Judicial Watch: Court Will Review Clinton Emails over Objections of Tillerson State Department and Sessions Justice Department
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a federal judge will personally review, in camera, redacted material from emails discussing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of iPads and iPhones during her tenure at the State Department. Judge Kollar-Kotelly also ordered the State Department to file an affidavit addressing why it should not have to search new Clinton emails recovered. In taking these steps, the court rejected arguments by the Tillerson State Department and its lawyers at the Sessions Justice Department.
The court will review the blacked-out information so as to better ascertain whether the government misconduct exception would require the release of the full emails. Generally speaking, the government misconduct exception prevents government agencies from withholding information that would shed light on government wrongdoing under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The September 21 court order comes in connection with an April 28, 2015, FOIA lawsuit filed after the State Department failed to respond to a March 10, 2015, request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00646)). Judicial Watch is seeking:
- All records of requests by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or her staff to the State Department Office Security Technology seeking approval for the use of an iPad or iPhone for official government business; and
- All communications within or between the Office of the Secretary of State, the Executive Secretariat, and the Office of the Secretary and the Office of Security Technology concerning, regarding, or related to the use of unauthorized electronic devices for official government business.
In March 2016, Judicial Watch obtained State Department documents in this case showing Cheryl Mills’ (Clinton’s then-chief of staff) efforts with the National Security Agency to address Clinton’s demands for a secure BlackBerry.
In a related case, Judicial Watch released an email showing that National Security Agency personnel had denied Clinton’s requests for a BlackBerry, telling Clinton staff to “shut up and color.”
In June 2017, Judicial Watch submitted new evidence to the court showing that Clinton knowingly used an unsecure BlackBerry device despite being warned by “security hawks” against doing so.
“Hillary Clinton knowingly used an unsecure email system and risky iPads and smartphones to conduct classified and sensitive government business,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is frankly outrageous that Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions allow their agencies to cover up for and defend Hillary Clinton’s scandalous and potentially criminal conduct.”