AP Sues State Dept. for Clinton Emails

It seems previous FOIA requests have gone by wayside
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2015 11:33 AM CDT
AP Sues State Dept. for Clinton Emails
In this March 10, 2015, file photo, Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at United Nations headquarters.   (Seth Wenig)

The AP filed suit today against the State Department to force the release of emails and documents from Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary, after repeated Freedom of Information Act requests—including one from 2010 and others from 2013—have gone unfulfilled. The FOIA requests and lawsuit seek materials related to her public and private calendars, correspondence involving longtime aides likely to play key roles in her expected campaign for president, and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and NSA surveillance. "State's failure to ensure that Secretary Clinton's governmental emails were retained, and its failure timely to seek out and search those emails in response to AP's requests, indicate at the very least that State has not engaged in the diligent, good-faith search that FOIA requires," says AP's legal filing.

Other organizations have also sued the State Department recently after lengthy delays responding to public-record requests. In December, Citizens United sued State for failing to disclose flight records showing who accompanied Clinton overseas. Last week, the National Security Archive, which gathers declassified government records, filed suit after waiting seven years for details of Henry Kissinger's phone conversations. The State Department generally takes about 450 days to turn over records—seven times longer than the Justice Department and CIA, and 30 times longer than Treasury. But, "when the government is under a court deadline, they can whip through thousands of pages in a matter of weeks, which they should do here," says the director of the National Security Archive. (More Freedom of Information Act stories.)

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