Judicial Watch Files Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit Seeking Documents Cited in OIG Report
SEPTEMBER 08, 2016
‘[O]ne email exchange occurring shortly before Secretary Clinton joined the Department [of State] that demonstrated a reluctance to communicate the requirement [of printing and filing email records] to incoming staff.’ – Office of Inspector General Report
(Washington DC)—Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain records regarding an email exchange that took place before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took office citing a “reluctance to communicate the requirement [of printing and filing email records] to incoming staff.” The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:16-cv-01592)).
The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed on August 25, 2016, after the Department of State failed to comply with a June 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking access to the following:
- An email exchange mentioned on page 14 of an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report entitled “Office of the Secretary: Evaluation of Email Records Management and Cybersecurity Requirements.”
- All records concerning, regarding the January 2009 memorandum from Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy entitled “Memorandum for All Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Executive Directors and Post Management Officers: Preserving Electronically the Email of Senior Officials Upon Their Departure.”
The Inspector General report evaluated the security of email records at the State Department and cybersecurity risks from any mishandling of those records. The report recorded the investigation of the email communication from every Secretary of State since Madeline Albright.
The email exchange of the report, as referenced in the lawsuit, stated: “OIG identified one email exchange occurring shortly before Secretary Clinton joined the Department [of State] that demonstrated a reluctance to communicate the requirement [of printing and filing email records] to incoming staff.” The State Department has not produced this email exchange.
The Inspector General report states that only three State Department officials relied exclusively on private email systems to conduct official business—Clinton being one of them. The report also states that other State Department employees were aware of Clinton’s use of private email servers to conduct official Department business.
The report concludes with recommendations from various officials offering their suggestions about how to fix the State Department’s flawed system of recording official email communiqué.
“The State Department has a duty to the American people to produce these records,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This is further proof that the State Department is covering up for Hillary Clinton’s deliberate decision to hide her emails from public scrutiny even before she assumed office.”