By: Adam Shaw
A federal judge has ruled that the State Department must up its efforts to locate emails Hillary Clinton sent in connection to the 2012 Benghazi attack — ordering the State Department to conduct a fresh search for emails from some of Clinton’s top aides.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled Tuesday that the State Department had not done all it could to locate the emails Clinton sent in relation to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi Libya that killed four Americans — including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
He found that the State Department “has not met its burden of establishing it performed an adequate search” in response to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act request.
Politico reports that the State Department has so far located 348 Benghazi-related messages, sent to or from Clinton in the months around the attack. However, Judge Mehta said that that wasn’t enough. Instead, he ordered the State Department to search the state.gov email archives of the accounts of former aides Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jacob Sullivan.
“If Secretary Clinton sent an e-mail about Benghazi to Abedin, Mills, or Sullivan at his or her state.gov e-mail address, or if one of them sent an e-mail to Secretary Clinton using his or her state.gov account, then State’s server presumably would have captured and stored such an e-mail,” he said in the ruling. “Therefore, State has an obligation to search its own server for responsive records.”
The ruling is in response to a suit filed by Judicial Watch originally in 2015. The conservative watchdog has been central in the quest to get more information about Clinton’s emails, specifically in relation to the Benghazi attack.
“This major court ruling may finally result in more answers about the Benghazi scandal – and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it – as we approach the attack’s fifth anniversary,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
Fitton also questioned why the conservative watchdog had to fight not only the Obama administration but also the Trump administration on the search for the emails:
“Why are Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions wasting taxpayer dollars protecting Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration?” he asked.