(National Sentinel)Â Daylight: It’s become self-evident that were in not for Judicial Watch, much of what is now known about the various political scandals involving former President Obama’s administration would still beÂ unknown.
The watchdog scored another victory for transparency in government on Thursday involving Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official business.
According to a press release,Â U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth “excoriated” the Department of Justice and the State Department for potentially acting in “bad faith” while colluding to “scuttle public scrutiny” of Clinton’s use of a private server which many believe she did in order toÂ hide her various dealings and activities from the ‘prying eyes’ of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests, in violation of federal open records rules.
As such, Lamberth has ordered both agencies to prepare a plan for full “discovery” within 10 days with the objective of, in part, ascertaining whether Clinton used her private server to “skirt FOIA” (we think we already know the answer to that question).
Terming Clintonâ€™s use of her private email system, â€œone of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency,â€ Lamberth wrote in his Memorandum Opinion:
â€¦ his [President Barack Obamaâ€™s] State and Justice Departments fell far short. So far short that the court questions, even now, whether they are acting in good faith. Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as Secretary of State to thwart this lofty goal [Obama announced standard for transparency]? Was the State Departmentâ€™s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching â€“ and disclosing the existence of â€“ Clintonâ€™s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?
At best, Stateâ€™s attempt to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.
The DoJ didn’t escape Lamberth’s wrath, either:
The current Justice Department made things worse. When the government last appeared before the Court, counsel claimed, â€˜it is not true to say we misled either Judicial Watch or the Court.â€™ When accused of â€˜doublespeak,â€™ counsel denied vehemently, feigned offense, and averred complete candor. When asked why State masked the inadequacy of its initial search, counsel claimed that the officials who initially responded to Judicial Watchâ€™s request didnâ€™t realize Clintonâ€™s emails were missing, and that it took them two months to â€˜figure out what was going onâ€™â€¦ Counselâ€™s responses strain credulity. [citations omitted]
The ruling is tied to Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit related to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in September 2012, in which four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed.
Calling Clinton’s use of a private email serverÂ â€œone of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency,â€ LamberthÂ granted discovery because the governmentâ€™s response to the Judicial Watch Benghazi FOIA request for Clinton emails â€œsmacks of outrageous conduct.â€
JW’s president, Tom Fitton, hailed the ruling.
â€œThe historic court ruling raises concerns about the Hillary Clinton email scandal and government corruption that millions of Americans share,â€ he said.Â â€œJudicial Watch looks forward to conducting careful discovery into the Clinton email issue and we hope the Justice Department and State Department recognize Judge Lamberthâ€™s criticism and help, rather than obstruct, this court-ordered discovery.â€
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