Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding newly released documents from the State Department, which were deleted from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s non-state.gov email system and uncovered by the FBI. Dated October 2012, near the end of her tenure at State, the documents contain praise for Clinton’s congressional testimony regarding Benghazi.
“These new Benghazi-Clinton emails prove that Hillary or her lawyers deleted material which proved to be responsive to federal court orders and congressional subpoenas,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Clinton’s email cover-up scheme is as plain as day.”
The documents were released hours before the State Department’s midnight court filing deadline. Yesterday evening the State Department represented that it anticipated being able to produce these documents by Thursday, September 8, 2016. At the same time, State Department for the first time explained that the other emails State Department considers “duplicate” and which it is not producing contain metadata that was not previously produced. Judicial Watch objected to the withholding of these records as they contain new information not previously produced and are responsive to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Following Judicial Watch’s stated objection, the State Department produced the records prior to its anticipated Thursday proposed deadline.
The newly released documents were obtained through a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s communications about the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith were killed. A second assault targeted a nearby compound, killing two government contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00692)).
After admitting in an August 23 court filing that it found documents that “satisfied the [Benghazi-related] search terms” of the new Clinton emails, the State Department proposed a rolling production schedule, “under which State would make its first production of any non-exempt responsive records subject to FOIA on September 30, 2016, and complete production no later than October 31, 2016.” Judicial Watch then asked the court that State make known the volume of documents remaining to be reviewed before it accepts whether the production schedule is reasonable.