Potentially new Clin­ton emails

Govern­ment seeks time to re­view doc­u­ments tied to 2012 Beng­hazi at­tack

The Daily Herald - - NATION & WORLD - By Spencer S. Hsu

WASH­ING­TON — Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton may have sent or re­ceived as many as 30 pre­vi­ously undis­closed emails while sec­re­tary of state about the 2012 Beng­hazi at­tack, govern­ment lawyers said Tues­day in ask­ing a fed­eral judge for a month to turn over potentially pub­lic records to a con­ser­va­tive le­gal group.

It is not yet known how many of those doc­u­ments may be du­pli­cates of 343 emails al­ready made pub­lic by the State De­part­ment or con­tain stray ref­er­ences to the Sept. 11, 2012, at­tack in Libya that killed am­bas­sador J. Christo­pher Stevens and three oth­ers, govern­ment at­tor­neys said. The emails were re­cov­ered by the FBI in its year-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Clin­ton’s pri­vate email set-up as sec­re­tary from 2009 to 2013.

The bureau has turned over 14,900 re­cov­ered doc­u­ments to the State De­part­ment for re­view and po­ten­tial re­lease.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment closed the email in­ves­ti­ga­tion with­out crim­i­nal charges, and FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey has said in­ves­ti­ga­tors did not be­lieve emails on the pri­vate server were in­ten­tion­ally deleted in an ef­fort to con­ceal them, but purged through nor­mal pro­cesses.

“At this point there are 30 potentially re­spon­sive doc­u­ments” to the Beng­hazi mat­ter, Jus­tice De­part­ment at­tor­ney Robert J. Prince told U.S. Dis­trict Judge Amit P. Me­hta of Wash­ing­ton.

Prince asked to have un­til Sept. 30 to re­view the emails for pos­si­ble clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion which also may re­quire reviews by agen­cies out­side the State De­part­ment.

Me­hta asked Jus­tice and State de­part­ment at­tor­neys to speed their re­view and come back by Sept. 6 with an an­swer on how many du­pli­cates are in the batch and how many records may need added re­view.

“I’m con­fi­dent it can be done by the 6th. Re­mem­ber Mon­day is a hol­i­day,” Me­hta said.

If it turns out only a small num­ber of the emails are new, the judge urged the govern­ment to com­mit to a quicker re­lease than the end of Septem­ber cit­ing the “na­tional in­ter­est” in the case.

Me­hta spoke af­ter Ra­mona Cotca, an at­tor­ney for the con­ser­va­tive group Ju­di­cial Watch, asked to ne­go­ti­ate the tim­ing of po­ten­tial re­leases, say­ing she hoped it would not take long for a re­view. “It if it’s go­ing to be five emails, I’d like to know be­fore we agree to 30 days.”

Ju­di­cial Watch filed a civil pub­lic records law suit over records that fol­lows up on a March 2015 Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest the group had made for Clin­ton cor­re­spon­dence.

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