The PJ Tatler

Newly Revealed Docs Show State Dept. Asked Clinton's Lawyer to Delete Classified Benghazi Email

Newly released correspondence between the Obama State Department and Hillary Clinton’s personal attorney reveals that an attempt was made by State to have a classified email regarding Benghazi be erased from her thumb drive.

Via Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch today released Obama administration correspondence containing a letter from Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy asking Hillary Clinton’s lawyer to destroy all electronic copies of a classified email found in records Clinton decided to turn over to the State Department six months before.

Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, rejected the request as Congress and other investigators had demanded electronic records be preserved.  The correspondence also shows Hillary Clinton has ignored a demand to turn over all electronic copies of the approximately 55,000 pages of emails she previously returned in paper form.  The correspondence was disclosed by the State and Justice Departments in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which Judicial Watch is asking a court to issue a preservation order to protect any emails Clinton has yet to turn over, including those emails in which she and her lawyers unilaterally determined to be personal.

The May 22, 2015, letter from Kennedy to Clinton attorney Kendall reads in part:

I am writing in reference to the following e-mail that is among the approximately 55,000 pages that were identified as potential federal records and produced on behalf of former Secretary Clinton to the Depa1tment of State on December 5, 2014: E-mail forwarded by Jacob Sullivan to Secretary Clinton on November 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm (Subject: Fw: FYI- Report of arrests -possible Benghazi connection).

Please be advised that today the above referenced e-mail, which previously was unclassified, has been classified as “Secret” pursuant to Section 1.7(d) of Executive Order 13526 in connection with a review and release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In order to safeguard and protect the classified information, I ask – consistent with my letter to you dated March 23 2015 – that you, Secretary Clinton and others assisting her in responding to congressional and related inquiries coordinate in taking the steps set forth below. A copy of the document as redacted under the FOIA is attached to assist you in your search.

The letter from Kennedy shows that the State Department knew Clinton had classified material on her email server two months before the inspector general of the intelligence community alerted Congress to the issue on July 23:

The State Department also disclosed a July 2, 2015, letter from the chief records officer at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Paul M. Wester Jr., to Margaret P. Grafeld, deputy assistant secretary for global information services at the State Department, that shows Clinton never turned over the records as requested.  Webster again requests State Department action on the Clinton records:

I would like to reiterate our request that the Department contact the representatives of former Secretary Clinton to secure the native electronic versions with associated metadata of the approximately 55,000 hard copy pages of emails …

Despite this request, the State Department seems never to have followed up with Clinton for the data.  On August 6, the State Department reported to the court in another Judicial Watch lawsuit that it had demanded that Mills and Abedin “return all copies of potential federal records in your possession.”  The State Department did not provide any correspondence demanding Mrs. Clinton return all copies of potential federal records.

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As with the email gaps uncovered by Judicial Watch this week, this latest find raises questions about whether Clinton told the truth last month when she declared, under penalty of perjury, “I have directed that all of my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State….” Clinton made this statement in response to a court order Judicial Watch obtained in other FOIA litigation.

Said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Judicial Watch exposed a cover-up with criminal implications. Why on Earth would John Kerry’s State Department tell Mrs. Clinton to delete classified Benghazi records before finding out where and how this material had been disclosed?

That the State Department asked Clinton’s lawyer to destroy federal records shows a level of distain for the rule of law that goes beyond the pale.  These letters should have been disclosed to more than one federal judge.  The evident contempt and obstruction of justice by both Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration will be brought to the attention the courts.