Journalist’s FOIA request repeatedly delayed
Documents concerning Hillary Clinton’s email security procedures will not be released until the presidential election has passed, the U.S. Department of State said Thursday.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from Motherboard journalist Jason Koebler, State Department official Charlotte W. Duckett revealed that such information would not be available until December of 2016.
“Our office was recently informed that due to the ongoing process of your request, the estimated completion date for your request has been extended to December 2016,” Duckett wrote via email.
Despite filing two requests for both Clinton’s work and private email in March of 2015, specifically regarding “communications, presentations, and procedures created by the State Department to secure Hillary Clinton’s email from electronic threats,” Koebler’s attempts have been repeatedly delayed.
“The agency has emailed me a few times, saying that it’s working to ‘make the maximum number of records available in the shortest amount of time,’ and in October told me that it would respond to my request in January,” Koebler writes. “That date came and went, and I finally got another update earlier this week: The new deadline for the request is December 2016.”
The private email has come under increased scrutiny this week after Romanian hacker “Guccifer,” who first revealed the secret address after hacking the email of former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal in 2013, claimed he had easily breached Clinton’s server.
“For me, it was easy… easy for me, for everybody,” Marcel Lehel Lazar, also known as “Guccifer,” told Fox News from a jail in Virginia.
The Clinton campaign responded swiftly late Wednesday, calling the hacker’s claims “unfathomable.”
“There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell. In addition to the fact he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton’s server are inaccurate,” the statement reads. “It is unfathomable that he would have gained access to her emails and not leaked them the way he did to his other victims.”
As noted by Koebler, the State Department’s delay could undoubtedly influence the presidential election.
“The FOIA process is a notorious mess, but it is patently ridiculous that records pertaining to the security practices of someone who stands a very good chance of running the country—and thus being in possession of highly sensitive documents at all times—won’t be made available to the public a year and a half after they were requested.”
The FBI, which is currently conducting a criminal investigation into Clinton’s private email use, reportedly plans to interview the former secretary of state in the coming weeks.