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State Department Tag

Judicial Watch has been fighting a years-long battle to obtain records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding Huma Abedin's non-State Department employment arrangement. In the course of that fight, issues regarding Hillary Clinton's handling of email and her email server have become central. Judicial Watch has won many key procedural fights, the latest of which was the Court ruling that Judicial Watch could take discovery as to State Department practices with regard to obtaining Hillary's emails. The two sides have submitted their positions to the Court, but the Court may not need to rule because an agreement was just reached (full embed at bottom of post). The agreement, in the form of a Joint Proposed Order, gives Judicial Watch what it was seeking, but puts off limits discovery regarding Hillary's handling of classified information and the FBI investigation, which Judicial Watch was not seeking in any event. Here is the key paragraph:

A year after the House Select Committee on Benghazi made its initial request, the State Department finally handed over 1,100 pages of records. These records contain include files, "stored on network folders used by senior employees within the Office of the Secretary, and emails from Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, Susan Rice, and Patrick Kennedy," according to the Select Committee. Records received Friday were in response to requests made by the committee in November of 2014. When the requests were unanswered, subpoena's were issued in March of 2015. Rep. Trey Gowdy, Committee Chairman said:

In late February we reported that the court in the FOIA case seeking State Department records as to Huma Abedin granted Judicial Watch's motion for discovery, and required Judicial Watch to submit a discovery plan:
In a ruling sure to keep the Hillary Clinton email scandal alive through the summer, if not longer,  a federal just has granted Judicial Watch the right to take discovery as to whether Hillary’s home server was part of an effort to evade the Freedom of Information (FOIA) law by shifting federal records off-site and into the sole control of Hillary, her attorney’s and consultants.... Given the difficulty of obtaining records, particularly in light of the destruction of at least some records maintained on Hillary’s home server, led Judicial Watch to seek discovery, including depositions of key officials. Such discovery is not routine in FOIA cases, and good cause needs to be shown to obtain discovery.... The Court granted the motion today, via two Minute Orders (meaning orders reflected on the court docket sheet, not separate documents:

We've covered the speech squelching progressive concept of microaggressions at College Insurrection countless times as an impediment to free expression on campus. Now it seems this idea is entering parts of the government. Peter Hasson reports at the Daily Caller:
State Dept. Warns Employees: ‘Microaggressions’ May Count As Harassment Following the example set by elite liberal universities, the U.S. State Department has begun cracking down on “microaggressions” in the workplace. According to a newsletter from State Department chief diversity officer John Robinson, employees who commit “microaggressions” may risk violating harassment laws in doing so.

In the latest batch of released emails, more than 15% had classified information. The Washington Times reports:
More than 15 percent of the latest batch of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails released Saturday contain classified information, with three of the messages being labeled “secret” — continuing to add to the questions surrounding her email use. The department released 551 messages Saturday in response to a federal judge’s order.
Apparently, the State Department had tried to delay the release of the emails due the Democrat primary schedule; however, a judge ordered their release.

The US State Department is criticizing Israel's proposed "Transparency Law," suggesting that Israelis should not know when foreign governments are influencing their domestic politics. If enacted, the current version of the Transparency Law would deem an Israeli Non-Governmental Organization ("NGO") a foreign agent if it receives more than 50% of its budget from foreign government sources.  The NGO would then be required to disclose that it is a foreign agent in publications and political tracts, and to disclose foreign donors. The impetus behind the Transparency Law is Israel's increasingly hostile NGO community, such NGO's propaganda value to Israel's enemies, and their overwhelmingly non-Israeli financing.  Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University and NGO Monitor has explained the problem:

Tardy for a court-ordered document dump deadline, the State Department will release more than 2,000 pages of emails from embattled former Secretary, Hillary Clinton Thursday evening. According to The Hill, forty-five of the newly published emails have been marked classified, bringing the total classified email tally to 1,319:
Thursday’s document dump is likely to be the second-to-last release of Clinton’s emails by the State Department, which has been ordered by a court to have the full 55,000 pages of emails to the public by the end of the month.

The Hill reports:
The State Department on Thursday afternoon released a batch of 5,500 pages of Hillary Clinton's emails online, in its second-to-last tranche of the former secretary of State's messages. Thursday's dump — coming the afternoon of New Year's Eve — is the seventh of eight court-ordered releases.... The emails released Thursday do not have "fully completed data fields on the FOIA website," the State Department said earlier in the day. This means they can't be easily sorted by subject, sender or recipient — which had been an option in previous email dumps.
In other words, not only did the State Department dump the documents on New Year's Eve, it dumped documents many of which are not accessible. The rush to get something online appears to be due to the State Department having failed to comply with court-ordered deadlines. And, via Politico, the number of "classified" emails has skyrocketed:

The State Department's recent legacy of international embarrassment remains firmly intact. Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) has a formidable online presence which they use to spread propaganda, recruit new jihadis, and collect information. Called "Think Again Turn Away" (yeah, we have no clue how they came up with that either) the State Department launched its own overt-education initiative to combat ISIS on social media as part of an Integrated Strategic Counterterrorism Communications Initiative created by Executive Order in 2011. Coming from the same people who think an influx of jobs would deter jihadis from strapping bombs to their chests, the results are about what you'd expect. According to the Washington Post, "review by outside experts cast new doubt on the U.S. government’s ability to serve as a credible voice against the terrorist group’s propaganda, current and former U.S. officials said." You mean to tell me The ABCs of Daesh is not an effective way to combat radical Islamic terrorism? GTFOH.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R - Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R - Ark.) have a lot in common. Both are army veterans and both are graduates of Harvard Law School. And both have been doing a great job of exposing aspects of the nuclear deal with Iran that the administration would rather keep quiet. This week it was reported that an inquiry from Pompeo got the State Department to admit that the nuclear deal was never signed and is not "legally binding." Julia Frifield, the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, wrote in response to Pompeo's inquiry if he could see the signed agreement, in a letter reproduced at the congressman's website, that the nuclear deal was not binding and that it was not signed by any party. The key parts of the letter read:
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document ...

Today the State Department informed TransCanada Corp. that the agency review of the Keystone XL pipeline and its associated permits will continue in spite of the corporation's request that the process be paused. TransCanada is currently in both a legal and logistical battle regarding the future pipeline’s route through Nebraska; the corporation submitted its original request for a pause to the State Department "out of respect for the process" of policy negotiations with lawmakers, activists, and property owners in Nebraska. More from the WSJ:
“We have communicated to them our intention to continue the review,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “We’re not required to pause it based on an applicant’s request, there’s no legal basis to do that.” Mr. Kirby added that a lot of interagency work has gone into reviewing the project.

The hypocrisy of this administration with respect to Israel can, at times, be stunning. One of those times was in August of 2014, in the middle of the Israeli military operation known as Operation Protective Edge, which was designed to stop rocket-fire emanating from Gaza. A school run by UNRWA, the UN agency that is supposed to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian Arab refugees and their second, third, and fourth generation descendants, was hit by shelling. It was well-known at that time that Gaza's Hamas rulers were firing on Israel from positions within civilian areas, and that the UNRWA schools were basically doubling as rocket warehouses. Despite this knowledge, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the time that the US was "appalled" by the "disgraceful shelling," that Israel "must do more to meet its own standards," and that "the suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians."

"Deleted?" Not so much. Two government sources revealed last night that the FBI has managed to recover personal and work-related emails from Hillary Clinton's private server. The sources say that the emails were "not hard" to recover, but did not elaborate as to whether this latest discovery included all 60,000 emails stored on the server. The story was originally reported by Bloomberg:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s success at salvaging personal e-mails that Clinton said had been deleted raises the possibility that the Democratic presidential candidate’s correspondence eventually could become public. The disclosure of such e-mails would likely fan the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system for official business. The FBI is investigating how and why classified information ended up on Clinton’s server. The probe probably will take at least several more months, according to the person, who described the matter on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing and deals with sensitive information.

For those of you who put money on there being more to this Clinton email scandal than what was contained in the already-released files, step forward and collect your prize---this thing isn't over yet. Today, advocacy group Judicial Watch released documentation showing an almost five-month gap in the timeline of emails Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose to return to the State Department last year. The details, from Judicial Watch:
The documents were produced under court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Judicial Watch filed on May 6, 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The lawsuit was filed after the Obama State Department violated federal law and failed to respond to two separate FOIA requests, including a request for records about the actual production of the emails records by Clinton to the State Department. The first batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch contains a heavily redacted email from State Department official Eric F. Stein to Margaret P. Grafeld, dated April 21, 2015, with the subject “HRC Emails.” Stein is deputy director of global information systems at the State Department and Grafeld is deputy assistant secretary of global information systems. Stein reports to Grafeld that the “gaps” in Clinton’s emails include:

Nothing is ever simple in Clinton World. Words have multiple meanings or no meaning. So now we're arguing over what the definition of "wiped" means. The Washington Post reports, Tech company: No indication that Clinton’s e-mail server was ‘wiped’:
The company that managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server said it has “no knowledge of the server being wiped,” the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered. Clinton and her advisers have said for months that she deleted her personal correspondence from her time as secretary of state, creating the impression that 31,000 e-mails were gone forever.... To make the information go away permanently, a server must be wiped — a process that includes overwriting the underlying data with gibberish, possibly several times. That process, according to Platte River Networks, the Denver-based firm that has managed the system since 2013, apparently did not happen.

We previously wrote how the State Department filed a motion to stay the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case filed by Judicial Watch seeking records with regard to Huma Abedin's outside employment while serving as Hillary Clinton's State Department aide. In this case, Judge Emmet Sullivan forcefully had required the State Department to search for records, including requiring outreach to the FBI as to searches of Hillary's server. Judge Sullivan has harshly criticized State Department behavior as well as what he termed Hillary’s failure to follow policy:
THE COURT: Right. But assuming, though, in that scenario there wasn’t a violation of government policy either, correct? We’re not talking about a search of anyone’s random e-mail accounts. We’re talking about a search of devices that may have contained official government documents, that’s what we’re talking about. We wouldn’t be here today had the employee followed government policy, right? [transcript at 16]
The motion for a stay was in conjunction with a request for appointment of a coordinating judge to handle numerous FOIA cases involving Hillary's emails. While purportedly filed to increase court efficiency, it looked like a naked attempt to take the case away from Judge Sullivan. In a ruling that was just posted, Judge Sullivan denied the motion for a stay, and asserted his right to control his own docket:

The former Hillary Clinton aide who set up the now-infamous "home-brew" server has told at least three Congressional committees that if he is asked to testify about Clinton's server or system of records, he will invoke the Fifth Amendment. Magliano worked on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign as the IT director; after that campaign came to an end, he joined up with a Clinton-affiliated PAC, and helped set up the server in Clinton's New York home. He worked for the State Department from 2009-2013, and is now employed by a tech firm that occasionally contracts with State. He was subpoenaed to testify before the House Benghazi Committee, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee. More coverage from NBC News:
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