Judicial Watch

May 06, 2019 – Former Asst. Sec. of State for Diplomatic Security testifies under oath that he warned Hillary Clinton twice about unsecure BlackBerrys and personal emails

Eric Boswell (Credit: CSpan)

Judicial Watch released the deposition transcript of Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, in which he reveals that Hillary Clinton was warned twice against using unsecure BlackBerrys and personal emails to transmit classified material. A full transcript of the deposition is available here.

Boswell, who was responsible for securing classified and national security information, stated that Clinton and her staff were “wedded to their BlackBerrys.” Additionally, he stated that he and other former State Department employees “were surprised” that Clinton used clintonemail.com to conduct official government business.

In his deposition, Ambassador Boswell stated:

  • Hillary Clinton and other Senior State Department officials were warned in 2009 that “any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails and exploiting calendars.”
  • Clinton was warned again in 2011 that “We also urge Department users to minimize the use of personal web email for business, as some compromised home systems have been reconfigured by these actors to automatically forward copies of all composed emails to an undisclosed recipient.”
  • Clinton assured him that she “gets it” when he informed her about dangers of Blackberries.
  • Clinton and her staff were “wedded to their blackberries” and wanted to continue using them in secure areas even after warning because it was a “convenience issue” to them.
  • He and other former State Department employees “were surprised” to learn that Clinton used clintonemail.com to conduct official government business.  Boswell claimed that they were not aware of such activity while still employed by the government.

Boswell was deposed as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth in response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecured, non-government email system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). (Read more: Judicial Watch, 5/29/2019)

April 23, 2019 – FBI official, Bill Priestap, admits Hillary Clinton’s emails were found in Obama White House

Bill Priestap (Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

Judicial Watch announced today that a senior FBI official 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. The FBI also admitted nearly 49,000 Clinton server emails were reviewed as result of a search warrant for her material on the laptop of Anthony Weiner.

E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, made the disclosure to Judicial Watch as part of court-ordered discovery into the Clinton email issue.

Priestap was asked by Judicial Watch to identify representatives of Hillary Clinton, her former staff, and government agencies from which “email repositories were obtained.” Priestap responded with the following non-exhaustive list:

  • Bryan Pagliano
  • Cheryl Mills
  • Executive Office of the President [Emphasis added]
  • Heather Samuelson
  • Jacob Sullivan
  • Justin Cooper
  • United States Department of State
  • United States Secret Service
  • Williams & Connolly LLP

Priestap also testifies that 48,982 emails were reviewed as a result of a warrant for Clinton email account information from the laptop of Anthony Weiner, who had been married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

A complete copy of Priestap’s interrogatory responses is available here. Priestap, is serving as assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and helped oversee both the Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.

“This astonishing confirmation, made under oath by the FBI, shows that the Obama FBI had to go to President Obama’s White House office to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “No wonder Hillary Clinton has thus far skated – Barack Obama is implicated in her email scheme.”

Priestap was ordered to answer the written questions by United States District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth when he ruled in January that Judicial Watch’s discovery could begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. This action came in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit for:

Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 4/23/2019)

April 16, 2019 – Judicial watch files a FOIA lawsuit against the DOJ for records of communications and payments between the FBI and Christopher Steele

(Judicial Watch logo)

“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records of communications and payments between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.

(…) The time frame for this request is March 9, 2017, to September 27, 2018.

Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr testified to Congress that “at some point during 2017, Chris Steele did speak with somebody from the FBI, but I don’t know who.”

This is the latest Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit in an extensive investigation into the Clinton-funded, anti-Trump dossier and its use to obtain FISA warrants in order to spy on the Trump campaign.

In a case seeking information between January 1, 2016, and March 8, 2017, Judicial Watch previously released FBI records showing that Steele was cut off as a “Confidential Human Source” in November 2016 after he disclosed his relationship to the FBI to a third party. The documents show that there were at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016.

Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, reportedly paid $168,000 in 2016 to Steele’s company, Orbis Business Intelligence.

In a related case, Judicial Watch recently released 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the DOJ revealing Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI.

“How and why did the FBI pay Christopher Steele, who was already being funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC through Fusion GPS?” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “That we had to sue for this basic information shows the FBI may have something more to hide.” (Judicial Watch, 4/16/2019)

March 21, 2019 – Judicial Watch uncovers more classified emails on Clinton’s unsecure server

Clinton speaks to a CNN reporter during a 2016 primary campaign event. (Credit: CNN)

“Judicial Watch today announced it received 756 pages of newly uncovered emails that were among the materials former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to delete or destroy, several of which were classified and were transmitted over her unsecure, non-“state.gov” email system.

Hillary Clinton repeatedly stated that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order in another Judicial Watch case, she declared under penalty of perjury in 2015 that she had “directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.”

In 2017, the FBI uncovered 72,000 pages of documents Clinton attempted to delete or did not otherwise disclose. Until the court intervened and established a new deadline, the State Department had been slow-walking the release of those documents at a rate that would have required Judicial Watch and the American people to wait until at least 2020 to see all the releasable Clinton material. The production of documents in this case is now concluded with the FBI being only able to recover or find approximately 5,000 of the 33,000 government emails Hillary Clinton took and tried to destroy.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, after the State Department failed to respond to a March 4, 2015, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)) seeking:

All emails sent and received by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Secretary Clinton regarding her non-“state.gov” email address.

This final batch of Clinton emails includes five new classified emails and communications with controversial figures Lanny Davis and Sidney Blumenthal.

On April 27, 2011, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent classified information discussing Palestinian issues to Clinton’s personal unsecure email account.

On May 19, 2011, Blair again sent classified information to Clinton’s personal unsecure email account discussing a “speech.”

A classified email exchange between Blair and Clinton took place from January 16, 2009 (while George W. Bush was still president) and January 24, 2009. The subject line is “Re: Gaza.” Blair on January 16, 2009, relayed information he learned from Middle East leaders and noted that he wanted to get something “resolved before Tuesday” (when Obama would be sworn in as president). Clinton responded to Blair on January 19, 2009, writing “Tony – We are finally moving and I am looking forward to talking w you as soon as I’m confirmed, tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. Your emails are very helpful so pls continue to use this address,” hr15@att.blackberry.net. Blair followed up by saying “It would be great if we could talk before any announcements are made.”

Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane sent Clinton classified information, apparently during early 2009. The subject line of the email is redacted, but the text appears to show a discussion on information about Iraq.

In September 2, 2010, email exchange marked classified, longtime Clinton confidante Lanny Davis tells Secretary Clinton that he could serve as a private channel for her to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he had a “private and highly trusted communication line, unofficial and personal, to PM N[etanyahu].” Davis goes on to say “[N]o one on the planet (other than your wonderful husband) can get this done as well as you.…” Secretary Clinton responds with classified information, saying “I will reach out to you directly and hope you will continue to do the same w me. The most important issue now is [Redacted B1].” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 3/21/2019)

January 15, 2019 – Federal Court orders discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi scandal

Judge Royce Lamberth (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/Legal Times)

“Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:

Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.

Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

Eric Boswell (Credit: public domain)

According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:

  1. Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
  2. Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
  3. Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 1/15/2019)

January 10, 2019 – Judicial Watch to depose former top officials involved in the Clinton email scandal

Judicial Watch announced today that it submitted a court-ordered discovery plan for the depositions of several top former government officials involved in the Clinton email scandal, including Obama administration senior officials Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap.

Judicial Watch “intends to update the Court regarding the depositions of Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills at the conclusion of the 16-week discovery period, unless the Court believes such notice is not necessary.” The plan for discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Read the discovery plan here:

December 6, 2018 – Federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth opens discovery into Clinton email usage

Judge Royce C. Lambert (Credit: public domain)

“Judicial Watch announced today that, in a ruling excoriating both the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth has ordered both agencies to join Judicial Watch in submitting a proposed schedule for discovery into whether Hillary Clinton sought to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a private email system and whether the State Department acted in “bad faith” by failing to disclose knowledge of the email system.  The decision comes in a FOIA lawsuit related to the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Lamberth ruled:

“… the Court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer to plan discovery into (a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests.”

Terming Clinton’s use of her private email system, “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency,” Lamberth wrote in his MEMORANDUM OPINION:

“… his [President Barack Obama’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 Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching – and disclosing the existence of – Clinton’s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?”

***

At best, State’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.

Turning his attention to the Department of Justice, Lamberth wrote:

“The current Justice Department made things worse. When the government last appeared before the Court, counsel claimed, ‘it is not true to say we misled either Judicial Watch or the Court.’ When accused of ‘doublespeak,’ 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 Watch’s request didn’t realize Clinton’s emails were missing, and that it took them two months to ‘figure [ ] out what was going on’… Counsel’s responses strain credulity.” [citations omitted]

The Court granted discovery because the government’s response to the Judicial Watch Benghazi FOIA request for Clinton emails “smacks of outrageous conduct.”

Citing an email (uncovered as a result of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit) that Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Benghazi was a terrorist attack immediately after it happened, Judge Lamberth asked:

Did State know Clinton deemed the Benghazi attack terrorism hours after it happened, contradicting the Obama Administration’s subsequent claim of a protest-gone-awry?”

(Read more: Judicial Watch, 12/06/2018)

December 3, 2018 – Judicial Watch sues for records of FBI meetings with Clinton-DNC law firm, Perkins Coie in 2016

Michael Sussmann (l) and James Baker (Credit: Perkins Coie/public domain)

“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice seeking records of all meetings in 2016 between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and the Perkins Coie law firm. The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reportedly paid Fusion GPS to create the “salacious and unverified” Clinton-DNC anti-Trump dossier.

The lawsuit cites a specific media report that FBI top lawyer Baker met with Perkins Coie lawyers to discuss allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. The meeting reportedly took place weeks before the 2016 election and before the FBI secured a controversial FISA spy warrant targeting then-candidate Trump’s campaign.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the DOJ failed to respond to an October 9, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02617)) seeking:

All records concerning any and all meetings between former FBI general counsel James Baker and one or more attorneys from Perkins Coie, the Democratic National Committee’s private law firm during 2016.

On October 4, 2018, Fox News reported that Baker told congressional investigators that Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann “initiated contact with him and provided documents and computer storage devices on Russian hacking.” The contact was made in late 2016 as federal investigators prepared a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

At the time, Perkins Coie had hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig into President Trump’s background. Fusion GPS paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the anti-Trump dossier, memos from which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.

The DNC and Clinton campaign’s funding of the unverified dossier was revealed in a memo from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes which was disclosed publicly on February 2, 2018.

According to an October 24, 2017, report, Perkins Coie lawyer Marc E. Elias retained Fusion GPS in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC: “The Clinton campaign and DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.” Fusion GPS gave Steele’s dossier and other research documents to Elias.

“The real collusion scandal is the hand-in-hand effort by the Clinton campaign and the Obama DOJ/FBI to spy upon and destroy Donald J. Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The FBI, pulled by the troika of Comey/McCabe/Strzok, became an arm of the Clinton campaign. And our new lawsuit aims to get to the bottom of the massive scandal.” (Judicial Watch, 12/03/2018)

November 14, 2018 – Court rules Hillary Clinton must answer more questions about her emails

“Judicial Watch announced that U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan ruled that within 30 days Hillary Clinton must answer under oath two additional questions about her controversial email system.

In 2016, Clinton was required to submit under oath written answers to Judicial Watch’s questions. Clinton objected to and refused to answer questions about the creation of her email system; her decision to use the system despite warnings from State Department cybersecurity officials; and the basis for her claim that the State Department had “90-95%” of her emails.

After a lengthy hearing on Wednesday, Judge Sullivan ruled that Clinton must address two questions that she refused to answer under-oath: “Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.”

“During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails “were in the State’s system” and “if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.” Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.”

October 12, 2018 – Federal judge Royce Lamberth is ‘shocked’ Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was granted immunity by the Justice Department

Judge Royce C. Lamberth (Credit: Charles Dharapak/The Associated Press)

“Judicial Watch announced today that in his opening remarks at a Friday, October 12 hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth strongly criticized the U.S. Department of State, stating, “The information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the [Clinton email] search and… what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.”

Turning his attention to the Department of Justice, Judge Lamberth said that he was “dumbfounded” by the agency’s Inspector General report revealing that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity and was allowed to accompany former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her FBI interview:

I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case. So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview.

(In an April 28, 2008 ruling relating to Mills’ conduct as a White House official in responding to concerns about lost White House email records, Judge Lamberth called Mills’ participation in the matter “loathsome.” He further stated Mills was responsible for “the most critical error made in this entire fiasco … Mills’ actions were totally inadequate to address the problem.”)

Lamberth also complained that the Justice Department attorney representing the State Department was using “doublespeak,” and playing “word games.”

The hearing had been ordered by Judge Lamberth regarding a request from Judicial Watch for testimony under oath from Clinton, Mills and several other State Department officials regarding the State Department’s processing of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request and Clinton’s emails. The State Department still opposes all of Judicial Watch’s requests for additional discovery into the Clinton email scandal.

Judge Lamberth said he was relieved that he did not allow the case to be shut down prematurely, as the State Department had requested.

The case started with a motion for summary judgment [seeking to close the case] here and which I denied and allowed limited discovery because it was clear to me that at the time that I ruled initially, that false statements were made to me by career State Department officials and it became more clear through discovery that the information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the search and this – what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.

I don’t know the details of what kind of IG inquiry there was into why these career officials at the State Department would have filed false affidavits with me. I don’t know the details of why the Justice Department lawyers did not know false affidavits were being filed with me, but I was very relieved that I did not accept them and that I allowed limited discovery into what had happened.

Judge Lamberth also said the State Department was using “doublespeak” and word games. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/12/2018)