If Team Clinton and Team Obama had their druthers, the American people would know nothing about her non-government email system. But thanks to numerous federal lawsuits and multiple federal court orders obtained by Judicial Watch, the Obama State Department must disgorge document after document about this increasingly serious scandal. Judicial Watch has had another major breakthrough to report.
Judicial Watch forced the release of State Department emails that show then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top staff pushed for the use of personal digital assistant (PDA) devices for secret and top secret information. The records also show that the State Department official rejected this “push” for the special PDAs. A court order forced this document release in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit. In a related court filing, we made it a point to highlight the agency’s failure to comply with the court’s orders regarding the production of the documents.
A State Department email chain shows a February 2, 2009 discussion by State Department security staff, in which agency top security official (former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell) writes:
On the off chance that [Clinton’s] staff continues to push for [secret] or [top secret]-capable PDAs [redacted]. I’ll need a briefing on what we know [redaction] Pls schedule.
The email was sent to another top security official – Donald R. Reid, the State Department’s security coordinator for security infrastructure, and Patrick Donovan, then-deputy assistant secretary of State and then director, Diplomatic Security Service.
(In a testament to government non-accountability, Mr. Boswell was placed on administrative leave because of the security failures tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack but reportedly was reinstated and reassigned to a new position by Secretary of State John Kerry.)
State Department Executive Secretary Joseph E. McManus declared under penalty of perjury in another Judicial Watch lawsuit that the agency “does not believe that any personal computing device was issued by the Department to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has not located any such device at the Department” (and possibly destroyed the BlackBerrys of her aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills).
You can also see how a recent 7,000-page email dump that produced emails showing Hillary Clinton snagged an iPad with the help of State Department employees is seemingly at odds with this State Department statement.
The State Department’s release of the few emails highlighting Hillary Clinton push for a classified PDA falls way short of the disclosure the federal judge overseeing our case demanded. Judicial Watch informed the court of the State Department’s failure to produce documents or information on its search for responsive records as ordered by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on July 7, 2015. Since its last report to the court on July 2, State has produced only these two pages of responsive email records – and they were a week late – delivered on August 27.
The State Department said that it had 250 potentially responsive documents, and didn’t tell us or the judge much else:
[The State Department] did not indicate when it located these records, where it located these records and why it did not include these records in its review of the initial production. [The State Department] also stated that its search was ongoing, but did not give any indication when it will complete its search of all potentially responsive records. It also did not indicate the scope of the search or the volume of all potentially responsive records. [Judicial Watch] requested that [the State Department] supplement its response and provide this information before today’s Joint Status Report. [The State Department] did not do so.
The July court order requires the State Department to “make its first production of responsive records by no later than August 20, 2015,” and detail both the volume and scope of responsive documents. So it is a contemptuous fail all around as the State Department flouts court order after court order over the Clinton email issue. This corruption wastes our resources (and the court’s), as it requires our legal team to spend precious time seeking relief again from the court. Our attorneys had to ask the court to reorder the State Department to provide details about its search and stop hiding the ball about these documents.
One can see the motive for the stonewalling, as these two documents further confirm that Hillary Clinton and her staff tried and failed to convince the State Department to issue them smart devices that could handle classified data. This push for a “Top Secret”-safe smart phone or tablet also blows up Hillary Clinton’s obvious lie that she set up a separate email system because she didn’t want to use two devices.
There are more documents to come!