In March 2015, it became publicly known that Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as United States Secretary of State, had used her family’s private email server for official communications, rather than official State Department email accounts maintained on federal secure servers. Those official communications included over 100 emails which contained classified information at the time they were sent, as well as nearly 2,100 emails which were not marked classified but would retroactively be ranked as classified by the State Department.
The controversy unfolded against the backdrop of Clinton’s 2016 presidential election campaign and hearings held by the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi. Some experts, officials, and members of Congress have contended that her use of private messaging system software and a private server violated State Department protocols and procedures, as well as federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping. In response, Clinton has said that her use of personal email was in compliance with federal laws and State Department regulations, and that former secretaries of state had also maintained personal email accounts, though not their own private email servers.
After allegations were raised that some of the emails in question contained classified information, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated an investigation regarding the origin and handling of classified emails on Clinton’s server. The FBI report found that some of the emails originated in five other intelligence agencies. The FBI found that all classified emails on Clinton’s server were stored and sent from “unclassified systems”, violating the same policies as those on Clinton’s personal server.
Several lawsuits were filed in connection with the email controversy. Most recently, as noted by the Washington Post, a federal judge tossed a lawsuit Thursday that would have pushed the State Department and FBI to do more to try to track down Hillary Clinton’s emails, ruling the government has done all it reasonably could to locate the former secretary of state’s messages.
Two watchdog groups, Judicial Watch and Cause of Action, had sued in 2015 demanding the government recover all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, saying she violated open-records laws by not preserving her messages.
U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg, though, said the FBI did what it could, and did manage to recover thousands of messages Mrs. Clinton didn’t return herself.
“Those efforts went well beyond the mine-run search for missing federal records … and were largely successful, save for some emails sent during a two-month stretch. Even then, the FBI pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails,” wrote Judge Boasberg, an Obama appointee to the court.
Originally, the case had been dismissed as moot, but last year the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed that finding, ordering the government to “shake loose a few more emails.” But Judge Boasberg put an end to the shaking Thursday.
“The Court of Appeals may have asked the Government to ‘shak[e] the tree harder’ for more emails, but it never suggested that the FBI must shake every tree in every forest, without knowing whether they are fruit trees,” he wrote.
The judge said the FBI had already uncovered 55,000 pages of emails when it was ordered to do more. The agency interviewed people that most frequently exchanged work related emails with Mrs. Clinton, contacted her four service providers, and reviewed two phones and three iPads, which yielded little records.
Further details on the lawsuit are accessible at: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/9/federal-judge-fbi-exhausted-search-clinton-emails/
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