MARCH 18, 2016
Judicial Watch Submits Proposed Witness List, Discovery Plan to Federal Court in Clinton Email Matter
National Security Agency Rebuffed Clinton Request for Blackberry
Obama Plays Politics on Supreme Court Nomination
Your Judicial Watch took another important step forward in our massive effort to find out the truth about the Clinton email scandal we uncovered one year ago.
Earlier this week, we filed a plan for “narrowly tailored discovery” into the former secretary of state’s email matter with a federal court. Judicial Watch’s discovery plan seeks the testimony of eight current and former State Department officials, including top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano, and Clinton’s two top aides at the State Department: Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. Judicial Watch’s plan says that “based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary” but would only occur with permission by the Court.
During a court hearing on February 23, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted Judicial Watch’s motion into whether the State Department and Clinton deliberately thwarted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for six years. The discovery arises in a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit that seeks 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 seeks testimony from:
Stephen D. Mull (Executive Secretary of the State Department from June 2009 to October 2012 and suggested that Mrs. Clinton be issued a State Department BlackBerry, which would protect her identity and would also be subject to FOIA requests);
Lewis A. Lukens (Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat from 2008 to 2011 and emailed with Patrick Kennedy and Cheryl Smith about setting up a computer for Mrs. Clinton to check her clintonemail.com email account);
Patrick F. Kennedy (Under Secretary for Management since 2007 and the Secretary’s principal advisor on management issues, including technology and information services);
Donald R. Reid (Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure, Bureau of Diplomatic Security since 2003 and was involved in early discussions about Mrs. Clinton using her BlackBerry and other devices to conduct official State Department business);
30(b)(6) deposition(s) of Defendant [designated witness(es) for the State Department] regarding the processing of FOIA requests, including Plaintiff’s FOIA request, for emails of Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin both during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and after;
Cheryl D. Mills (Mrs. Clinton’s Chief of Staff throughout her four years as Secretary of State);
Huma Abedin (Mrs. Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff and a senior advisor to Mrs. Clinton throughout her four years as Secretary of State and also had an email account on clintonemail.com); and
Bryan Pagliano (State Department Schedule C employee who has been reported to have serviced and maintained the server that hosted the “clintonemail.com” system during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State four years as secretary).
With respect to testimony of Clinton, the Judicial Watch court filing states:
Based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary. If [Judicial Watch] believes Mrs. Clinton’s testimony is required, it will request permission from the Court at the appropriate time.
Judicial Watch also seeks court approval of written questions requiring answers under oath by the State Department:
Who was responsible for processing and/or responding to record requests, including FOIA requests, concerning emails of Mrs. Clinton and other employees of the Office of the Secretary;
Who was responsible for the inventorying or other accounting of Mrs. Clinton’s and Ms. Abedin’s emails, records, and information;
Who was responsible for responding to Plaintiff’s FOIA request from the date of submission to the present; and
Which State Department officials and employees had and/or used an account on the clintonemail.com system to conduct official government business.
Judicial Watch also seeks testimony from a 30 (b)(6) witness or witnesses who can provide testimony on behalf of the State Department on the following issues:
the creation or establishment of the clintonemail.com system as well as any maintenance, service, or support provided by the State Department of that system;
the knowledge or awareness of State Department officials and employees about the existence and use of the clintonemail.com system;
any instructions or directions given to State Department officials and employees about communicating with Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin via email;
any inquiries into Mrs. Clinton’s use of the clintonemail.com system as well as any discussions about responding to such inquiries or publicly revealing the existence and use of the clintonemail.com system to the public; and
the inventorying or other accounting of Mrs. Clinton’s and Ms. Abedin’s email upon their departure from the State Department.
The Judicial Watch plan requests only eight weeks to conduct the requested depositions. Judge Sullivan will rule on Judicial Watch’s proposed discovery plan after April 15.
This discovery will help Judicial Watch get all of the facts behind Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama State Department’s thwarting of FOIA so that the public can be sure that all of the emails from her illicit email system are reviewed and released to the public as the law requires.
And that’s why the Clinton machine’s response this week was to again attack Judicial Watch. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton told The Washington Post:
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said, “This is the same right-wing organization that has been repeatedly attacking the Clintons without success since the 1990s, and they are clearly going to pull out all the stops to try to hurt the secretary’s presidential campaign.”
JW won’t apologize for pursuing Clinton corruption through the years. And, of course, if we weren’t “successful” then Hillary Clinton would have all her emails still secret from the public! This response goes to shows Hillary Clinton thinks she is above the law. It is incredible, however unsurprising, she would attack us for pursuing questions asked by a federal judge.
I expect the attacks by Clinton and her allies will only get worse, especially if Judge Sullivan authorizes our attorneys to begin questioning people close to her. Please be sure to stand with us in the coming weeks and months as we face this onslaught both in the press and in the courts.
National Security Agency Rebuffed Clinton Request for Blackberry
Apparently, there is at least one government agency that understands Hillary Clinton is not above the law and must follow the rules like the rest of us. Your JW has just obtained State Department documents revealing that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly sought to obtain “Blackberry-like communications,” but was rebuffed by the National Security Agency due to security and cost concerns. The National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate response was “shut up and color.” The emails show that Clinton demanded Blackberry devices that could be used by her and her staff in her office’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
The documents were obtained in response to a court order in an April 28, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, filed after the Department of State failed to comply with a March 10, 2015, FOIA request seeking following:
Any and 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
Any 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 an email dated February 13, 2009, Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure, Bureau of Diplomatic Security Donald R. Reid reveals that the request to obtain secure Blackberry technology for Clinton was denied. When Clinton aides sought to compel the NSA’s cooperation by asking about the security arrangements for President Obama’s Blackberry, the exchange apparently became heated. According to Reid:
[W]e began examining options for S [Secretary Clinton] with respect to secure “Blackberry-like” communications … the current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State and is very expensive…each time we asked the question “What was the solution for POTUS?” we were politely told to shut up and color … NSA opened the door for us to establish requirements and they would try to help…
While our noses are out of joint for how this was handled, the issue will be what kind of support will NSA be offering to meet S demands (basically, wireless comm in Mahogany Row) …
In a subsequent email from Reid dated February 18, 2009, Clinton’s penchant for Blackberry technology is described as an issue of “personal comfort” growing out of her becoming “hooked” on her Blackberry during the 2008 presidential campaign:
Here’s the results of our meeting yesterday… as I had been speculating, the issue here is one of personal comfort … S [Secretary Clinton] does not use a personal computer so our view of someone wedded to their email (why doesn’t she use her desktop when in SCIF?) doesn’t fit this scenario … during the campaign she was urged to keep in contact with thousands via a BB … once she got the hang of it she was hooked … now everyday [sic], she feels hamstrung because she has to lock her BB up … she does go out several times a day to an office they have crafted for her outside the SCIF and plays email catch up … Cheryl Mills and others who are dedicated BB addicts are frustrated because they too are not near their desktop very often during the working day…
The February 17, 2009 meeting details showed that Hillary Clinton was personally pushing for a special Blackberry device:
Meeting: Ms. Mills described the requirement as chiefly driven by Secretary Clinton, who does not use standard computer equipment but relies exclusively on her Blackberry for e-mailing and remaining in contact on her schedule, etc. Ideally, all members of her suite would be allowed to use Blackberries for communication in the SCIF; [Redacted] was not the primary driver, but if possible would be a plus.
Apparently, Blackberry security waivers were issued during the tenure of former Secretary of State of State Condoleezza Rice, according to an email from an unidentified, redacted source dated February 17, 2009. But because the high volume of these waivers became an issue, they were phased out over time. The unnamed source wrote:
Ms. Mills has witnessed the use of Blackberries in other sensitive (but perhaps not SCI fed spaces); she asked some excellent questions about what might be possible and prudent. She also asked about precedent; former Secretary Rice had received waivers for her staff; however, use expanded to an unmanageable number of users from a security perspective, so those waivers were phased out and Blackberry use was not allowed in her suite …
These documents show that Hillary Clinton knew her Blackberry wasn’t secure. So then, we have to ask, why did she use it to access classified information on her illicit email server? The FBI and prosecutors ought to be very interested in these new materials.
These new revelations received much deserved attention – and tell you why Hillary Clinton is obsessed with attacking us as “right wing.” The Associated Press account of our find was devastating, with simple factual reporting:
Newly released emails show a 2009 request to issue a secure government smartphone to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was denied by the National Security Agency.
A month later, she began using private email accounts accessed through her BlackBerry to exchange messages with her top aides.
By the way, she used these “private” accounts despite additional warnings on security! Recall, we reported a few months ago, that in March 2009, Clinton was personally warned on the issue. It is worth quoting our prior report to you at length:
Judicial Watch released new documents, obtained as the result of a federal court order, containing more than 50 State Department internal emails from 2009 and 2011 warning of serious security concerns involving the use of “highly vulnerable” Blackberries by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff in the executive offices of the Foggy Bottom headquarters.
Keep in mind what this means for our nation’s security. An un-secured Blackberry or other Internet device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) are vulnerable to all sorts of hacking that could create opportunities for hostile foreign powers and non-state actors.
The new State records included a March 2, 2009, internal memorandum from Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell entitled “Use of Blackberries on Mahogany Row,” in which he strongly advised that the devices not be allowed. According to the Boswell memo, sent to then-Secretary of State Clinton and her Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, “the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of Blackberries in Mahogany Row [seventh floor executive offices] considerably outweigh their convenience.” Clinton has admitted she used a Blackberry during her early days in office despite Boswell’s memo with explicit written objections.
When Boswell’s internal memo was issued on March 2, 2009, it strongly warned of the security risks involved in the use of Blackberries by Clinton and her staff:
INFORMATION MEMO FOR CHERYL D. MILLS – S
FROM: DS – Eric J. Boswell
SUBJECT: Use of Blackberries in Mahogany Row
Our review reaffirms our belief that the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of Blackberries in the Mahogany Row [REDACTED] considerably outweigh the convenience their use can add to staff that have access to the classified OpenNet system on their desktops. [RECACTED] We also worry about the example that using Blackberries in Mahogany Row might set as we strive to promote crucial security practices and enforce important security standards among State Department staff.
I cannot stress too strongly, however, that any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving e-mails, and exploiting calendars.
Leaving no doubt that Clinton was fully aware of the deep security concerns surrounding the Blackberry security issue early on, a March 11, 2009, email reads, “After this mornings ‘management meeting’ with the A/Secys, Secretary Clinton approached Ambassador Boswell [United States Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security] and mentioned that she had read the IM and that she ‘gets it.’ Her attention was drawn to the sentence that indicates we (DS) have intelligence concerning the vulnerability during her recent trip to Asia.” [Emphasis in original]
Is there more to come? Yes. More documents on this issue came in today, and we will report and share the details with you next week. In the meantime, consider this report from John Schindler, “a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer,” who writes at The Observer:
The State Department has not released the full document trail here, so the complete story remains unknown to the public. However, one senior NSA official, now retired, recalled the kerfuffle with Team Clinton in early 2009 about Blackberrys. “It was the usual Clinton prima donna stuff,” he explained, “the whole ‘rules are for other people’ act that I remembered from the ’90s.” Why Ms. Clinton would not simply check her personal email on an office computer, like every other government employee less senior than the president, seems a germane question, given what a major scandal email-gate turned out to be. “What did she not want put on a government system, where security people might see it?” the former NSA official asked, adding, “I wonder now, and I sure wish I’d asked about it back in 2009.”
Schindler also confirms that Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton confidante at the Clinton Foundation, sent her classified information on Sudan:
Specifically, this information was illegally lifted from four different NSA reports, all of them classified “Top Secret / Special Intelligence.” Worse, at least one of those reports was issued under the GAMMA compartment, which is an NSA handling caveat that is applied to extraordinarily sensitive information (for instance, decrypted conversations between top foreign leadership, as this was). GAMMA is properly viewed as a SIGINT Special Access Program, or SAP, several of which from the CIA Ms. Clinton compromised in another series of her “unclassified” emails.
Currently serving NSA officials have told me they have no doubt that Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from their reports. “It’s word-for-word, verbatim copying,” one of them explained. “In one case, an entire paragraph was lifted from an NSA report” that was classified Top Secret / Special Intelligence.
Judge Merrick Garland deserves better than to be used a political tool by Barack Obama.
Judge Garland, Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, would most assuredly move the Supreme Court to the “left.” The New York Times, the center of the liberal media universe, ran a story with the headline “A Supreme Court With Merrick Garland Would Be the Most Liberal in Decades.” And the Times, maybe trying to assure some leftists worried by the use of the term “moderate” to describe his judicial philosophy, placed Judge Garland to the left of Justices Kagan and Breyer, and slightly to the right of Justice Ginsberg.
Our statement in response to Obama’s pick was blunt:
Let’s be real, voters will decide in only eight months on Election Day who will get the opportunity to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. So President Obama’s lame duck nomination of Judge Merrick Garland is pure gamesmanship. There is no urgency, as the Supreme Court continues to function and issue decisions. Too many decisions by the Supreme Court are political and have nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution, so Judicial Watch welcomes the coming public debate about liberal judicial activism.
Republicans, led by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are finally doing the right thing in trying to hold fast against taking seriously Obama’s cynical gambit that seeks faux “hearings,” etc. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is under particular pressure on this issue, but as he noted last month, the people will decide:
Not since 1888 has an election year nominee been confirmed during a divided government to fill a vacancy occurring in the same year.
We are at a rare crossroad in American history, with much at stake. In a government of the people, by the people and for the people, it is the people who should have a say in this debate. As voters continue to cast ballots during this election, they will know that their vote will not only help to determine who gets the keys to the White House for the next four years, but also who will select our next lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
There will be much discussion about Judge Garland’s record, but that is a distraction, and may only be useful if the new president in 2017 decides to nominate him again. (Judicial Watch attorneys have had more than a few appeals before Judge Garland…)
The Obama gang and its allies in the liberal left will mount a furious campaign signifying nothing other than trying to cause political pain to Republicans in tight election contests. I encourage you to call your U.S. Senators, write “letters to the Editor” of your local newspapers, go to town halls, and generally be active on this issue. Your voice does matter. Every U.S. Senator – Democrat and Republican – will be carefully monitoring feedback on this issue from constituents.
And if you do communicate with your reps here in Washington, you might consider also asking them what else they plan to do to oppose a president whose despotism has so undermined our constitutional republic. Why approve or consider any Obama nominee?