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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.

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Judicial Watch Sues Energy Department for Records on Retroactive Termination of President Trump’s Security Clearance

(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for records about the retroactive termination of former President Donald Trump’s security clearance and/or access to classified information (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Energy (No. 1:24-cv-00744)).

In the lawsuit, Judicial Watch cites Trump’s January 12, 2024, motion to compel discovery in his criminal prosecution in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in which the former president asserts that DOE attempted to terminate his security clearance retroactively after his June 2023 indictment by Special Counsel Jack Smith (United States v. Trump, et al., (No. 9:23-cr-80101)).

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the Energy Department failed to comply with a January 18, 2024, FOIA request for its records and communications concerning retroactively terminating Trump’s security clearance and/or access to classified information.

Judicial Watch in the lawsuit points to the February 2024 response to Trump’s January 2024 motion in which Smith acknowledges the existence of a June 2023 memorandum prepared by an Energy Department official regarding the security clearance.

The Special Counsel’s office describes the memorandum’s contents and asserts that it had produced the record to Trump. Smith also acknowledges requesting and receiving additional “responsive” records from DOE, including “approximately 30 pages of records and eight emails.” Smith asserts that he was “now producing” the 30 pages to Trump and withholding the eight emails.

Trump’s lawyers suggest in the January 2024 motion to compel discovery that Trump had a high-level security clearance as recently as 2023.

Lawyers for Trump say a government document from June 2023 still listed him with a “Q” clearance from the DOE. The document was dated a few weeks after prosecutors indicted Trump in the classified documents case. A “Q” clearance refers to a type of security clearance handled by the Department of Energy, which holds classified information focused largely on nuclear secrets.

“It looks like the Department of Energy is trying to manufacture a criminal case,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “What are they hiding?”

Judicial Watch is in the forefront of the court battles for transparency regarding Biden administration’s targeting of Trump.

In August 2023, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for records of the Archives’ role in President Trump’s White House records controversy; whether it offered Trump a secure storage location other than the National Archives; and if the Archives consulted with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding the classification or declassification procedures of any of the alleged classified documents found at Trump’s Florida residence.

In June 2023, Judicial Watch obtained DOJ records that showed top officials of the National Security Division discussing the political implications of Trump allowing CNN to use closed-circuit TV (CCTV) footage of the raid on his Mar-a-Lago home. The documents confirmed that the Justice Department had asked that Mar-a-Lago CCTV be turned off before the raid.

A separate Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration resulted in the release of records about the unprecedented document dispute between Archives and President Trump. Click here or here to review the records.

In August 2022, Judicial Watch successfully sued to unseal the search warrant affidavit used to justify the unprecedented raid on the home of former President Trump.

In September 2022, Judicial Watch filed lawsuits against the DOJ for its records and the FBI’s records about the Mar-a-Lago raid search warrant application and approval, as well as communications about the warrant between the FBI, Executive Office of the President and the Secret Service.

In October 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications of the U.S. Secret Service internally and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the raid on Trump’s home and for any video or audio recordings made during the raid.

In November 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all communications between the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the search warrant that precipitated the raid on former Trump’s Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago.

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