Judicial Watch Sues to Force Damage Assessment of Hillary Clinton’s Mishandling of Classified Emails
Lawsuit asks court to declare Defendants’ failure to conduct a damage assessment of Clinton’s email practices and prepare a report to be unlawful
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch filed suit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Department of State to require them to conduct, as required by law, an assessment and prepare a report on how and whether Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email practices as U.S. Secretary of State damaged national security.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, cites the requirement in Intelligence Community Directive (“ICD”) 732, issued on June 27, 2014, that a damage assessment be conducted whenever there is “an actual or suspected unauthorized disclosure or compromise of classified national intelligence that may cause damage to U.S. national security” ICD 732(D)(2) (Judicial Watch v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence et al. (No. 1:17-cv-00508)).
The suit specifically refers to FBI Director James Comey’s statement on July 5, 2016, concerning Clinton’s use of an unsecure email account while conducting official State Department business:
From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 emails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.
Despite the FBI findings and the requirements of Intelligence Community Directive 732, however, the suit argues that: “On or about September 14, 2016, ODNI announced that no Intelligence Community-wide damage assessment into Secretary Clinton’s email practices would be conducted and that no individual Intelligence Community member would conduct such an assessment.”
In addition to the ODNI and the State Department, the suit names Michael Dempsey in his official capacity as acting director of national intelligence, William Evanina in his official capacity as national counterintelligence executive, and Rex W. Tillerson in his official capacity as U.S. secretary of state.
Judicial Watch has made repeated requests for information concerning any ODNI investigation of Clinton’s email practices:
- On September 16, 2016, Judicial Watch sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to ODNI seeking access to records about the decision not to conduct the required assessment.
- When ODNI failed to respond to the request within the time required by FOIA, Judicial Watch filed suit. As of the date of this complaint, ODNI still has not produced any responsive records.
- On January 10, 2017, Judicial Watch sent a letter to then-Director Clapper, National Counterintelligence Executive Evanina, and then-Secretary John Kerry formally requesting that “the damage assessment required by ICD 732 be commenced without further delay.”
To date Judicial Watch has received no response to its January 10, 2017, request for a damage assessment, and Judicial Watch is not aware of any report or announcement indicating that the assessment and resulting report required by ICD 732 has been conducted or prepared. Judicial Watch is therefore asking the court to:
[O]rder Defendants to conduct the required damage assessment and prepare a report in accordance with ICD 732 …
“The Obama administration conspired with Hillary Clinton regarding her emails, so it is no surprise that Obama officials wouldn’t want to hold her to account for her mishandling of classified materials,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This lawsuit is an opportunity for the Trump administration to get back to basics on the Clinton email scandal and find out what damage was done to our national security as a result of her illicit email practices.”