The federal judge overseeing the case pertaining to the release of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s emails sharply criticized the U.S. State Department on July 30 for continually delaying the release of the highly sought-after correspondence.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon said he did not understand why the department was taking so long to collect and review Clinton’s emails for the court and the general public.
“Now, any person should be able to review that in one day — one day,” Leon said of a request for 60 emails. “Even the least ambitious bureaucrat could do this.”
Many media sources, including The Associated Press, have filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests with the State Department for Clinton’s emails. The judge expressed concern that the agency is purposely stalling the release of Clinton’s emails to protect her from any negative information that could affect her chances of being elected president.
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Making matters worse for the department, the lead investigator on the case admitted that the department does not have an efficient storage system to make it simpler to retrieve the numerous documents.
“I can’t say that I — State Department doesn’t have a master record-keeping system,” John Hackett, the department’s top document official told the court.
AP originally sued the State Department in March after the state did not meet requests for documents filed under FOIA, including a request from five years ago. Leon also noticed the slow response on that matter and lambasted Hackett’s system once again.
“It’s just schedules and calendars,” Leon said. “It’s not detailed memos or position papers or policy papers or anything like that.”
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Leon also said that another court order could be created to speed up the process of the email release, due to the current schedule that does not seem “anywhere near aggressive enough.”
AP filed the FOIA requests in the summer of 2013, which was before Clinton’s email scandal broke. Clinton used her own servers and private email accounts to do State Department business. The news organization is also asking for reimbursement in attorney’s fees.