Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Court orders State Dept to release Clinton emails

MSNBC: Hillary Clinton's Use Of Personal Email At State Dept "Staggering" And "Shocking"

Court orders State Dept to release Clinton emails

Washington (AFP) - A US judge ordered the State Department on Tuesday to promptly release thousands of emails from Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, dating back to her time as America's top diplomat.
In his ruling, US District Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered that the hub of US global diplomacy must come up with a "schedule for rolling productions of Secretary Clinton's emails" by next Tuesday, a State Department official said.
"We take our legal obligations seriously. We'll comply with the order," the agency's press office director Jeff Rathke told reporters.
Clinton meanwhile renewed her calls for the emails to be made public, saying: "No one has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do."
The row has heated up after it was revealed earlier this year that the former first lady had eschewed using a State Department email address during her four-year tenure, instead sending and receiving all her email correspondence on a private server.
Clinton said she had handed over every email relevant to her job as secretary of state and destroyed all the rest, which she maintained were personal, dealing with such matters as her daughter's wedding, her yoga classes and her mother's funeral.
But the revelations have played into long-held Republican criticism that she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, are unnecessarily secretive.
And the suspicions could well stalk her as the clock ticks down to the 2016 elections.
- Foreign governments -
In March, the State Department set up a special internal team to review every single email and black out any classified material.
But Contreras shot down a request from the diplomatic behemoth to be given until January 2016 to complete its internal review of some 30,000 emails, amounting to about 55,000 pages.
"The department understands the considerable public's interest in these records and is endeavoring to complete the review and production of them as expeditiously as possible," John Hackett, the State Department's acting director of the Office of Information Programs, wrote in his court filing.
"The collection is, however, voluminous," he wrote, saying it presented "several challenges" some of which needed Washington to possibly consult with foreign governments.
Rathke confirmed the State Department had "originally proposed" releasing all the emails on mass in January once the review was finished.
Clinton stressed the emails sent on the private address during her tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 belonged to the State Department.
"They have their process that they do for everybody, not just for me. But anything they might do to expedite that process, I heartily support," she said, during a campaign stop in Iowa.
"I want the American people to learn as much as we can about the work that I did with our diplomats and our development experts because I think it will show how hard we worked and what we did for our country during the time that I was secretary of state."
Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination, with only independent Senator Bernie Sanders having also officially announced his candidacy for the White House job.
Former senators Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee, as well as ex-Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, are reportedly also mulling runs.
Rathke confirmed Clinton's emails relating to the 2012 attacks on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, would be the among the first released.
They would account for some 300 emails amounting to about 900 pages.


Judge considers 'rolling' release of Hillary Clinton emails

Updated 12:56 PM ET, Tue May 19, 2015

Washington (CNN)U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia Rudolph Contreras asked the State Department to file a notice that would include a proposed deadline for the release of Hillary Clinton's emails, as well as a new proposal for a schedule that involves releasing documents on a rolling basis.
A lawyer for journalist Jason Leopold, who has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all the emails Clinton turned over from her private server, told the judge he wanted the Benghazi emails "produced immediately" and requested that the other emails — some 55,000 pages — be released on a rolling basis. He also asked for periodic updates on the production.
The government had stated in their filings to the court that it would complete a review of thousands of pages of by Jan. 15, 2016, according to papers in an ongoing Freedom of Information lawsuit, suggesting that the full release of documents wouldn't come out until next year.
"The Department understands the considerable public's interest in these records and is endeavoring to complete the review and production of them as expeditiously as possible," wrote John F. Hackett , the acting Director of the Office of Information Programs and Services at the State Department, in the Court declaration.
On Tuesday, Contreras seemed amenable to the request for a rolling release, telling the government that it didn't sound "unreasonable". At one point the judge asked, isn't "rolling production the norm?"
When the State Department's lawyer talked about its detailed process of the review the judge responded, you "can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
"Given the volume of the records, its not unreasonable for the department to ask for a deadline of January 2016 to complete the entire review, but we do think its unreasonable for them to withhold all of the records until that date, which is why we requested a rolling production, and we are happy that the judge appears ready to adopt a rolling production in this case," Leopold's lawyer, Ryan Steven James, said following the hearing.
The State Department's lawyer said that the Benghazi emails would be posted "soon" suggesting it could occur in weeks or days.
Hackett said that after the review is completed, the plan is to post the releasable portions on the Department's website. He said that in December 2014, Clinton provided approximately 30,000 emails, comprising approximately 55,000 pages in response to a letter sent by the Department of State to former Secretaries requesting emails "sent or received on a personal email account."
The documents arrived in twelve "bankers' boxes with labels placed on the outside of the boxes that corresponded approximately to the timeframe of the documents in the box. The Department conducted a page by page review of the documents in consultation with the National Archives Records Administration.
Hackett said that a separate review was conducted on a "date-limited" portion of the 55,000 pages to locate any that were responsive to requests of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. "As a result of that manual review, the Department located and produced to the House Select Committee 296 emails composed of approximately 850 pages."
In the coming weeks and months the review will require consultation with other agencies, as well as "potentially with foreign governments".
Citizens United, a public interest group with several pending FOIA lawsuits, hopes the proposed deadline does not interfere with document productions for their cases concerning key Clinton associates, the Benghazi controversy as well as information concerning The Clinton Foundation.
"When we asked for these records a year ago, we fully expected the Clinton Foundation's relationship with the State Department to be a central issue of the presidential election in 2016," said David Bossie the President of the group.
"We fully expect to receive some of Secretary Clinton's emails that have been in question for several months," he said.
The staff is comprised of a project manager, two case analysts, as well as nine FOIA reviewers as well as other specialists who have met daily since April.
In detailing the Department's plan Hackett wrote,"this will make the maximum number of records available to the public in the shortest amount of time, and will be considerably more efficient than reviewing the documents piecemeal, in response to multiple subject-specific FOIA requests. "


Judge Calls For "Rolling" Release Of Hillary Clinton's Emails

Judge Calls For
Rejecting a State Department proposal to release all of Hillary Clinton's emails at once next January, a federal judge has called for the documents to be released over time.
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered the "rolling production" of the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by VICE News.
Contreras said the State Department needs to submit a schedule for the periodic release of the emails by next Tuesday.
The judicial order also calls on the State Department to propose a deadline for the production of 300 emails related to the terrorist attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi in 2012.
The Benghazi emails have been provided to the House committee investigating the attack but have not been made available to the public.
In a court filing Monday night, the State Department had proposed releasing all of Clinton's emails to the public in mid-January of next year.
The filing noted the process of reviewing 55,000 pages of communications is labor intensive and time consuming, with analysts reviewing about 1,000 emails a week.

The State Department has previously pledged to release the emails related to Benghazi "soon" but has not provided a specific date.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, has said the State Department should release her emails as soon as possible.
She has maintained that she did not break any rules by using a private server and domain for her official business during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Clinton said she used the private email account for convenience but acknowledged that it would have been better to use a second email account and a second phone.
by RTT Staff Writer
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