Back during the investigation of the Watergate Scandal, Senate Republican Minority Leader Howard Baker gained fame for asking, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” The scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails sent from here private server is far more dangerous in nature than anything Nixon did during Watergate, and now, we have good reason to ask a similar question to the one posed by Sen. Baker, “What did the State Department know, and when did they know it?” While it shouldn’t be a surprise to regular readers of RedState, we now know for certain that the State Department knew about her private server and covered it up for years. We have the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the State Department Inspector General to thank for this knowledge. The UK’s Daily Mail has the story:
A report released Thursday by the agency’s inspector general – a powerful and impartial internal investigator – described a cavalier culture about transparency inside Clinton’s agency, saying that 177 requests for documents about Clinton are still ‘pending’ nearly three years after she left office.
The Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to respond to requests for information within 20 business days.
The botched FOIA request, filed in December 2012 just before Clinton left office, specifically asked whether or not Clinton used an email account other than one hosted at state.gov.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal group, was reacting to news that former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson had used an alias – ‘Richard Windsor’ – to send and receive emails in a way that couldn’t be tied to her when FOIA requests came in.
In May 2013 the State Department responded to CREW’s request, saying it had ‘no records’ related to what the group asked for.
By then, Clinton had spent four years emailing department employees from her private home-brew account, but had never turned the messages over to the State Department.
That CREW request was filed in December 2012, just before Mrs. Clinton left office, and specifically asked whether Mrs. Clinton used anon-State.gov email account for government business.
Thanks to the Office of the State Department Inspector General’s report, we know that the State Department was lying in its response to CREW. Here’s the damning section (pages 17-18):
In December 2012, the nonprofit organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a FOIA request to the Department seeking records “sufficient to show the number of email accounts of, or associated with, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.” On May 10, 2013, IPS replied to CREW, stating that “no records responsive to your request were located.” At the time the request was received, dozens of senior officials throughout the Department, including members of Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff, exchanged emails with the Secretary using the personal accounts she used to conduct official business. OIG found evidence that the Secretary’s then-Chief of Staff was informed of the request at the time it was received and subsequently tasked staff to follow up. However, OIG found no evidence to indicate that any of these senior officials reviewed the search results or approved the response to CREW. OIG also found no evidence that the S/ES, L, and IPS staff involved in responding to requests for information, searching for records, or drafting the response had knowledge of the Secretary’s email usage. Furthermore, it does not appear that S/ES searched any email records, even though the request clearly encompassed emails.
Frankly, the whole timeline they provide is worth a look because it discusses other issues surrounding groups that have made FOIA requests, but this is the pertinent one for her emails. What we can see from this is that the State Department lied to CREW and the American people. The OIG’s report is more charitable, calling responses like this “inaccurate”, but given the situation, it’s hard to see State’s response as anything but intentional dishonesty.
The problem doesn’t end there, though, as the OIG has more coming down the pipe soon. From the Washington Post:
In addition to the FBI probe, the State Department inspector general, Steve Linick, indicated that his work is not done.
His office is preparing an additional report that could touch even more directly on Clinton’s conduct — examining the use of personal email and its effect on the department’s compliance with its duty to preserve records.
Considering the information that was in his latest report, I am eagerly awaiting Linick’s next one, especially if it centers more on Hillary’s conduct in office.
Stories like these prove that, despite what the Clinton campaign and her friends in the media want to tell us, there’s definitely a lot to investigate surrounding her private server and the emails she sent on it. We also learn from this story that the State Department was, contrary to earlier statements, entirely aware of what Clinton was doing. As much as I would love to see it, I doubt there will be a criminal indictment for her anytime soon, and I certainly don’t think there will be one before the 2016 election. However, the fact that this story refuses to go away despite the best efforts of the Left is enough evidence that we need to continue investigating it. Even if Hillary doesn’t go to prison, it’s all but certain that at least some people at State do.