The Obama White House Tracked a FOIA Request for Clinton Emails
We now have further evidence that the Obama White was in on the lies about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use.
In late April we announced that E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, had admitted in writing and under oath that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President.
Now we have obtained 44 pages of records from the State Department through court-ordered discovery revealing that the Obama White House was tracking a December 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records concerning Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system.
Months after the Obama White House involvement, the State Department responded to the FOIA requestor, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), falsely stating that no such records existed.
Our discovery is centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing our FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office. U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides, as well as E.W. Priestap, to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
The State Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a report in January 2016 saying: “At the time the request was received, dozens of senior officials throughout the Department, including members of Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff, exchanged emails with the Secretary using the personal accounts she used to conduct official business.” Also, the IG “found evidence that [Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills] was informed of the request at the time it was received …”
The State Department produced records in response to court-ordered document requests that detail Obama White House involvement in the Clinton email FOIA request.
In a December 20, 2012, email with the subject line “Need to track down a FOIA request from CREW”, Sheryl L. Walter, director of the State Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services (A/GIS/IPS), writes to IPS officials Rosemary D. Reid and Patrick D. Scholl and their assistants:
WH called – have we received a FOIA request from CREW (Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington) on the topic of personal use of email by senior officials? Apparently other agencies have. If we have it, can you give me the details so I can call the WH back? I think they’d like it on quick turnaround. Thanks! Sheryl
In the same email chain, Walter on December 20, 2012 also emailed Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s White House liaison, describing the CREW FOIA request:
Hi Heather – Copy attached, it was in our significant weekly FOIA report that we send to L and S/ES also. Do you want us to add you to that list? It’s a subset of things like this that we think likely to be of broader Department interest. More detail below re this request. As a practical matter given our workload, it won’t be processed for some months. Let me know if there are any particular sensitivities. If we don’t talk later, happy holidays! All the best, Sheryl
Sheryl: The request is assigned Case #F-2012-40981. It was received on 12/6/2012 and acknowledged on 12/10/2012. The request is assigned for processing.
On January 10, 2013, Walter writes to Samuelson that she is not including “personal” accounts in the FOIA request search:
Hi Heather – did you ever get any intell re what other agencies are doing re this FOIA request that seeks records about the number of email accounts associated with the Secretary (but isn’t specifying “personal” email accounts so we are interpreting as official accounts only). We are considering contacting the requester to find out exactly what it is they are looking for. Do you have any-concerns about that approach?
Soon afterward, Samuelson responds, “White House Counsel was looking into this for me. I will circle back with them now to see if they have further guidance.”
CREW’s general counsel, Anne Weismann, submitted a FOIA request to the State Department on December 6, 2012, seeking “records sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.”
On May 10, 2013, [Information Programs and Services] replied to CREW, stating that “no records responsive to your request were located.”
Samuelson became Secretary Clinton’s personal lawyer and in 2014 led the review of Clinton’s emails to determine which ones were work-related and which were personal. She was also one of five close Clinton associates granted immunity by the Department of Justice in the Clinton email investigation.
Samuelson is one of several Obama administration and State Department officials ordered by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth to respond under oath to our questions regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA.
The new documents also include a January 2013 email exchange discussing Clinton’s departure from the State Department in which Agency Records Officer Tasha M. Thian specifically stating that Secretary Clinton “does not use email.”
This was directly contradicted by an email exchange between Secretary Clinton and Gen. David Petraeus dating back to January 2009 – the very first days of Clinton’s State Department tenure – in which she tells Petraeus that she “had to change her email address.”
Interestingly, this email exchange between Petraeus and Clinton was not produced in a related FOIA lawsuit seeking “all emails” of Hillary Clinton. The bottom portion of the email chain was produced, but not the beginning emails.
In a January 2013 email under the subject “RE: Sec Clinton’s papers,” Thian writes:
Just so you know, Secretary Clinton – she brought with her a lot of material as Senator and First Lady – 47 boxes. In case you hear there are many boxes I wanted you to know what they are. She is taking her copies of photos, public speeches, press statements, contacts, templates (some of these are both hard copy and electronic), reimbursements, etc…
Although Sec. Clinton does not use email [emphasis added] her staffers do – I have agreed that the emails of the three staffers will be electronically captured (and not printed out).
Also included in the new batch of documents is the draft Departing Officials Notice, which states that State Department personnel are not to remove classified records from Department “custody and control.”
These documents suggest the Obama White House knew about the Clinton email lies being told to the public at least as early as December 2012. A federal court granted us discovery into the Clinton emails because the court wanted answers about a government cover-up of the Clinton emails. And now we have answers because it looks like the Obama White House orchestrated the Clinton email cover-up.
Why Is Qatar Funding Texas A&M, a Public University?
The Mideast nation of Qatar, which has ties to terrorists, has given $1 billion to American universities since 2011, and it’s not doing it out of a generous heart. It’s important that we understand what Qatar gets in return. Of course Qatar doesn’t want us to know.
In that regard, we have filed a petition to intervene on behalf of our client Zachor Legal Institute under the Texas Public Information Act, seeking information about potential influence by the Qatar government’s funding of certain Texas A&M University programs and a Texas A&M campus in Education City, Al Rayyan, Qatar (Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development v. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General (No. D-1-GN-18-006240)).
Zachor Legal Institute is a U.S.-based advocacy group dedicated to combatting the spread of anti-Semitism. Zachor made requests under the TPIA for information about the funding or donations made to Texas A&M by the government of Qatar and agencies and subdivisions of the government of Qatar. Qatar controversially has aligned itself with Islamic terrorists and extremists, which has placed it at odds with the United States, Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Zachor’s began asking nearly a year ago for information about Qatari funding of Texas A&M research and how Texas A&M, a public university, was able to establish a degree-conferring campus in Qatar without the Texas Legislature’s permission or involvement. In 2003 Texas A&M established a campus in Qatar that now grants bachelor of science degrees in chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and petroleum engineering. Since 2011, advanced degrees have been offered in chemical engineering.
Texas A&M at Qatar has awarded more than 900 degrees since 2007.
In October 2018, Qatar filed suit to prevent disclosure of its funding information. We contend that neither the Qatari government nor any of its agencies are protected by Texas Public Information Act exceptions and that federal law “expressly makes the requested information public.”
The university claims the records can be kept from the public because disclosure would reveal confidential donor information. We point out that the law only protects private donors, not donations from a foreign government body, specifically the Qatar Foundation. The Qatar Foundation “was created by the Emir of Qatar, is chaired by his consort, and is sponsored and supported by the government of Qatar, a monarchy. At no point did the Qatar Foundation demonstrate that it is not an agency or subdivision of the government of Qatar.”
So we are battling in court for the truth about how the foreign government of Qatar lassoed Texas A&M into setting up a campus in a country run by a government known for its promotion of terrorism and extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic policies.
Marc Greendorfer, President of Zachor Legal Institute said, “We are grateful for the assistance of Judicial Watch in intervening on our behalf. We were surprised that the Qatar Foundation sought to suppress the production of information that is required to be reported under federal law and look forward to finally receiving the documents from Texas A&M so we can continue our work researching the influence of malign foreign actors on American campuses.”
Holdover Obama Appointee Fires Journalists Over Soros Report
We have consistently reported the Latin America shenanigans of leftist billionaire George Soros, but when a media agency supported by your tax dollars tried to do the same, the journalists involved were fired. This, it turns out, was the doing of the disgraced Senator Bob Mendendez. The corruption doesn’t get any more obvious, as our Corruption Chronicles blog reports.
It’s ironic that, just weeks after firing journalists behind a broadcast critical of leftwing billionaire George Soros, the head of the U.S. government’s international media networks is proclaiming his support for “press freedom.” U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Chief John F. Lansing, an Obama appointee, issued a heartfelt statement a few days ago reaffirming his “commitment to the fundamental principles of press freedom.” In the document, titled “Fighting for press freedom, today and everyday,” Lansing assures the world that his agency “will continue to report the truth,” though it recently cost USAGM journalists their jobs. The occasion was World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on May 3, and Lansing expresses deep concern that his taxpayer-funded agency “continues to witness firsthand how a free and independent media is deteriorating worldwide.”
Posted on the agency’s website and disbursed worldwide, the document goes on to say, “despite some very dark moments, we have not been silenced. We will continue to report the truth. We will continue to find new ways to get independent reporting and programming to global audiences who rely on it. And we will continue to carry through our mission to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. Today, and every day, I am proud to be part of this organization, and call these brave men and women colleagues, as we stand together for press freedom.”
Lansing conveniently omits that he recently utilized Stalinist techniques to retaliate against USAGM journalists and producers involved in the Soros piece. The Spanish-language segment aired in May 2018 on Television Martí and was available for months online until it caught the eye of a scandal-plagued senator tried for bribery and corruption. Eight reporters and editors at the publicly funded media outlet were terminated and, at the request of the disgraced senator, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, Lansing ordered a review of all content to address “patterns of unethical, unprofessional, biased, or sub-standard journalism.” An employee at the Miami, Florida-based Martí headquarters said in a local newspaper report “the environment that has been created by the upper hierarchy of the Agency for Global Media is repressive. People write with fear. Adjectives are no longer used.”
Television Martí—and its radio counterpart—operate under the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) and comprise one of the USAGM’s five international multimedia networks. The others are Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting. The media outlets get about $685 million a year from American taxpayers and reportedly reach 345 million people worldwide in 59 languages. The global media agency was created to counter disinformation spread by oppressive regimes abroad. The USAGM website states that its mission is “to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.” Television and Radio Martí were created to promote freedom and democracy by providing the people of Cuba with objective news and information programming.
The Soros broadcast focused on his efforts to cripple sovereign governments in Latin America. Judicial Watch was cited as a source because it investigated State Department funding of Soros groups in Colombia and published a report on Soros’ initiatives to advance a radical globalist agenda in Guatemala. Judicial Watch also released a special report documenting the financial and staffing nexus between Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the U.S. government. In that document, Judicial Watch connects the dots between U.S.-funded entities and OSF affiliates to further the Hungarian-born philanthropist’s agenda seeking to destabilize legitimate governments, erase national borders, target conservative politicians, finance civil unrest, subvert institutions of higher education, and orchestrate refugee crises for political gain. A few years ago Judicial Watch exposed a scheme in which the U.S. government spent millions of dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with Soros’ OSF.
More than five months after the Spanish-language Soros broadcast aired on Television Martí, Menendez ordered Lansing to conduct an immediate investigation and the USAGM chief retaliated against his own staff for practicing the “press freedom” he defends weeks later. Menendez, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee despite his sordid history, blocked President Trump’s nomination last year to replace Lansing as USAGM chief so perhaps Lansing owed him. A few years ago, Menendez was charged with federal bribery and corruption stemming from his relationship with a crooked south Florida eye doctor that lavished him with cash, gifts and trips in exchange for political favors. The eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, got convicted of stealing $73 million from Medicare and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Menendez got off because jurors were unable to reach a verdict and his trial ended in mistrial. His colleagues on the Senate Ethics Committee determined that the veteran lawmaker not only violated senate rules, but also federal law and applicable standards of conduct. In a public letter of admonition, the committee writes that over a six-year period Menendez knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts of significant value from Melgen in violation of senate rules and federal law. “Additionally, while accepting these gifts, you used your position as a Member of the Senate to advance Dr. Melgen’s personal and business interests,” the committee writes.
President Trump has more house cleaning to do.
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