Judicial Watch submitted to a federal court a plan to depose under oath seven former and current State Department officials and aides of Hillary Clinton regarding the unsecure home email system through which more than 2,000 classified emails were sent when Clinton was secretary of state.
The testimony of Clinton herself may also be required, Judicial Watch said in its filing with U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington.
“Based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary,” wrote Michael Bekesha, counsel for Judicial Watch. “If [Judicial Watch] believes Mrs. Clinton’s testimony is required, it will request permission from the court at the appropriate time.”
The plan is subject to approval by Sullivan.
WND reported Sullivan stated he was tired of the “drip, drip, drip of declarations” and granted discovery to Judicial Watch on Feb. 23.
Sullivan’s decision was hailed as a major victory by Judicial Watch, one of dozens of organizations with active Freedom of Information Act lawsuits related to the “home brew” email server Clinton used from 2009 to 2013.
“There has been a constant drip, drip, drip of declarations. When does it stop?” Sullivan said, the Washington Post reported at the time. “This case is about the public’s right to know.”
Sullivan said there was “reasonable suspicion” that public access to official records related to the Democratic front-runner was undermined.
Judicial Watch said its plan for a “narrowly tailored discovery” was filed with the court this week.
A deposition of Clinton would, the organization said, happen “only with permission by the court.”
The discovery arises in a lawsuit by Judicial Watch that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former deputy chief of staff to Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system.
Judicial Watch said it wants answers from:
- Stephen D. Mull, executive secretary of the State Department from June 2009 to October 2012. He suggested that Clinton be issued a State Department BlackBerry, which would protect her identity and would also be subject to FOIA requests;
- Lewis A. Lukens, executive director of the executive secretariat from 2008 to 2011. He emailed with Patrick Kennedy and Cheryl Smith about setting up a computer for Clinton to check her clintonemail.com email account;
- Patrick F. Kennedy, under secretary for management since 2007 and the secretary’s principal adviser on management issues, including technology and information services;
- Donald R. Reid, senior coordinator for security infrastructure, Bureau of Diplomatic Security since 2003. He was involved in early discussions about Clinton using her BlackBerry and other devices to conduct official State Department business;
- Cheryl D. Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff throughout her four years as secretary of state;
- Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and a senior adviser to Clinton throughout her four years as secretary of state. She also had an email account on clintonemail.com); and
- Bryan Pagliano, State Department Schedule C employee who has been reported to have serviced and maintained the server that hosted the clintonemail.com system during Clinton’s four years as secretary.
The organization also listed the defendant’s depositions “regarding the processing of FOIA requests, including plaintiff’s FOIA request, for emails of Clinton and Abedin both during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and after.”
Judicial Watch said it wants to know:
- Who was responsible for processing and/or responding to record requests, including FOIA requests, concerning emails of Clinton and other employees of the office of the secretary;
- Who was responsible for the inventorying or other accounting of Clinton’s and Abedin’s emails, records and information;
- Who was responsible for responding to plaintiff’s FOIA request from the date of submission to the present; and
- Which State Department officials and employees had and/or used an account on the clintonemail.com system to conduct official government business.
“This discovery will help Judicial Watch get all of the facts behind Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama State Department’s thwarting of FOIA so that the public can be sure that all of the emails from her illicit email system are reviewed and released to the public as the law requires,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
WND reported the final batch of Clinton’s emails from her personal server were released by the State Department after 10 months of foot-dragging.
A slew of classified emails was found in the 14th and final release of documents that passed through Clinton’s email setup. Of the 3,871 pages in the latest release, 261 included classified information. Of roughly 30,000 emails reviewed by State Department officials in total, at least 2,079 contained classified information.
The total number of “secret” emails stands at 45, with 23 of those being released with the latest batch, the Washington Times reported.
Clinton is now at the mercy of the FBI as it conducts an investigation into her handling of government documents during her time as Obama’s top diplomat. Agents will determine whether or not the Democratic presidential front-runner should be prosecuted for violating a subsection of the Espionage Act related to “gross negligence” on the job.
“[The Clinton server] matter is being handled by career independent law enforcement agents, FBI agents as well as the career attorneys in the Department of Justice,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, at a budget hearing Feb. 25. “They follow the evidence, they look at the law and they’ll make a recommendation to me when the time is appropriate.”
The Republican National Committee pored over the documents released by the State Department and concluded:
- 2,063 emails contained classified information on “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”
- 1,478 emails contained classified “foreign government information.”
- 28 emails contained classified information on “intelligence activities [including covert action], intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology.”
- four emails were contained classified information on “vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security.”
Clinton maintains she did no wrong because the emails were not marked as classified. Intelligence experts say that is a red herring.
“It is the content that is classified – not the format it is in,” Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge said Jan. 21. “To suggest to people that there is somehow a big rubber stamp with ‘classified’ that’s smacked on every document is completely misleading and that is something you only see in the movies. Mrs. Clinton knows better because she had to have special training as secretary of state because she has classification authority.”
Herridge’s reporting led to the revelation that Clinton’s server also included intelligence known as “special access programs,” or SAP. Senior lawmakers with the highest levels of security clearance had to sign additional nondisclosure agreements before viewing them, WND reported.
The case regards Abedin’s status, because she once simultaneously was employed by the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, Clinton’s personal office and a consulting firm linked to the Clintons.