Amid toil over Clin­ton’s emails, even more emerge

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY S.A. MILLER

The Hil­lary Clin­ton email fi­asco isn’t end­ing any­time soon, with State Depart­ment of­fi­cials say­ing they have no idea when they will finish sort­ing though and re­leas­ing the pre­vi­ously hid­den mes­sages.

More clas­si­fied doc­u­ments that the former sec­re­tary of state im­prop­erly han­dled keep com­ing to light.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion doesn’t even know if it has hunted down ev­ery trace of the emails that Mrs. Clin­ton — a former first lady, U.S. se­na­tor, top diplo­mat and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee — sent from a se­cret email server stashed in her home.

“At this time, we do not have an es­ti­mate for com­ple­tion of pro­cess­ing all of these doc­u­ments,” a State Depart­ment of­fi­cial told The Wash­ing­ton Times.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, the State Depart­ment com­pleted a re­view of the roughly 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clin­ton turned over in De­cem­ber 2014, nearly two years after she left of­fice.

The FBI last sum­mer gave the State Depart­ment tens of thou­sands of ad­di­tional emails from its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which the

depart­ment con­tin­ues to process pur­suant to court or­ders.

This June, the FBI pro­vided ap­prox­i­mately 7,000 ad­di­tional doc­u­ments re­cov­ered from the lap­top com­puter shared by top Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din and her hus­band, An­thony Weiner, whose ha­bit­ual sex­ting cost him a seat in Congress, the may­oral elec­tion in New York and ul­ti­mately his mar­riage to Ms. Abe­din.

“We have not yet de­ter­mined how many of these doc­u­ments are State Depart­ment records as op­posed to per­sonal emails, nor have we de­ter­mined how many doc­u­ments are du­plica­tive of ma­te­rial al­ready in our pos­ses­sion,” said the of­fi­cial.

The painstak­ing re­view con­tin­ues to un­cover clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion that was stored on the in­se­cure server that shielded Mrs. Clin­ton’s of­fi­cial cor­re­spon­dence from pub­lic and con­gres­sional over­sight.

A batch of Mrs. Clin­ton’s email re­leased this month in­cluded at least two with confidential in­for­ma­tion. That brings the to­tal num­ber of confidential doc­u­ments that passed through Mrs. Clin­ton’s un­se­cured server to 2,083.

One from Ms. Abe­din was nearly com­pletely redacted be­cause it would re­veal for­eign re­la­tions or for­eign ac­tiv­i­ties of the United States, in­clud­ing confidential sources, ac­cord­ing to clar­i­fi­ca­tion mark­ings.

An email from Dennis Ross, who was a U.S. en­voy to the Mid­dle East, was redacted of confidential in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing an Is­raeli mil­i­tary of­fen­sive in Novem­ber 2012 against Ha­mas mil­i­tants in the Gaza Strip. It in­cluded dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing cease-fire ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Mrs. Clin­ton, whose se­cret email ac­count was dis­cov­ered by a con­gres­sional probe of the 2012 Beng­hazi at­tack, handed over about 30,000 mes­sages to the State Depart­ment in De­cem­ber 2014.

She erased an­other 32,000 mes­sages that she deemed per­sonal. At some point, she wiped clean the email server, pre­vent­ing any of the mes­sages from be­ing re­cov­ered.

The fight for trans­parency in Mrs. Clin­ton’s emails has bro­ken ma­jor ground in open-records laws, and more le­gal bat­tles are still to come.

The con­ser­va­tive le­gal group Ju­di­cial Watch, which has been at the fore­front of the fight to make the emails pub­lic, has at least nine Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act law­suits pend­ing.

The group scored a le­gal vic­tory last week when District Court Judge Amit P. Me­hta or­dered the State Depart­ment to ex­pand its search for Mrs. Clin­ton’s emails re­lated to the ter­ror­ist at­tack on a U.S. diplo­matic out­post in Beng­hazi, Libya.

Mrs. Clin­ton was head of the State Depart­ment when heav­ily armed mil­i­tants killed four Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing Am­bas­sador J. Christo­pher Stevens.

Sus­pi­cions of a cover-up emerged when the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ini­tially down­played the at­tack in the run-up to the 2012 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Su­san E. Rice, am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, claimed re­peat­edly that the at­tack was the cul­mi­na­tion of a spon­ta­neous riot over a YouTube video that mocked the Prophet Muham­mad.

The State Depart­ment now must search its servers for email ac­counts of Mrs. Clin­ton’s top aides Ch­eryl Mills, Ja­cob Sul­li­van and Ms. Abe­din.

“It’s not about pol­i­tics. It’s just about find­ing the truth as to what hap­pened,” said Ramona Cotca, a se­nior at­tor­ney for Ju­di­cial Watch.

The le­gal bat­tles over the email have per­sisted de­spite the change of ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It may ac­tu­ally be slower,” Ms. Cotca said.

Don­ald Trump made Mrs. Clin­ton’s email scan­dal a top cam­paign is­sue when she was the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

On the cam­paign trail, Mr. Trump vowed to ap­point a spe­cial coun­sel to in­ves­ti­gate Mrs. Clin­ton. He backed off that prom­ise once elected, say­ing he didn’t want to “hurt the Clin­tons” and that she had al­ready “suf­fered greatly.”

He changed his tune again as spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller in­ten­si­fied the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion and ac­cu­sa­tions of Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion.

“At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions has taken a VERY weak po­si­tion on Hil­lary Clin­ton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & In­tel leak­ers!” the pres­i­dent said last month in a Twit­ter post.

The White House did not re­spond to ques­tions about the slow pace of the Clin­ton email search.

A Jus­tice Depart­ment spokesman also de­clined to re­spond to the crit­i­cism but said the agency would soon sub­mit a sta­tus re­port to up­dat­ing the court on the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act search.

“The slower the State Depart­ment pro­cesses and pro­duces these records, the longer it will take us. But we’ll just keep at it,” said Ms. Cotca. “We would like to see an end in sight. I would.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

HIDE-AND-SEEK: Hil­lary Clin­ton handed over about 30,000 mes­sages to the State Depart­ment in De­cem­ber 2014 but erased an­other 32,000 that she deemed per­sonal.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Years after her de­par­ture, Hil­lary Clin­ton left the State Depart­ment with the task of a painstak­ing re­view to un­cover clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion that was stored on the in­se­cure server that shielded her cor­re­spon­dence.

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