Judicial Watch Deposition Testimony of Former State IT Official John Bentel in Clinton Email Lawsuit
SEPTEMBER 14, 2016
Hillary Clinton Seeks Two Additional Weeks to Respond to Email Questions
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that it has scheduled the deposition of John Bentel, the State Department’s former Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat (“S/ES-IRM”), the office that handles information technology for the Office of the Secretary. The deposition ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is scheduled for October 24 at 10am. Judicial Watch also announced today that Judicial Watch and Hillary Clinton’s attorneys agreed that Hillary Clinton would have two additional weeks – until October 13 — to produce written, sworn answers under oath to pending Judicial Watch questions.
Judicial Watch requested Bentel’s deposition as part of a request for additional discovery into the Clinton email matter.
In U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s August 19, 2016, ruling granting the Judicial Watch’s request, the judge cited significant discrepancies in Bentel previous statements on the Clinton non-state.gov email system:
The Court is persuaded that Mr. Bentel should be deposed because the record in this case appears to contradict his sworn testimony before the [House Select] Benghazi Committee. . . . Specifically, Mr. Bentel testified that he was not aware that Secretary Clinton’s email account was housed on a private server until media reports in 2015. . . . However, several emails indicate Mr. Bentel knew about the private server as early as 2009.
Judge Sullivan also wrote that Bentel should be deposed because a May, 2016 Inspector General’s report found:
Mr. Bentel told employees in his office that Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement had been approved by the State Department’s legal staff and also instructed his subordinates not to discuss the Secretary’s email again:
In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements. According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. . . . According to the other S/ES-IRM staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.
On August 30, Judicial Watch submitted questions to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concerning her email practices. Clinton’s answers, under oath, were due on September 29. Last week, Hillary Clinton requested from Judicial Watch two additional weeks to respond because of the unavailability of counsel and the press of campaign business, among other reasons. Her sworn answers are now due October 13. (Judge Sullivan ordered Clinton to answer the questions “by no later than thirty days thereafter….” )
The Bentel deposition and Clinton discovery questions arise in a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit first filed in September 2013 seeking records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).
Judicial Watch has already taken the deposition testimony of seven Clinton aides and State Department officials.
For further information on this case, click here.