Hillary Clinton’s top aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills have become key figures in the rapidly expanding Clinton email scandal. They figure prominently in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has issued a series of rulings instructing the State Department to certify that Clinton, Abedin, and Mills have turned over all subpoena-responsive documents, under penalty of perjury.
The State Department just admitted it doesn’t actually have control over all the email Abedin and Mills generated as State Department employees. Not only because they had accounts on Hillary Clinton’s infamous homebrew server, but because they were also using “personal email accounts located on commercial servers at times for government business.”
That’s what State Department records official John F. Hackett told Judge Sullivan, as quoted by the Washington Times, in the course of explaining why his department “is not in a position to attest to non-department servers, accounts, hard drives or other devices that may contain responsive information.”
The best Hackett could do was assert that State is “not currently aware” of any additional devices officially issued to Clinton, Abedin, and Mills that might contain subpoena-responsive material. But other devices they might have bought themselves, or accounts they might have created with Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft, or whatever? Who knows?
As with so much of the Clinton scandal, this is patently absurd.
We’re asked to accept that our mega-government – which monitors ordinary citizens in countless ways, and ruthlessly destroys them if they fail to swiftly and fully comply with records requests – can do nothing to ensure it has all legally-responsive government business documents from the Secretary of State and her top aides. Try those excuses with the IRS and see how far they get you.
The State Department is effectively telling the court that it has to take Clinton, Abedin, and Mills on faith when they say they’ve handed over all of the records that were requested. In this case, since Abedin is under scrutiny for a suspicious arrangement in which conflict-of-interest laws were waived so she could do private work for a company that could benefit from State Department connections, the idea that she should be trusted implicitly to provide every email the court needs to see is preposterous. The judge only gets to see incriminating evidence she was foolish enough to send through her official State Department account?
Our ultra-powerful, regulation-obsessed, overfunded government sure does play fast and loose when it comes to the most basic, common-sense accountability measures for itself, doesn’t it?
Simple logic would suggest all government business must be conducted through official, secure, properly-archived email accounts. The only way to prevent people like the Clinton gang from disregarding those requirements and using less secure and transparent methods is to quickly and severely punish all such transgressions. Instead, everyone in the Obama Administration knows they can use whatever means they deem necessary to keep their shady dealings away from public scrutiny and congressional oversight – they openly denounce the latter as mere partisan sniping and boast of their defiance.
“The State Department refused to answer questions about what is even in its possession. Now we know that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have joined hands in this email scandal,” declared Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, understandably unsatisfied by State’s response. “It is now clear that Mrs. Clinton is withholding servers and emails from the FBI and Justice Department, and Judge Sullivan is being misled to conclude otherwise. We will seek appropriate relief from the court.”
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