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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Testimony Begins On Clinton Email

First Deposition Testimony from Clinton Email Discovery Released
State Department Office of Inspector General Slams Clinton Email Practices
Justice Department Documents Reveal the Widespread Use of Fast and Furious Weapons by Major Mexican Drug Cartels – Linked to at Least 69 Killings
Memorial Day: Why We Fight


First Deposition Testimony from Clinton Email Discovery Released

The court-ordered discovery to uncover details about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email system has produced the first testimony from her top aides.

This week we released the deposition transcript of Ambassador Lewis Lukens, former deputy assistant secretary of state and executive director of the State Department’s executive secretariat.  The transcript is available here.  We deposed Amb. Lukens as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving Clinton’s unsecured, non-government email system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).

Lukens testified that he thought it was not unusual that Mrs. Clinton did not ask him to create a State Department email account for her.  He testified that he understood that her BlackBerry use was only to “stay in touch with friends and family.”

Lukens, according to his testimony, saw Clinton “maybe a half a dozen times” positioned “in the hallway outside the SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] standing there looking at her BlackBerry.” Lukens testified that he saw Mrs. Clinton with her BlackBerry on foreign trips and that her aide Huma Abedin carried around two BlackBerrys.

Lukens also testified about his 2009 email exchanges with Cheryl Mills in 2009 in which he offered to set up a separate computer on non-State Department network to allow Mrs. Clinton to check her email:

Lukens also testified about his 2009 email exchanges with Cheryl Mills in 2009 in which he offered to set up a separate computer on non-State Department network to allow Mrs. Clinton to check her email:

Q. After your conversation with Ms. Mills, Ms. Mills e-mailed you, and it talks about – I’m sorry, the quality of the e-mail is a little difficult to read, but it says: “Let’s set up the office across the hall for her to use. It needs a phone, et cetera, so she can go across the hall to check her BB,” her BlackBerry.

You mentioned that you talked about setting up a computer in her office. Do you know why Ms. Mills seemed to prefer having the computer set up in the office across the hall?

A. This wasn’t for a computer setup; this was to create a space for her to go check her BlackBerry.

Q. Okay. In the Secretary’s office, is that what’s considered a SCIF?

A. The Secretary’s office is in a SCIF, which encompasses a lot more of the seventh floor.

Q. Okay. And the office that’s across the hall is outside that area?

A. Correct.

Lukens also testified about his idea to set up a separate computer and network for Mrs. Clinton. Cheryl Mills and Lukens discussed the email issue in early 2009:

A. So the crux of the issue was that BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the Secretary’s office suite, so the question was, how is the Secretary going to be able to check her e-mails if she’s not able to have the BlackBerry at her desk with her.

Q. And so what did you — did you propose a solution at that point?

A. So my proposal was to set up a computer on her desk, a standalone computer, for her to be able to access the Internet to check her e-mails.


Q. Do you know if this setup would have been any different from the setup of other employees?

A. Yes, this would have been different.

Q. How would it have been different?

A. My understanding is that most of the employees’ computers in the State Department are connected through the State Department’s OpenNet e-mail system, Internet system.

Q. So this one would have been separate from the OpenNet system?

A. Correct.

Ultimately, according to his testimony, the computer was not set up for Mrs. Clinton.

Lukens is the first of seven depositions of former Clinton top aides and State Department officials that we have scheduled over the next four weeks.  Also to be deposed are Cheryl Mills (her deposition is happening today, in fact) and Huma Abedin, as well as top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano.  In granting the discovery, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan noted that “based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary.”

It is noteworthy that this key State Department witness was insistent that he didn’t know Clinton was using emails and computer equipment for government business.  It suggests the agency is seeking to distance itself from Mrs. Clinton’s conduct.


State Department Office of Inspector General Slams Clinton Email Practices

Hillary Clinton’s email troubles intensified this week with the release of a critical report by the State Department’s Inspector General.  In an editorial entitled “Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules,” the liberal Washington Post sums things up:

The State Department’s independent watchdog has issued a highly critical analysis of Hillary Clinton’s email practices while running the department, concluding that Clinton failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private server and that agency staff members would not have given their blessing if it had been sought because of “security risks.”

The report by the inspector general’s office concludes that Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president, handled email in a way that was “not an appropriate method” for preserving public records and that her practices failed to comply with department policy. The review found that Clinton, who has said her system was secure, also never provided security details to agency officials responsible for safeguarding sensitive government information.

Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the State Department to disclose Hillary Clinton’s secret email system that is now the subject of this scathing Inspector General report.  A statement by the State Department in a February 2, 2015, status report in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was the first notice to the public and the court that the State Department had failed to thoroughly search all of Clinton’s email records:

“[The State Department] has discovered that additional searches for documents potentially responsive to the FOIA must be conducted.”

That statement was the first acknowledgement of Clinton’s secret email.  And now, nearly a year and a half later, the State Department’s own Inspector General is confirming the gravity of Clinton’s end run around the law.  Judicial Watch already uncovered much of the information cited in this report.  But the OIG report will be helpful in upcoming questioning of witnesses about the Clinton email matter.  (Mrs. Clinton did not cooperate with the OIG investigation, which, as we told The Washington Times, is simply remarkable.)

The report refers to documents already uncovered by Judicial Watch, highlights facts first disclosed by Judicial Watch, and confirms misconduct by the agency and top officials that we’ve been highlighting in the courts for over a year.

The OIG report is an important first step in accountability. But Judicial Watch’s discovery is all the more important now – especially as we will talk to witnesses who did not cooperate with the OIG, such as Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.


Justice Department Documents Reveal the Widespread Use of Fast and Furious Weapons by Major Mexican Drug Cartels – Linked to at Least 69 Killings

We are still uncovering grisly details of the Obama administration’s deadly Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning program.  Just this week, we revealed that from December 2012 to

March 2016, 94 Fast and Furious weapons were picked up at various crime scenes.

We released Justice Department documents showing that weapons sent from the U.S. into Mexico have been widely used by major drug cartels.  Over the past three years, a total of 94 Fast and Furious firearms have been recovered in Mexico City and 12 Mexican states, with the majority being seized in Sonora, Chihuahua and Sinaloa.  Of the weapons recovered, 82 were rifles and 12 were pistols identified as having been part of the Fast and Furious program.  Reports suggest these particular Fast and Furious guns are tied to at least 69 killings.

Fast and Furious was a Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gunrunning” operation in which the Obama administration allowed guns to be sold to Mexican drug cartels in the hope the weapons would be recovered at crime scenes.  Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico.  Prior reports tie Fast and Furious weapons to at least 200 deaths in Mexico alone.

We obtained the documents last month in response to a March 17, 2016, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seeking the following:

  • All records identifying the locations (including, but not limited to, crime scenes and the locations of seizures) at which firearms – that were identified during the course of or due to Operation Fast and Furious – have been recovered by law enforcement personnel.

The documents show that of the 94 Fast and Furious firearms seized 20 were identified as being involved in “violent recoveries.”  The “violent recoveries” involved several mass killings:

  • June 30, 2014 — One 7.62mm rifle recovered in Tlatlaya, Estado de Mexico.  This is the reported date and location of a shootout in which 22 people were killed.
  • May 22, 2015 — Two 7.62mm rifles were recovered from the site of a massive shootout in Rancho el Sol, Michoacán, that left one Mexican Federal Police officer and 42 suspected cartel members dead.
  • August 7, 2015 — One 7.62mm rifle was among five firearms reported as recovered from an abandoned stolen vehicle in which three dead shooting victims were found in Parral, Chihuahua.
  • January 29, 2013 — One 7.62mm rifle seized in Hostotipaquillo, Jalisco, is reportedly related to the assassination of the town police chief, Luis Lucio Astorga and his bodyguard.
  • January 11, 2016 — One .50 caliber rifle was seized from Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman’s hideout in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, where he was (re)arrested.
  • In October 2014, Judicial Watch uncovered the fact that an AK 47 rifle used in a July 29, 2013, gang-style assault on an apartment building that left two people wounded was part of the gunrunning program.

As the production of documents from the ATF continues, we expect to see even further confirmation of Obama’s disgraced former Attorney General Eric Holder’s prediction that Fast and Furious guns will be used in crimes for years to come.

In the meantime, these documents show that President Obama’s legacy includes gunrunning, violence and death.


Memorial Day: Why We Fight

We can do our work in uncovering government misdeeds only because of our laws and our Constitution. And we have these because of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our great nation.

To honor these heroic dead, I thought it appropriate to quote, as I have in previous years, a portion of the May 5, 1868, Memorial Day proclamation (General Orders No. 11) by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, who declared we should honor our war dead and their sacred resting places:

All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

Judicial Watch’s work pales in comparison with the heroic sacrifices of America’s “slain defenders,” but I pray that, in some small way, our work to vindicate the rule of law honors their sacrifice and memories.

Until next week…


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