed?
MR. GARDNER: Sorry. Objection. Form. You said you sent you sent out alert via e-mail. that right?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. recollection was that did. But has been searched for the past and nobody can find it, believe. Okay. And who did you based your recollection, who did you send the e-mail to? recollection was that sent the head our FOIA branch. And have forgotten -20 Pat Scholl, believe was his his name. Just him? Yes. And was going redistribute the classified systems that the Secretary might have produced. And recall that think Tasha came back with the answer that they did not have any.
There was lot confusion about
what that BlackBerry, you know, meant that time. Let just back the BlackBerry picture.
Which picture was this that you that
your interest? was photograph the former Secretary sitting airplane; and believe you know, its big military-type airplane, row seats, with BlackBerry her hand. And which paper was this?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. where did you see the photograph? Sorry. believe saw the photograph the WTOPs website. And this was after Secretary Clinton left all the analysts and through his his organization. what happened after after that e-mail was sent out? The other thing that did, did that time, was, wanted find out what this BlackBerry meant. tasked recollection is, verbally tasked Tasha Thian, the departments Records Manager that time, look into the BlackBerry.
And believe Tasha contacted Clarence Finney the Secretarys office ask him what knew about the former Secretarys e-mailing habits. And what did she find out? dont recall exactly what she found out, but she didnt find out much.
Tasha also contacted the part the
thats part the intelligence community, and Intelligence and Research Bureau, ask see there were any classified e-mails the State Department? Yes. was June 2013. Were there any discussions that time with Ms. Walter with respect reaching out Secretary Clinton about asking she had e-mails, work-related e-mails, her BlackBerry? dont recall any, no. Okay. And believe dont know got the last name correct. But you said that you tasked out Tasha? Thian. Thian. And she spoke with Mr. Finney. that Clarence Finney? Correct. Okay. you know anybody else that she spoke with try understand what this BlackBerry meant and more information about Secretary Clintons e-mails, e-mail use? dont dont recall. Did you ever speak with Mr. Finney about this issue? Not 2013, no.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 Okay. When did you speak with Mr. Finney about this issue? dont think spent spoke Clarence about this until 2014. Can you narrow the time frame 2014? would say the summer 2014. Late summer, maybe fall 2014. Okay. What sparked that conversation? And want make sure timeline correct. believe that when the September 2014, trying think here, was when some -13 well, some documents were going released Capitol Hill, one the committees, and were going include possibly know they were going include some call sheets with foreign leaders. But there were some, believe, other -18 there might have been some e-mails that were going released And are -20 the -21 sorry. cut you off. going e-mails. And believe Clarence said the same thing me, that didnt know about her e-mails. Thats recollection. Okay. Let just pinpoint the time frame here.
MS. COTCA: going show you this. Can you mark this Exhibit
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) Mr. Finney, youre looking whats been marked Exhibit you want take some time look and see you recognize this document. mean, your question recognize this document, no. Have you ever seen this document? dont recall even seeing this document.
One reason is, dont mean, this was signed out the Legislative Affairs office, and they handled all the congressional production. Okay. Thats fine, you dont let you finish. not sure, but but believe there was going some e-mails released the Hill during that time period. Okay. And whose that Secretary Clintons e-mails? Correct. either August September time frame 2014, you were aware that Secretary Clintons e-mails would released, some them would released, the that the Benghazi Select Committee? dont recall. Okay. And you can just provide with respect what was discussed between you and Mr. Finney that time? believe Mr. Finney both were being asked meeting with the departments Public Affairs Officers talk about Hillary Clintons e-mails.
And said, not going, because dont know anything about the former Secretarys (37 40) you havent seen it. will just represent you that this was produced another FOIA lawsuit Judicial Watch against the State Department Case Number 15-692. just wanted refer you Page
top. Uh-huh. Where says, August 11, 2014.
And there its reference being made production the Benghazi Select Committee that included, among other things, e-mails, including former Secretary Clintons, and quotes,, end quotes, address. you see that? Yes. Okay. this the production that you were referring just few moments ago?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form.
Actually, objection. Foundation. cant tie specific production.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 just know that that time frame some documents relating specifically Hillary Clinton were released the Hill. the Hill? Thats Thats memory it. Okay. you remember you sit here today well, Ill strike that. Never mind. Okay. Thank you. But that August 11, 2014. Around fair that its around the same time frame that you recall her e-mails, some her e-mails, being sent the Hill? Yes. Okay. Thank you. who did earlier you were talking about being asked speak about Secretary Clintons e-mails, that you refused because you didnt know anything about. And you said Mr. Finney also refused do. that right? said that, refuse go. Okay. Yes. Okay. And was can you tell more about those discussions?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. Specific Specifically about your June 2013 concern after you saw Secretary Clintons picture with holding BlackBerry. discussion with Margaret Grafeld might might have involved department lawyers. Okay. So...
MR. GARDNER: before you disclose that, can take break. Obviously can consult and see thats information can provide whether its privileged.
MS. COTCA: Okay. can that. you want step out?
MR. GARDNER: Why dont just continue going, and then can circle back. Unless thats going disrupt you?
MS. COTCA: rather stop now. dont know what Mr. Finney ended doing. only recall Clarence wanting support him. But didnt know anything about, you know, her e-mail setup. Okay. Can you tell more where you
supposed where you were invited speak about her e-mails? recollection that Public Affairs asked attend kind background briefing with them discuss Hillary Clintons e-mails. Okay. you know who Public Affairs asked you that? dont recall. you recall any the individuals involved that request? have forgotten you know, have forgotten their names. Okay. And then want back now your discussions with Ms. Walter.
You also said you had discussions with
Grafeld. that correct? (41 44)
MR. GARDNER: you want
MR. GARDNER: take morning break?
MR. GARDNER: Okay. can that.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are going off the record 10:49. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the record 11:05. MS. COTCA: Mr. Hackett, you have had chance speak with your lawyers. Before the break asked you about discussions that you had with Ms., it, Garfeld? Grafeld. Grafeld. sorry. Thank you.
Are you able answer the question without divulging attorney-client privilege?
MR. GARDNER: would instruct Mr. Hackett not answer the question. That question does call for the disclosure information
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 subject the attorney-client privilege, well the work product doctrine.
MS. COTCA: All right. MS. COTCA: When when did you have the discussion with Ms. Grafeld? believe was some time June 2013. Okay. And was anybody else present? Yes. And can you identify the individuals who were also present? Yes. Sheryl Walter was present. Josh -14 Josh Dorosin was present. And believe there might have been one two other department attorneys present. you remember them name? believe Gene Smilansky might have been present. Anybody else? cant remember the the last person. Okay. What was Ms. Grafelds title with her about it? believe recollection might have had other conversations during the same time period, this issue evolved. Okay. What were the other conversations that you had with Ms. Grafeld about this issue evolved?
MR. GARDNER: the extent you can answer that question without divulging privileged information, you may so. the extent you cant, then would instruct you not answer. after the photograph the former Secretary the plane, you know, talked about that tasked the Records Manager out talk Mr. Finney. But there were other issues.
Say found out that the former -17 people remembered that the former Secretary -19 Secretary did send department-wide e-mails out relating various topics, she had some sort account the department.
And and believe Ms. Thian went position the time? Deputy Assistant Secretary for cant were IPS, they were she was GPS was the printing plant. And believe GPS and IPS and the policy shop are all part Ms. Grafelds organization, which GIS, Global Information Systems. Okay. Thats recollection. Thank you for that. Okay. that the only time you conversed with
about this topic?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. Topic? your concern after you saw the photograph Secretary Clinton holding BlackBerry. No. When when did you no, this was not the only time, -21 No, this was not the only time. Okay. When when else did you speak (45 48) find out were there other e-mails that department account, that government account, other than general announcements. And that the topic that Peggy and talked about. found nothing, additional e-mails, work e-mails. And Peggy and did talk about that. Okay. And what was that e-mail account, you can recall? that, dont know. Okay. You are you asking what the address was? Yes, you can identify the e-mail account address. dont recall. Okay. going still 2013. After Ms. Thian spoke with Mr. Finney, and after you spoke with you sent the e-mail Patrick Scholl, believe you said, and then turn sent alert not issue any more response responsive records response FOIA
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 (49 52) requests, what happened?
What did you that point with respect responding FOIA requests that were relevant Mrs. Clintons e-mails?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. let ask this way. How did you handle those cases, then, that were relevant Secretary Clintons e-mails?
MR. GARDNER: Objection, form. Also objection, foundation. guess concern was about responses that related Records Located responses. recollection is, still certainly processed requests, tasked out requests related the Secretarys office from her tenure, because there would have been records there. mean, recollection is, you know, concern was relating related requests specifically asking about her, you know, e-mails, might involve directly about her e-mail communications. Okay. focusing specific requests you had concern how the department was responding FOIA requests that related Secretary Clintons e-mails after you saw the photograph the Secretary holding BlackBerry. that fair say? had concern about Records response. Okay. Why? recollection and had only been there two months that someone had told that, and cant remember that she did not have e-mail account, government e-mail account. there was obviously contradiction here when, you know, theres that photograph. were just trying find out what was the ground truth. thats why had concern about issuing responses that said records had been located. Why did you have the concern for for requests where only Records response would sent, opposed other requests that included involving her e-mail communications. How did your how did IPS treat those FOIA requests and respond the requestor asking for communications records relating communications former Secretary Clinton e-mail?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack
foundation. cant recall specific cases during that time period. Did did you inform any requestors who submitted requests the State Department that related Secretary Clintons e-mails about the fact that there was issue with her e-mails?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. Well, June 2013 dont think knew specifically what the issue was. Well, the issue was her Secretary Clintons e-mails. Correct?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. dont understand your... understood your testimony mean that her e-mails but other records, well?
Why would not have been why would you not have had the same concern?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. mean, dont recall. mean, just dont dont recall.
MS. COTCA: Mark this.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) MS. COTCA: will show you what will marked Exhibit
MS. COTCA: Actually, will make less next time.
MR. PEZZI: Better safe than sorry. Okay. Okay. You have had chance look it? Yes. Okay. Can you identify for the record what this document appears be?
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 (53 56)
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. You may answer the question. this exhibit all one e-mail chain? was produced one document the State Department this case. mean, dont know mean, its back and forth, obviously. But dont know which topic specifically relates to.
Theres mention the CREW request. And theres mention me, you know, talking Peggy asking for all the open Hillary Clinton cases relating specifically her e-mails. theres multiple topics are covered here. Sure. No. just, its e-mail string just identifying, just for the record, Gene Smilansky the top. And starts with the first e-mail the top August 2013, 10:21 p.m., from Mr. Smilansky, addressed Karen Finnegan and Sheryl Walter. that you see that the first e-mails, should probably you know, need look all the requests relating to, you know that might be, you know, responsive. Okay. Because they were because they were
sitting there. What you mean by, because they were just sitting there? believe they hadnt been responded yet, depending when they came through. Okay. What about well, let you can look Page and Page the document.
And looks like theres communications about list open cases and closed cases. And one e-mail says the cases, are closed; and then the remaining open cases, lists cases that specifically mention e-mails. you see that? Which page that on? Page
MR. GARDNER: Page Okay. page the document the top? Yes. Okay. Okay. you could look Page the document. Which think you were already there. e-mail from Ms. Grafeld, you and Ms. Sheryl Sheryl Walter, asking you saying that you mentioned yesterday requests for Secretary Clintons e-mails.
Can you tell about what what that discussion was with respect her e-mails that she referring that e-mail you?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. dont recall specifically about the conversation she referring to. just dont recall. just remember that after June 2013, started looking at, you know, again, all -18 over that summer looking at, the were trying get the ground truth what, you know what was the universe Hillary Clintons e-mailing. started looking at, well, there are
MR. GARDNER: Youve got there. Yes, see that. Okay. Now, not all these cases, though, all these requests, are were all these requests not yet litigation?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack
foundation. far you know. dont know. dont know that. Okay. And then well, then specifically now Page the document, there e-mail about Judicial Watch case, with the Case Number 2013-772, front Judge Kollar-Kotelly. you see that? Yes. Okay. what did your office with respect that case with respect resolving this e-mail issue responding Judicial Watch?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. mean, dont recall. dont recall
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 this case. mean, this the case called the Clinton Foundation case, you know, would agree with Karen, dont remember that involving Hillary Clintons e-mail. Well, are you familiar with that request? dont, you know. Its not off the top head anymore. Okay. Are you aware that asks specifically for e-mails?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. didnt recall that. Okay. what was the resolution how
respond these FOIA requests that are noted this e-mail string? dont mean, dont recall. mean, were were doing search, and e-mail certainly were still investigating about her, you know, e-mail and her e-mail setup.
But something came search, how does this impact how does this issue impact this investigation impact our current cases that relate Secretary Clintons e-mails?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. Well, mean, some those conversations were with department attorneys.
MR. GARDNER: you can obviously disclose those that did not involve the attorneys. Otherwise, would instruct you not answer based privilege. recollection, again, that time was, did have people asking specifically for e-mail, and did have cases litigation. continued have conversations about did did she not have, you know, e-mail. Okay. And around this, believe was late 2013 maybe 2014, there was another case where might see snippets things that there was e-mail address that was produced litigation. cant remember what would certainly and was responsive, would produce it. youre still just trying understand Sure. what happened. you are still investigating the issue August 2013. Correct? Correct. Okay. And the same time you least the Judicial Watch case, that was already litigation. know that because has case number.
The State Department still continuing respond the requestor. Correct?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. mean, dont recall what the specific production was, and for this, you know, litigation. Okay. And thats fair. just trying understand.
Were there conversations that time, (57 60) case that was. But didnt know what that, you know, meant. Okay. What e-mail address was produced litigation early 2014? was Hillary Clinton e-mail address. let let correct that and say there the documents that were gathered and and cant remember whether they were produced the requestor, there there there was discussion about Hillary Clinton e-mail address within the documents that were gathered. Just make sure understand exactly what youre saying.
Its not e-mail address that you recall, but its discussion about e-mail account? have that right, have that wrong? recollection is, was the actual e-mail account and people someone reacting and saying, you cant you know, you shouldnt use that e-mail account.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 And when youre saying, use that e-mail account, youre referring just make sure the record clear Secretary Clinton. Correct? was Secretary Clinton e-mail
account. Okay. And people the department who were discussing about e-mail chain, and about not including her that e-mail chain. you know that was State Department State Department account was her account?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. believe was private account, but cant remember which account was. you remember the litigation that youre speaking was litigation? sorry. believe was litigation. Okay. you recall the lawsuit? dont. that e-mail address when responding FOIA requests related Secretary Clinton?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. dont recall. dont understand what they would have searched, though. Well, search any her correspondences would have appeared corresponding with other State Department officials. she would have been the recipient.
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. still dont understand. there was you tasked out, would you dont recall. And wasnt the weeds many these, you know. And not asking more general context, not necessarily specific cases.
But generally cases that dealt with -18 2014, with Secretary Clintons e-mail account, that point, when IPS knew that Secretary Clinton had used some personal e-mail account correspond while the State Department, did they you recall who the requestor was? might have been Gawker. Okay. And that was early 2014? Late 2013, early 2014. Okay. Upon learning that e-mail account the records that were sent out Gawker, assuming was Gawkers request early 2014, did your office ever ask any when doing any the searches response FOIA requests, search search term for that e-mail account, see any Secretary Clintons would appear part the search?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. dont understand what... Okay. Let take this let rephrase. Okay. Sure. Part the Gawker records that were produced early 2014, there was e-mail account associated with Secretary Clinton. that point, when IPS learned that,
ever ask any the taskers search for (61 64) inform were there any discussions with the particular bureau when the searches were being conducted, make sure that they would search for her e-mail address see would appear any e-mail correspondences with other State Department officials? dont recall any Okay. Okay. conversations like that. Okay. Would that not have been appropriate that time? Ill put Records Management hat. dont know. mean, had knowledge what that e-mail address was and was associated with, you know, producing government records. Whether contained any government records, lets put that way, associated with it. Okay. Thats fair.
But you say you didnt know whether was associated with any government records. But the question remains, what did you
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 investigate, what did your office investigate whether that e-mail was associated with responsive records FOIA requests relevant Secretary Clintons e-mails? dont dont recall.
recall. Okay. want just change focus little bit fall 2014, when you said that there was request from the Public Affairs for briefing about Secretary Clintons e-mails. Okay. Have you ever had request before from the Public Affairs office for similar type briefing?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. Now, during that time, 2014? From 2013 when you were the State Department, your role Director IPS. Yes. When was that? attended meeting. cant remember the year. was probably 2016 late 2015,
Did was usual for Public Affairs office ask for briefing about e-mails State Department official?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. Well and dont want Public Affairs, thought, was asking because the connection with this production the Hill; and they realized that these items were going be, you know, released, and more than likely released the public the Benghazi committee. they wanted prepared answer questions about the former Secretarys records/e-mails. Okay. Okay. same time frame, the fall 2014. that the same had the State Department that point requested records returned from Secretary Clinton? Shortly after that. Shortly after that? believe the next month. Okay. Are you referring the letter before left, relating Colin Powells e-mails that were the was going release. Okay. should have been more focused question. meant ask you prior to, beforehand, had you had any types similar requests from Public Affairs office? Prior to? Prior summer 2014. No. Okay. Was that unusual request?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. mean, cant speak whether was was was first one. But, you know, cant say whether its unusual not. Okay. And you know why the Public Affairs office asked for that briefing? recollection that they just wanted background her e-mails. Okay. And maybe you may not able answer this. But you can, Ill ask it. (65 68) that Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy had sent out the former Secretaries? Correct. Okay. you know when leading that letter, you know when the first request was made the department Secretary Clinton for any e-mails that she might have from the State Department her personal e-mail account? Since leaving, know there have been documents released saying that the department approached Secretary Clinton June July, over that summer, which was surprise me. Because hadnt did not know until the drafts the letters out the former Secretaries the fall 2014 that were going approach her and the former Secretaries. Okay. youre the first time -18 and interested what you were the time, thank you for clarifying that. Okay. then going back the drafts these
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 letters.
Were you involved drafting these letters the former Secretaries? recall did review draft. Okay. Which recollect being September 2014. Okay. early September, then, 2014 you were aware that the State Department was going request make request Secretary Clinton for her return e-mails that may her personal e-mail account relating her work the State Department. Correct? cant remember the phrasing the letter that Secretary you know, that Pat Kennedy sent her. dont think was the terms that she -19 Sure. And paraphrasing. Okay. But but just want -21 dont think got that specific about e-mails and servers and that kind believe this document came not from IPS, but came from the department-wide Electronic Records Committee, with specific instructions for IT-related people, both domestic and overseas, about how preserve the e-mail departing officials. Okay. Were you involved drafting clearing this document? see that cleared the document. So, yes. Okay. Can you tell why was this document created, and why did the State Department send this out back August 2014? recollection is, again, this relates the work the the Under Secretary Managements electronic, whatever they were called, working group.
And the discussions around the table with various members the department, think the consensus was there needed very specific instructions the IT-type people, both who are government people and contractors, about how Oh, sure. detail. Okay. But for her return any federal records? general terms, correct. general terms. Okay. Thank you. want show you...
MS. COTCA: you can mark that.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) Mr. Hackett, you can look exhibit whats been marked Exhibit and let know once you have had chance review it. Okay. Have you had chance review it? Yes. Okay. you have you seen this document before? copy this? Yes. Okay. And can you tell us, then, what this document? (69 72) some this stuff capturing the electronic records, and then making sure that they get forwarded IPS for retirement. Okay. Was this done conjunction with the concern over the e-mails Secretary Clinton being sent over the Hill? dont recall that. Okay. Because think this was worked for months before that. has August 2014 it, but recollection is, that committee didnt issue anything very quickly. was consensus and it, you know, went around the table several times before was approved and sent out final document. Okay.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.)
MR. GARDNER: Oh, sorry.
MS. COTCA: Youre fine. conjunction with that document, Ill
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 ask you look whats been marked Exhibit Uh-huh. Wheres copy? Thats okay. Thank you. Yeah.
Have you seen this, copy this document before? Yes, Ive seen this before. Okay. Can you tell what this document is? This what State terms, think its called ALDAC, something cable, All Diplomatic Consulates, posts, cable, going everybody and reminding them their responsibilities under the Federal Records Act and department guidance; but also giving specific -17 more specific instruction about personal e-mail accounts. Okay. And you also cleared this document. that right? Correct. Okay. What prompted why did this did couple studies, reviews. think the Ambassador Japan, Caroline Kennedy, was cited using her personal e-mail account. Thats one that comes mind. Okay. Paragraph which appears Uh-huh. The paragraph that starts, With that mind, recently reminded senior officials and other selected employees their records responsibilities. you see that? Yes. Okay. And there reference Patrick Kennedys August 28, 2014, memorandum? Yes. that referring what was marked Exhibit was that different document?
MR. GARDNER: Objection, form. Also objection, foundation. dont recall. But believe, reviewing this, its probably separate document. why did this document why was created and why was sent out? dont recall the specifics it. Though you know, there were concerns about department employees using their personal e-mail accounts. that because the issue that came light with respect Secretary Clintons e-mails? dont recall that. there were others during that time period found who were using their personal e-mail accounts. And -12 this was just sent out reminder. When you say there were others, can you specify what youre referring to, who youre referring to? There were there were other employees the department who were using their personal e-mail accounts for government business. Okay. Were they senior officials? Some were senior officials, too. Who were they? cant remember the time frame, but the (73 76) That its different August 2014
memorandum? dont recall. dont recall. Okay. you recall any other memorandums that were sent August 2014, other than what was marked Exhibit just think there might have been this in... Thats all have. There there might have been cover memo this. Okay. And this may attachment. That may recollection it. Okay. Fair. Thank you for that.
Theres also Paragraph theres
halfway down the paragraph, Departing employees are also reminded they may take with them only personal papers and non-record materials.
Why was that included this notice? Again, recollection was that there
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 were staff members, including some senior officials the department, who were taking government records with them when they departed. Did that include Secretary Clinton? this period dont think knew that
yet. least didnt know that yet. You didnt know that October 2014? No. But you knew that the State Department was asking for Secretary Clinton return federal records. Correct? And thats this same time frame. this same time frame, yes. -14 probably October theyre either the letters had gone out certainly had seen draft those letters before they went out. Okay. was your expectation that the State Department would receive records from Secretary Clinton response the the letter? dont know. mean, had 2014, time stamped 9:20 a.m., David Wade, and ccing Richard Visek and Philippe Reines. you see that? Yes. First, who David Wade, can you identify for the record? believe was Secretary Kerrys Chief Staff. Okay. And how about Richard Visek? Rich Visek believe then was Acting Legal Advisor for the department. Okay. And Philippe Reines was former State Department official under Secretary Clinton. Correct? Yes. Okay. you see and want ask you about this notation. want that Ms. Mills writes, wanted follow request last month about getting hard copies Secretary Clintons e-mails to/from accounts ending .gov thats quotes for her tenure the department. expectation. was hoping, but did not know, you know, how couldnt possibly have known how she would have responded. Okay. Bear with for moment sort through exhibits here.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification.) will give you moment look whats been marked Exhibit
You have had chance review it? Yes. Okay. Its e-mail string with Cheryl Mills, who was Secretary Clintons former Chief Staff, starting August 2014 and ending, looks like, September 2014. that fair description?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. Yes. Okay. just want point you to, you can the last pages the exhibit, where Ms. Mills e-mail dated August 22, (77 80) you see that?
Yes. Okay. Were you aware that August 2014 there had already been discussions between Ms. Mills and officials the State Department which Ms. Mills confirmed returning hard copies Secretary Clintons e-mails to/from accounts ending .gov? No. the drafting the letters that went out the former Secretaries, which believe you said was September and October 2014, Richard Visek, was involved that. Correct?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. dont recall. recollection they came from the Under Secretary Managements office. When you say, they came from the Under -19 They -20 you can -MR. GARDNER: Let her finish her question
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
THE WITNESS: Yeah. Yeah. you can clarify what you mean. The letters. Right. The drafts the letters. Okay. Thank you. Thats what meant. the drafts the letters came from the Under Secretarys office? recollection was they came from the Under from Pat Kennedys office -11 Okay. the Under Secretary for Management. Okay. And you received copies those drafts when they were being prepared. Correct? recall that did see drafts before they went out. Maybe not all them, but least the one Secretary Clinton and maybe the one Secretary Powell. Okay. From the Legal Advisors office, you know who was involved helping draft those letters?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack And vaguely remember the request relating not specifically the Secretarys e-mails, but more about e-mail addresses government officials. Thats what Okay. remember about it. Okay.
MS. COTCA: Can you mark this exhibit.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification.) Have you had chance review it? Yes. Okay. this the CREW request that you were referring to? believe so, yes. Okay. And just make sure that its clear, its request for records sufficient show the number e-mail accounts associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent which those e-mail accounts are identifiable those associated with foundation. dont recall. Okay. Going back briefly the CREW request.
You mentioned the FOIA request that was referenced the exhibit dont know which exhibit number that is.
MR. GARDNER: Are you talking about Exhibit
MS. COTCA: Exhibit Thank you. You referred the request the CREW request, and just want make sure are talking about the same thing.
What did you mean by, the CREW request? The CREW request that remember came prior arrival the State Department. think came December 2012.
And was government-wide request Anne Weismann, the Director CREW, Citizens Responsible for... believe its Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics Washington. (81 84) Secretary Clinton. that right? Yes. Okay. Back 2013 when you were having the discussions with Ms. Walter and the e-mail the communications reflected Exhibit were there any discussions about how you know, what efforts the State Department could take identify what e-mail accounts Secretary Clinton used?
And this asking after you saw the picture Secretary Clinton with the BlackBerry.
MR. GARDNER: Can you reask that question again. sorry, its slightly confusing the way its asked.
MS. COTCA: Sure.
MR. GARDNER: Thank you.
MS. COTCA: Sure. After you saw the picture Secretary Clinton with BlackBerry early 2013 what was the month again? June.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
June. Thank you.
2013. June 2013.
Were there any discussions within your office with State Department officials about what efforts undertake see there are e-mails, e-mail accounts associated with Secretary Clinton response the CREW request?
MR. GARDNER: the extent you can answer that question without disclosing privileged information, you may so. Otherwise, would instruct you not answer. Well, mentioned previously, you know, June 2013, after the photograph came out, tried figure out what that meant, the former Secretary holding BlackBerry; and also what addresses she might have had, did she have private, you know, government private government account. the same time and think its reflected Exhibit there were discussions about, has the CREW request been responded yet. Have you preparation for today, have you reviewed the State Departments response the CREW request? dont dont recall whether was shown not. Okay. think was advised that request had gone out. You mean response? response, excuse me. Sure. Not problem.
Well, cant find right now, but can talk about it. Were you aware the time -14 and the time frame June through August 2013, this time frame that the request went out saying there were responsive records, response the CREW request? No. Okay. dont recall it. did not recall remember seeing the response going out when went out. But wasnt you know, wasnt involved the response the CREW request.
And will tell you that when the started looking the CREW request case, there was some uncertainty, you know, whether not there response had even been, you know, issued all. now told that there there was response that had been, you know, issued.
But, again, that photograph kind stirred everything, and and were asking has and think Sheryl says Exhibit -12 has the response you know, what happened the CREW request. think there are two pieces that; theres the CREW request, but also our hunt for -16 again, for the ground truth whats behind Hillary Clintons BlackBerry, whats behind this address found the Gawker case. And was Ms. Walter who sent the response the CREW request? that your understanding? dont recall. (85 88) Okay. Okay. you see the e-mail from Ms. Finnegan Exhibit the first page, August dated August 2013, Ms. Walter, and ccing Gene Smilanksy?
MR. GARDNER: Sorry. Which e-mail? August
MS. COTCA: Its the second e-mail from the top.
MR. GARDNER: Okay. Ms. Finnegans e-mail Ms. Walter, August 2013, 5:12. you see that? Yes. Okay. you see that where Ms. Finnegan says that, Gene reports that did respond this request?
Were there did you that point August, when these discussions were had, did you recall being informed, even was after the fact, that Records response had been sent out CREW? dont recall.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 Okay. there reason you, Sheryl Walter, and Patrick Scholl, believe, sent out alert that Records response should not sent out for requests asking for Secretary Clintons e-mails, related her e-mails, there reason why was there corrected response submitted CREW August 2017 2013? No. Okay. Why not?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. dont recall. you you dont have copy the CREW request mean, the CREW response? co-counsel here just found it.
MR. GARDNER: Yay for co-counsels.
MS. BURKE: Thats right. just dont have copies.
MS. COTCA: Yeah. Well just give you
copy that have. Lets mark this exhibit. May May 10, 2013, what time are you referring to? May 10, 2013. When the response went out. Correct? Correct. Okay. But speaking after the response went out, and June 2013 you see this photograph Secretary Clinton holding BlackBerry, and that raises concern you and others your department.
And then theres notice sent out that Records response should not sent out anymore for FOIA requests relating Secretary Clintons e-mails.
Were there any discussions how
handle Records responses that had just gone out?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. dont recall. Okay. you think would have been appropriate send corrected response CREW, light the concerns that you raised
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification.) mean, this dated May 2013. Correct.
And, for the record, its signed Ms. Sheryl Walter. Correct? Its no, its not signed by. Its just signed Bolton. Oh, let see that. Which hes senior former foreign -12 Senior what? Former Foreign Service Officer. Okay. But within the office Sheryl Walter. that right? Correct. Okay. mean, didnt see this when this went out. But given that its prior the photograph, this may reflect the ground truth that was known about, you know, her e-mail that time. When youre saying, that time, (89 92) from June through August 2013?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. mean, CREW saw the same picture did June 2013, more than likely. Well, youre assuming that. well...
MR. GARDNER: Hes answering question.
MS. COTCA: Sorry.
MR. GARDNER: Let him finish his answer. Again, didnt know what that, you know, photograph meant. what would have told mean, just speculating what would have told CREW back then, were making correction. did not know what that photograph meant what even having e-mail private e-mail address hers meant back 2013. Okay. you just let sit was?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. John Hackett let sit, or... Your department. Well -22
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. you know, yeah, mean, dont know what say. Okay. What about when Secretary Clintons e-mail appeared the Gawker case; did you think would have been appropriate that time send corrected response CREW? cant speculate. Well, you sit here today.
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. Well, mean, again, dont think knew what that what that meant, that address meant. Well, you knew that the address meant that she e-mailed from that account for State Department work. Correct? Not relating the Gawker case, whatever case that was. knew that some employees times had personal e-mail address for Hillary Clinton, and that they might forward something her times. Thats the only thing that knew. record 12:29. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are going back the record 13:24. MS. COTCA: Mr. Hackett, believe left off talking about the Gawker request. question is, after you found out about Secretary Clintons personal e-mail account the Gawker case, around January 2014, what did you the Director IPS ensure that her e-mails were searched response FOIA? couple things. wasnt Director yet. was still Deputy Director January. 2014? 2014. Thank you for that. was spring 2014 became Acting Director.
And, again, you know, werent sure what this address meant. And think were Who were the employees that you knew? dont know. Whoever was that, you know, e-mail chain the case. that time did not know who those employees were. mean, the the gist that e-mail remember was one person saying the other person, dont use that remember, youre not supposed use that e-mail. But dont remember who those people were. think one them might have been Public Affairs. Okay.
MR. GARDNER: dont want cut you off from line questioning, but have been going for over hour, its about lunch time. Would now good time break?
MS. COTCA: Thats fine. fine break any time.
Would you like break now?
MS. COTCA: Okay.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are going off the (93 96) recollection is, were still trying gather information about least IPS was, about what this e-mail address, you know, meant.
Again, the records wasnt directly involved in. believe the Records Managers were whether was Tasha Thian maybe later Bill Fischer might have been trying pursue find out what, you know, that e-mail address meant.
But certainly did not know there were any records behind it. just knew was e-mail address and people did send her stuff, that time thought, occasion. Okay. And for those e-mails that would sent occasion, there anything that you did make sure that those were captured searches responding FOIA? that time, no. Okay. When did you begin doing something about it, ensure that they were being captured response FOIA? mean, didnt know what that
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019 e-mail address, you know, meant. didnt mean, you know, talking about this in, you know, hindsight, having the know.
But then January 2014, whenever the Gawker case, this kind one address popped out, still didnt know what that meant.
And recollection that there were either the Office Legal Advisor management were handling the helping handle try get, you know, the ground truth what that, you know, e-mail address meant.
But down level, you know, were going through Clarence, Mr. Finney, Clarence Finney, the Secretarys office. Clarence was talking the people the Secretarys office.
But thats the only thing were doing the only things could our level -19 the big State Department. Okay.
MS. COTCA: Mark this.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for believe so, yes. Okay. Why you believe so? mean, this September 2014. And believe there you know, there were probably discussions about the Secretarys records going then. Okay. you recall this e-mail? does this document refresh your recollection about the conversations thats reflected this document? its redacted. dont recall what the content is, no. Okay. you know what the fact finding reference Ms. Grafelds e-mail refers to?
MR. GARDNER: the extent you can answer that question without divulging privileged information, you may so. Otherwise, would instruct you not answer. dont recall. fair say that the fact finding this topic refers Secretary Clintons identification.) Okay. Have you had chance review it? Yes. Okay. This Exhibit And appears e-mail string, with the top e-mail from Margaret Grafeld, Eric Stein, Celeste Houser-Jackson, you, and William Fischer. that accurate? Correct. Okay. And there are additional individuals the line that didnt read out.
The subject matter records. you see that? Yes. Okay. Does that refer Secretary Clinton records? Yeah.
MR. GARDNER: Object.
Well -20
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack
foundation. (97 100)
100 records, based the Subject line the e-mail?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. cant say. mean, could Secretary Clintons records, could about record keeping the Secretarys office which was, you know, discussion around that time well. Fast-forward few months from this time period.
Secretary Clinton did fact return
records the State Department December. Correct? Correct. Okay. Can you tell well, were you involved were you involved picking and the collection Secretary Clintons e-mails from her attorneys? The actual physical picking them? No. Whatever process would laid out how pick up, how pick them up, cetera. The organization that directed that
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
101 time was responsible for picking the the e-mails. Okay. The boxes. Okay. And who your office picked the boxes? believe believe was Bill Fischer. And what was his position your department? believe recollection and changed jobs. But that period time believe was the agencys records officer. Okay. you recall the date that the boxes were picked with Secretary Clintons e-mails? was December 2014, first second week. cant was the 12th December. dont want you guess. cant remember. dont -21 will show you something that may refresh your recollection.
103 the third e-mail from the top, with the Subject line, HRC pick-up?
And you state, HRCs attorneys have paperwork they have created for Bill sign the time the pick-up. you see that? Yes. Okay. What the pick-up thats referred your e-mail there? pick the boxes. And thats the boxes Secretary Clintons e-mails? Yes. Okay. And that was was that done -15 then done December 2014? dont know the exact date. Okay. you recall the discussion about draft something that her attorneys and her mean Secretary Clinton wanted Mr. Fischer sign the time the pick-up? dont recall that, no. Okay.
102 Sure.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) Have you had chance look it? Yes. Okay. And its marked Exhibit
The bottom sticker there. Yes. Okay. Thank you. And can you and this this appears e-mail string between you and Eric Stein December 2014. that right? Yes. Okay. you remember the substance the conversation thats reflected these e-mails? No, dont. reading this, refreshing your recollection all? No. you see the your e-mail Friday, December 2014, time stamped 10:00 a.m., which (101 104)
MS. COTCA: Well mark this Exhibit
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) you can look Exhibit 10, and let know when you have finished reviewing it. Okay. Have you seen this, copy this document before? dont recall. Okay. appears Acknowledgment Receipt, signed William Fischer 12/5/14, 12:40 p.m. that fair say? Thats what the document reflects, yes. Okay. And the bullet points this, lists Box through 12. you see that? Yes. Okay. Are these the boxes that contained the e-mails that were returned Secretary Clinton?
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
105 mean, according this receipt, they are. Okay. you have any reason believe that this receipt not accurate? No. Okay. you know this the draft the document that Secretary Clinton wanted Mr. Fischer sign the time the pick-up? dont know. Okay. Was this created Secretary -11 the State Department -MR. GARDNER: Objection. this document?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. you know. dont recall. Okay. Okay. Back Exhibit Mr. Stein asked whether Mr. Fischer should have lawyer with him.
And you responded 10:02 a.m., might good idea.
107 Would you have been informed shortly that same day that let you know that the boxes had and did get picked up? Yes. Okay. think remember that they contacted when they returned our building that they had been picked up. Okay. With respect Secretary Clintons return her e-mails, when were you first informed when did you first know that she would returning records the State Department? Can you can ask you kind reframe the question? knew when she would returning something, e-mails, when the boxes appeared. Right. Now, the other part that is, did not know that they were records, the department records, until much later. What did what did you believe them
106 you recall why you said may
for Mr. Fischer have lawyer with him? think you know, didnt know what they wanted wanted sign. And, so, just wanted see ahead time. also were having discussions amongst ourselves about, should have them sign receipt that came with. this why kind unfamiliar with the these documents and just dont remember them. Okay. Did you have receipts that the State Department asked for them, assuming you meant Secretary Clintons attorneys sign. Right? Correct. But dont recall. Okay. All right. Once the documents were picked up, how soon when were you first notified that the e-mails the boxes had been picked up? dont recall. (105 108)
108 when they were picked up? just knew that they were e-mails. And other, you know dont even remember this, the list register.
But did not look them for least month after they came in. Okay. But question is, after the drafts were prepared for the letters out Secretary Clinton and the former Secretaries October time frame 2014, and before these boxes were picked up, when were you first made aware that there would boxes any materials that would need picked returned Secretary Clinton response Patrick Kennedys letter? recollection was not until just before were supposed and pick these boxes up. when you mean just before, you
mean matter few days, and dont want put words your mouth.
But you can clarify what you mean by,
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
109 just before. think couple days just prior Mr. Fischer going pick the boxes. Okay. And that point was there process place with respect what with these records once they are delivered the State Department? No. Okay. Were there discussions about what with the records once they are delivered the State Department? Yes. Okay. Can you tell about those discussions?
MR. GARDNER: And the extent you can
divulging privileged information, obviously you may so. the extent you cant, would instruct you not answer. Well, any discussions about what with the material came after their arrival. And the first thing was told was Margaret
111 substance the conversation, did you converse with State Department attorneys that Secretary Clintons records had been returned the State Department?
Without identifying whether theyre federal records not.
MR. GARDNER: youre just asking for yes answer?
MR. GARDNER: Okay. you understand
that? dont recall conversation with anybody the Office Legal Advisor that time about... What about anybody, any the attorneys this current case?
MR. GARDNER: Again, you can answer that with yes no. Yes.
MR. GARDNER: Without getting into the
substance conversations. December 2014, when these first
110 Grafeld, was nothing with them; that they were put put her conference room and they were remain there. the same time copies were going also made, additional copies, sets these records. But from processing standpoint, they were remained determination had had not been made whether these were records the State Department. How did these records impact your department the time that they were delivered the State Department the context responding FOIA requests?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. Initially they didnt have impact all, because there was some discussion within the department.
Again, was told not anything with them, discussion went regarding whether these were personal considered personal e-mails not, versus State Department records. Okay. Now, without getting into the (109 112)
112 came in? said, mean, these were were told not anything with them. understand that. just trying understand you had just want know you had any communications with the attorneys this case about the fact that these boxes were collected that contained e-mails from Secretary Clinton? dont recall. Okay. You mentioned that copies were made the material. that right? Yes. Okay. What can you tell more about what the copies were made for, and whom what departments they were provided to? recollection, there were two three sets that were made. One went the Legislative Affairs office. And think another went -20 Office Legal Advisor got set. And cant remember where the third there might have been another set, where that went.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
113 may have gotten duplicate set. we, you mean IPS? IPS, yes. Sorry. Okay. And then what about Mr. Finneys office; did get copy? Yes. Okay. And why was copy provided Mr. Finneys office?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Lack foundation. think that eventually copy was provided Mr. Finneys office, after made determination that these were government records and that they should incorporated into the records the Secretarys office. Okay. And when was that determination made? think the appraisal conducted Mr. Fischer was not completed until February. Okay. 2015. Okay. once the are you are you
115 second week January.
Why did take nearly six weeks, five six weeks, for you look through the boxes see what these records were? had instructions from Margaret Grafeld
not touch these records. And that she also told that time that there were discussions going the department regarding whether not these should considered federal records, and that wasnt anything with them. Okay. sorry. Were you going say something else? No. Okay. next followup was going be, you know why Ms. Grafeld instructed you not touch them?
But think you just answered the question. because the discussion, some other reason? was because the discussion. Okay. And discussion, thats within the department, whether these should considered
114 saying that once the appraisal was completed, thats when the determination was made? cant cant remember the chronology when.
The boxes came December 2014. Other than copying them, one looked the content those boxes, far know, IPS until looked them early January, the first second week January. the end January performed briefing the Under Secretary Management about some the topics, more the records -13 the records content. Basically telling him that thought these were definitely records the department, and showed him examples.
And then that kicked off formal appraisal, based the National Archives rules, performed Mr. Fischer. And that was not completed had team, and that wasnt completed until February. Okay. then want focus when you started looking these records first (113 116)
116 federal records? Correct. Okay. you know who was involved those discussions? dont. dont know. Did you raise any concerns Ms. Grafeld about the fact that you had boxes documents that you didnt know whether they should included responding FOIAs the time? raised that concern after looked one the boxes. First second week January? Correct. And what did Ms. Grafeld how did she respond your concern? recollection is, she instructed prepare briefing for the Under Secretary Management and the Assistant Secretary about what had found. Okay. before you looked through the boxes the first week second week January, did you have another conversation with Ms. Grafeld
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
117 where she permitted you look through the boxes? what prompted you look through them the first second week January? She told first Peggy told not anything with the boxes. Uh-huh. think took some time off, you know, for the holidays. And then came back either the first week January. And there was she told me, Why havent you been looking the boxes. went and, like, opened one the boxes look and see what was there. Did you respond Ms. Grafeld, thought you told not look them? how did that conversation go? dont recall that. But just went and started looking the boxes. Okay. Did did you look through all the boxes? No. kind save time and and because pending congressional (117 120)
119 Excuse me. think there were draft certainly drafts sent her regarding issues. specifically asking about drafts that she may have had, that she may have been working on. dont recall that. Okay. you recall Secretary Clinton returned any memos with the material that was returned December 2014? No, dont recall that. Okay. How about any notes? dont recall that, no. Okay. discussion was held off the record.)
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification.) MS. COTCA: You have had chance look it? Sure. Sure. you recognize this document?
Have you seen copy before? Yes.
120 interest and FOIA requests, FOIA litigation, went the boxes the box that might cover the Benghazi period, September December 2012. that because the time frame? Yes. Okay. And far you know, did the boxes just contain e-mails, were there any other type documents that were included the boxes? The boxes contained mostly e-mails, though. And recollection that one box, think they were mostly e-mails.
Now, whether these the non-mail material were attachments there were other kinds documents there, that dont recall. And just dont recall. you know Secretary Clinton returned drafts part the boxes that were returned the State Department? dont recall. dont recall. How about Okay. Can you tell what is? This these are two pages, believe, bigger timeline chronology e-mail practices the department, believe. The e-mail practices the department, youre saying thats thats the subject matter the main document, just this document Exhibit 11?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. mean, Ive seen document havent seen just these two pages. have seen bigger document from and dates from 2015. And its and its from the 1990s 2015, about all the e-mail collections the former Secretaries. Okay. this something that you helped prepare? dont recall. probably reviewed it, but didnt prepare it. Okay. Okay. Thats all had that one. like switch focus little bit -22
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
121 Okay. still same time frame, but what was happening this lawsuit during this time. Okay. you you recall when you were first informed this lawsuit? was probably when came in, 2014. Okay. you recall when that would have been? dont recall. Okay. just remember coming in. was very similar your other case relating the and this issue. And youre youre speaking about previous FOIA request that requested pretty much identical records, but from different office? Correct. From the State Department. Correct? Correct. Yes.
MS. COTCA: Can you mark this Exhibit...
123 which department? IPS. Okay. thats the Litigation Division that you earlier discussed saying once Complaint filed within IPS, would into the Litigation Branch, think you referred as? Correct. Okay. Thats the same branch that were talking about? says down here the bottom, Chief, Litigation and Appeals Branch. Okay. Thank you. you know who Cristina whos referenced this e-mail? Cristina was one the analysts the Litigation and Appeals Branches. Okay. Then how about Monica?
Where says, Monica will handling this case for IPS and Jamie for L/M, who the Monica? have forgotten Monicas last name. But
MR. GARDNER: Exhibit 12.
MS. COTCA: Exhibit 12. Thank you.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) Okay. Have you had chance review it? Yes. Okay. And this appears e-mail from Susan Weetman, several people and another e-mail address, but also you. that that fair? Yes. Okay. And this appears note -14 her notifying you this new Complaint that was filed this case. that right? Yes. Okay. this the first would this have been the first notice you would have received about this this case once had been filed? Yes. Okay. Who Ms. Weetman, Susan Weetman? She works the Litigation Division. (121 124)
124 she again, she was another analyst who was handling this case. Okay. And then Jamie; you know who that is? Jamie would Jamie Bair. Okay. attorney the Office Legal Advisor. Okay. Then once you received the notification about the Complaint having been filed, what did you next with respect the handling this case? mean, dont recall. mean, this was being handled folks the Litigation Branch, and... But the Litigation Branch was still within your department. Correct? Correct. Okay. But the Litigation Branch -21 within another division, and that person worked for me.
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
125 there was division, forgot the name the division, the chief the Litigation and Appeals Branch was piece that division. Okay. That was bigger division, still within IPS? Correct. Okay. there were several layers? Correct. Okay. You are aware, though, that search had been conducted the case once the Complaint was filed? mean, aware the search. mean, signed search Declaration this case. Okay. Now, the time frame when the searches were done, cant recall. Okay. And dont want trick you. So... Okay. All right. have copy your Declaration, that would helpful you -22 Great.
127 know, correspondence with. Okay. And what did you preparing for this Declaration thats been marked Exhibit what did you gather the information here? mean, personally did not gather any the information. mean, was tasked out, like explained, you know, before. The search was tasked out? Yes. Okay. But what asking about is, with respect compiling and know what would into your Declaration. How did you gather the information?
So, for example, when you preparation for this, did you seek out Monica believe Monica Tillery, who was the analyst.
Did you seek Ms. Tillery and speak her what she did the tasking process? Normally process would speak Ms. Weetman her boss, Karen Finnegan Meyers. And they would walk through, you know, the
126 answering some these questions.
(Hackett Deposition Exhibit marked for identification.) discussion was held off the record.) Okay. You have had chance review it? Sure. Well, not all pages. If... Okay. Well, just want make sure that were talk speaking about the same Declaration.
Have you had chance review make sure this your Declaration you submitted this case? believe its Page the document, your signature. looks like signature, yes. Okay. Just very quickly, going the previous exhibit, Ms. Weetmans e-mail. you know what the IPS-FOIA
Litigation-DL the line, what that refers to? believe thats just Outlook e-mail group that, when something comes in, share, you (125 128)
128 search.
And sometimes would work would work with the attorneys, both the State attorneys and the Justice Department attorneys, specific case. Okay. But how did you know so, okay,
lets Paragraph 10, describing, September 2014, Management Analyst conducted search S/ES-S electronic record systems. you see that? Thats -10 Yes. Okay. what did you collect that information? mean, dont recall. was probably mean, the Litigation Division probably walked through how they tasked out this case the folks the department, the Secretarys office; and and, you know -19 and told what systems that they had searched. Okay. Okay. Paragraph 10, then, that how you knew that search had been conducted September 2014?
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
129 Yes. Okay. Who the Management Analyst referenced Paragraph 10? dont recall. Would that have been Mr. Finney, Clarence Finney? may have been Clarence, may have been the other person that worked with Clarence. dont want speculate. might have been Jonathan have forgotten his last name. Jonathan Wasser? may have been, but dont know. Okay. dont recall. Okay. Paragraph you stated that, September 23, furtherance this process -17 which was responding the FOIA request the Secretarys office also searched e-mail accounts three individuals and they are Cheryl Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and Huma Abedin -21 within the Office the Secretary. you see that?
131 September 2014 did you inquire whether e-mails were searched for e-mails Secretary Clinton from the e-mail account disclosed the Gawker case response this case? No. Why not? Again, me, IPS, was only you know, was only e-mail address. Okay. knew nothing behind it; you know, whether was personal had knowledge that she was using for government purposes. Well, appeared one responsive record, least, the Gawker case. Right? would have back and look that. appeared that somebody had copied her e-mail, yeah. Okay. When was the search concluded this case? Let rephrase that.
When was the initial search concluded this case thats referenced Paragraph and
130 Yes. Okay. Why were the e-mail accounts these individuals searched? Potentially they had Benghazi-related records relating might responsive the request. Okay. their e-mails could potentially responsive Judicial Watchs FOIA request. Right? Correct. Okay. Did you that point inquire whether e-mails were searched for Secretary Clintons e-mail account that was disclosed the Gawker case?
And speaking the time frame September 2013. No. 2014, excuse me.
MR. GARDNER: favor. Can you just reask the question, have clear question and answer.
MS. COTCA: Sure. (129 132)
132 11? think says Paragraph that searches were completed September 23, 2014. Okay. And then when were the responsive records produced that resulted from that search? looks like November 12, 2014. Okay. During this time frame between September and November 2014, did you make any request that Secretary Clintons e-mails that were going provided the Hill that were responsive related Benghazi should searched this case? Can you repeat the question again. Did you make any requests once you found out that there were e-mails from Secretary Clinton that related Benghazi, did you request that those e-mails searched response this request?
MR. GARDNER: Objection, foundation.
form. little bit confused. Because September 2014 there was congressional document
Transcript John Francis Hackett
Conducted May 31, 2019
133 production. And never saw the e-mails that went part that document production, and only learned them after the fact. knew knew that there were Hillary-Clinton-related items that were going the Hill. two three, whats called, call sheets her calls foreign leaders after Benghazi. never saw any e-mails that went the Hill. didnt have personal knowledge that.
But these me, these were two kind separate things, separate issues. Okay. lets backtrack little bit. believe your testimony earlier today was, August 2014 you learned that some her documents would going the Hill about Benghazi, the Benghazi well, you didnt identify which committee the Hill including call sheets. But some would include e-mails from Secretary Clinton?
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. But never mean, dont think
135 that out, happy that.
THE WITNESS: Maybe maybe should take break.
MR. GARDNER: have been going for about hour anyway. Why dont take break.
MS. COTCA: Okay.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are going off the record 14:26. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the record 14:50.
MR. GARDNER: Thank you. Counsel, while were the break, Mr. Hackett informed that had correction clarification the record. just ask Mr. Hackett forward and that.
THE WITNESS: Thank you. going back the congressional production that was made August, September 2014. recollection is, one the attorneys approached me. And think was giving
134 said this day dont know what those e-mails were. Fair enough. Yeah. understand you never saw them.
But you were made aware that there were
from Secretary Clinton about Benghazi that were being sent the Hill August 2014.
MR. GARDNER: Objection. Form. that fair?
MR. GARDNER: Sorry. Objection. Form. recollection and actually, and this discussion with one the department attorneys -MR. GARDNER: Well, then, hold on.
MS. COTCA: Without divulging -16 -MR. GARDNER: the extent that you can answer counsels question without divulging privileged information, you may so. Otherwise, would instruct you not answer.
And need take break figure (133 136)
136 heads-up that five documents were going released the Hill, and they related Hillary Clinton. And two three them were call sheets, but never knew what the others were.
And assumed they were e-mails, only because these later flurry activity from Public Affairs, you know, that think had told you about before. That where they were asking that they thought there was going press about Hillary Clintons e-mails. MS. COTCA: Did you ask mean, did you ask the