When the news first broke publicly in 2015 that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had used an illicit and unauthorized private email server to conduct official government business, then-President Barack Obama professed ignorance and claimed that he had just learned about it through the media like everybody else.
But it now appears that Obama was less than honest about his knowledge of the issue, as documents obtained by a watchdog group reveal that Obama’s White House was well aware of Clinton’s scandalous email arrangement at least as early as December 2012, if not sooner than that.
The revelation came as part of discovery in a lawsuit filed by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, fact-finding which the presiding judge in the case deemed crucial to getting to the bottom of Clinton’s illicit email set-up.
Judge Royce Lamberth said the situation was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.” That remark was in reference to the increasingly obvious appearance that Clinton’s usage of a private email server was a deliberate effort to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and transparency procedures.
It now appears that Obama’s White House not only knew about Clinton’s illicit email arrangement, but also played along with the lies told to cover up the scandal.
FOIA requests tell the tale
Included in a recent batch of documents turned over by the State Department was an email dated Dec. 20, 2012, which explicitly mentioned the White House and FOIA requests concerning Clinton’s emails.
The message in question was from Sheryl Walter, then the director of the State Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services, and featured the subject line: “Need to track down
Walter wrote to a number of subordinates: “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 that same chain of emails, Walter messaged Heather Samuelson, then Clinton’s White House liaison, and wrote: “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.”
In a follow-up email dated Jan. 10, 2013, Walter noted to Samuelson that “personal” emails weren’t going to be included in fulfillment of FOIA requests. Samuelson replied that “White House Counsel” was already looking into that for her, signaling that the administration was aware of Clinton’s personal email arrangement and would help cover it up.
The State Department claimed at that time that Clinton didn’t even use email at all, which everyone by now knows was a complete lie, one eventually exposed to the public by virtue of the congressional investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
Far from learning about Clinton’s emails from media reports in 2015, former President Obama’s White House knew about her scandalous email system at least three years prior, which only makes us wonder: What else was Obama’s White House was lying about during his eight years in office?