A frustrated federal judge ordered the State Department to begin producing within five days hundreds of documents on whether required or recommended security training, briefings or courses were completed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides.
Judge Richard Leon ruled Tuesday in favor of The Daily Caller News Foundation by rejecting the State Department’s motion to dismiss TheDCNF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning production of the documents originally sought under the Freedom of Information Act. But he also denied TheDCNF’s request to depose State Department officials.
The State Department has been unable to produce any records confirming that Clinton and her top aides received mandatory annual security briefings about the proper handling of classified materials and the proper methods for conducting secure communications.
In addition to Clinton, TheDCNF seeks the same records for former Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin and advisor Jacob Sullivan.
Leon has been impatient with State Department foot-dragging in releasing the documents. He ordered the department to release one third of the 400 documents by Sept. 26 and the rest of them by Oct. 10.
Bradley Moss, one of the attorneys representing TheDCNF, said:
Judge Leon’s Order made clear his frustration with the State Department’s continued obstruction of the FOIA process. State will either meet his deadline or face the consequences of failure.
FBI Director James Comey told reporters in a July 7 news conference he regarded the former secretary of state as a “careless” federal official when she set up a private and unsecured email server in her New York home. Comey did not end up recommending prosecution of the former secretary of state.
National Security Agency officials were aghast to learn early in Clinton’s term that she insisted on using an unsecured personal Blackberry phone within the confines of her State Department office. Unsecured digital devices are banned from the secretary’s office.
State Department officials admitted in a July 29 response to TheDCNF that their failure to produce the requested documents meant the “courses were not completed” by Clinton or her aides.
Department officials balked at searching computer hard drives in Clinton’s executive offices or in security offices where security awareness training is arranged for all of the department’s 45,000 employees and foreign service officers.
In an Aug. 31 hearing, Leon told Justice Department Attorney Jason Lee the documents should be released before the November election.
“I’m sure you can appreciate Mr. Lee, there is a certain time sensitivity on this issue,” Leon said. “We’re looking down the barrel of a presidential election from now in two months.”