(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that it forced the release of State Department documents that show then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top staff pushed for the use of personal digital assistant (PDA) devices that could be used for secret and top secret information. The documents also show that the “push” for the special PDAs evidently was rejected. The documents were released under court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00646)). In a related court filing, Judicial Watch highlighted the agency’s failure to comply with the court’s orders regarding the production of documents.
The email chain shows the February 2, 2009, discussion held by State Department security staff, in which agency top security official, former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell writes:
On the off chance that [Clinton’s] staff continues to push for [secret] or [top secret]-capable PDAs [redacted]. I’ll need a briefing on what we know [redaction] Pls schedule.
The email was sent to another top security official – Donald R. Reid, the State Department’s security coordinator for security infrastructure and Patrick Donovan, then-deputy assistant secretary of State and then director, Diplomatic Security Service.
(Mr. Boswell was placed on administrative leave as a result of the Benghazi attacks but reportedly was reinstated and reassigned to new position by Secretary of State John Kerry.)
State Department Executive Secretary Joseph E. McManus declared under penalty of perjury in another Judicial Watch lawsuit that the agency “does not believe that any personal computing device was issued by the Department to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has not located any such device at the Department” (and possibly destroyed the BlackBerrys of her aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills).
Judicial Watch informed the court of the State Department’s failure to produce documents or information on its search for responsive records as ordered by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on July 7, 2015. Since its last report to the court on July 2, State has produced only these two pages of responsive email records – and they were a week late – delivered on August 27.
The State Department informed the court that it had 250 potentially responsive documents, however:
[The State Department] did not indicate when it located these records, where it located these records and why it did not include these records in its review of the initial production. [The State Department] also stated that its search was ongoing, but did not give any indication when it will complete its search of all potentially responsive records. It also did not indicate the scope of the search or the volume of all potentially responsive records. [Judicial Watch] requested that [the State Department] supplement its response and provide this information before today’s Joint Status Report. [The State Department] did not do so.
The July court order requires the State Department to “make its first production of responsive records by no later than August 20, 2015,” and detail both the volume and scope of responsive documents. In Judicial Watch’s filing it asks the court to reorder the State Department to provide details about its search.
- Identify the search terms used to locate potentially responsive records;
- Identify all sources that are reasonably likely to contain responsive records; and
- Complete the search of those sources to identify the volume of all potentially responsive records to Plaintiff’s FOIA requests
“These new documents further confirm that Hillary Clinton and her staff tried to convince the State Department to issue them smart devices that could handle classified data. This unusual request was not only evidently rejected but it blows up Hillary Clinton’s contention that she set up a separate email system because she didn’t want to use two devices,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And this week’s email dump showing Hillary Clinton did obtain an iPad with the help of State Department employees is seeming at odds with representations to the contrary by the State Department, under penalty of perjury, in Judicial Watch’s litigation.”