The conservative group Judicial Watch is asking a judge to order Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to testify in a sworn deposition as part of a lawsuit seeking records concerning the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Clinton: ‘no blackberry permitted in my office’
Judicial Watch today released 296 pages of new State Department documents, including a February 27, 2009, email in which the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized to health care activist/physician Mark Hyman for failing to respond to a message because, “no blackberry contact permitted in my office.”
The new documents also contain a February 22, 2009, email exchange between Clinton and her then-Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, trying to communicate over a secure line after Clinton returned from a trip (evidently to Asia). Unable to set up a secure communication, Clinton told Mills, “I called ops and they gave me your ‘secure’ cells… but only got a high-pitched whining sound.” When Mills suggested that Clinton try the secure line again, the former secretary wrote back, “I give up. Call me on my home #.”
The previously unreleased Clinton emails date back as far as January 2009 and further contradict statements by Hillary Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department and that she did not use her clintonemail.com system until March 18, 2009. The new Clinton emails cover topics such as: the administration’s Iran policy; Obama’s stimulus program; the sharing of “management issues” with “Maggie” Williams, former campaign manager for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign; confusion over voice mail versus text messages; image coaching from 2008 campaign advisor Doug Hattaway; and a thank you note from Mark Hyman for “opening the door” for a Senate hearing on functional medicine; as well email detailing incoming calls from China and Russia. The new Clinton documents also include a censored email that shows Clinton and Cheryl Mills were contacted by Maria Haley, a longtime Clinton aide (since deceased) who was implicated the Chinagate scandal.
The documents were obtained in response to a court order from a May 5, 2015, lawsuit filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)) after it failed to respond to a March 18 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:
- All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-“state.gov” email address.
An email from former Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias asks top Clinton aide Huma Abedin to pass along to the secretary his idea for restoring U.S. prestige abroad. Tobias recommended serving a billion dollars a year of “complementary hot chocolate, iced tea, and lemonade” to international tourists standing in line at U.S. airports. According to Tobias, the refreshments would generate “substantial international goodwill.” The State Department records indicate Abedin printed out and forwarded the emails.
“This drip, drip of new Clinton emails show Hillary Clinton could not care less about the security of her communications,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “How many other smoking gun emails are Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators in the Obama administration hiding from the American people?”
In March, Judicial Watch released Clinton State Department emails dating from February 2009 that also call into question her statements about her emails. Those emails contained more evidence of the battle between security officials in the State Department, National Security Administration, Clinton and her staff over attempts to obtain secure Blackberrys.
Hillary Clinton has repeatedly stated that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order in other Judicial Watch litigation, she declared under penalty of perjury that she had “directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.” This new email find is also at odds with her official campaign statement:
On December 5, 2014, 30,490 copies of work or potentially work-related emails sent and received by Clinton from March 18, 2009, to February 1, 2013, were provided to the State Department. This totaled roughly 55,000 pages. More than 90% of her work or potentially work-related emails provided to the Department were already in the State Department’s record-keeping system because those e-mails were sent to or received by “state.gov” accounts.
Early in her term, Clinton continued using an att.blackberry.net account that she had used during her Senate service. Given her practice from the beginning of emailing State Department officials on their state.gov accounts, her work-related emails during these initial weeks would have been captured and preserved in the State Department’s record-keeping system. She, however, no longer had access to these emails once she transitioned from this account.
The Associated Press previously reported that the State Department received from the Department of Defense emails between Clinton and General David Petraeus that also predate March 2009. Those emails have not been released to the public.
On August 10, 2015, Judicial Watch announced that the State Department submitted to the court a sworn declaration from Clinton regarding federal records on her controversial email system. The declaration states:
I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct:
- While I do not know what information may be “responsive” for purposes of this law suit, I have directed that all my e-mails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records to be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.
- As a result of my directive, approximately 55,000 pages of these emails were produced to the Department on December 5, 2014.
- Cheryl Mills did not have an account on clintonemail.com. Huma Abedin did have such an account which was used at times for government business.
The document is signed by “Hillary Rodham Clinton.” The State Department was ordered by US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan on July 31 to request that Clinton and her top aides confirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have produced all government records in their possession and to return any other government records immediately.