In March 2015, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the following:
"Any and all e-mails of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Secretary Clinton concerning, regarding, or relating to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya."
Ironically, State Department officials at the time decided to search records voluntarily turned over by Hillary and some of her former aides from private servers, as well as records collected by the FBI during their investigations, but figured it wasn't necessary to search the one place where all official communications on such a topic should have been housed from the beginning: State Department servers.
For whatever reason, State has continually refused to conduct the search of its taxpayer funded servers going on two and a half years now. Luckily, some small bit of rational thought prevailed yesterday when a U.S. District Judge filed an order demanding a search of State Department records for any and all Benghazi-related emails be completed by September 22, 2017. Here is more from Politico:
"To date, State has searched only data compilations originating from outside sources — Secretary Clinton, her former aides, and the FBI. ... It has not, however, searched the one records system over which it has always had control and that is almost certain to contain some responsive records: the state.gov e-mail server," Mehta wrote.
"If Secretary Clinton sent an e-mail about Benghazi to Abedin, Mills, or Sullivan at his or her state.gov e-mail address, or if one of them sent an e-mail to Secretary Clinton using his or her state.gov account, then State’s server presumably would have captured and stored such an e-mail. Therefore, State has an obligation to search its own server for responsive records."
Justice Department lawyers representing State argued that making them search other employees' accounts for Clinton's emails would set a bad precedent that would belabor other FOIA searches.
But Mehta said the circumstances surrounding Clinton's email represented "a specific fact pattern unlikely to arise in the future."
Of course, this all feels eerily similar to another FOIA request we wrote about recently (see: FOIA Dump Reveals Collusion Between Lynch, FBI And Media To Bury Bill Clinton Meeting), in which the Obama administration told the American Center for Law and Justice there were no records of communications between the FBI and DOJ related to Loretta Lynch's now infamous tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton. That said, Jeff Sessions' DOJ ran the same search on behalf of the ACLJ and found dozens of FBI/DOJ exchanges on the topic...so weird, right?
But, according to a new DOJ FOIA dump just released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), it looks increasingly as if nothing reported about this "social meeting" between Lynch and Clinton was grounded in fact...shocking, we know.
First, the new FOIA documents seemingly confirm that the FBI and DOJ simply lied in response to the ACLJ's initial FOIA request filed back in July 2016. Here is what the ACLJ was told at the time after sending requests to both the Comey FBI and the Lynch DOJ asking for any documents related to the Clinton-Lynch plane meeting:
That said, documents released today by the ACLJ reveal several emails between FBI and DOJ officials concerning the Lynch/Clinton meeting primarily related to how they should go about explaining the train wreck that had just been unwittingly played out on live television courtesy of a local Phoenix affiliate station.
Given that, what are the chances that Tillerson's State Department is suddenly able to 'find' records that Hillary's folks searched and searched for but were just never able to track down? We would say pretty good...unless Hillary managed to wipe them...you know, 'like with a cloth'.
The full court order can be read here: