Exposing Hillary So She Won't Get Elected

Hillary Aide Vetted Public Records Requests for Political Reasons

Quick background: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exists for one purpose, to allow citizens, including journalists, to demand their government release documents of public interest. The idea is to follow Thomas Jefferson’s claim that an informed public is critical to a democracy. FOIA provides that the government must release a requested document except under a few supposedly narrow criteria, such as national security, personal data such as a staff member’s Social Security number and a few others.

To be very clear: the fact that a document might politically embarrass Hillary Clinton is not a criteria for holding back a document requested under FOIA.

That said, the newest tranche of Clinton emails shows that Hillary indeed had such an illegal vetting system in place at the State Department.

Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Cheryl Mills, was closely involved in vetting politically sensitive documents requested under public information laws, according to emails from the Department of State. Public records officials, who should have been the final decision makers at the State Department, instead sought clearance from Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, in 2012 before releasing a memo related to the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation program.

The email corroborates a Wall Street Journal article last May that reported that Mills had been involved in vetting documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act, a process that is typically expected to be independent of political influence.

Sheryl Walter, the director of the State Department’s public information office, wrote to Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s undersecretary for management, and other officials on April 2, 2012 to inform them of a “pending FOIA release likely to get press attention.”

The document eventually released was a 2006 paper known as the “Zelikow memo,” which had been written by a Bush administration official concerning the government’s enhanced interrogation program.

Walter told Kennedy in an email that “Cheryl Mills is aware and has cleared” the memo for release.

“I wanted to be sure you all were in the loop on this now so that you won’t be taken by surprise and were assured this has been fully vetted, cleared, and planned for,” wrote Walter.

Later that day, Kennedy emailed Mills and asked, “Does this comport with what you have agreed to?” That evening, Mills forwarded the messages from Kennedy and Walter to Hillary Clinton.

Mills’s involvement in the information request process under Clinton came under scrutiny from Senator Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, after the Wall Street Journal reported last May that the Clinton aide “scrutinized politically sensitive documents requested under public records law and sometimes blocked their release.”

Grassley sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last spring questioning the department’s public information practices and criticizing the FOIA management process under Clinton as “troubling.”

“As recent reports indicate, it appears the political concerns of senior agency staff are undermining the public’s right to know under FOIA,” wrote Grassley in the May 22, 2015 letter. “This is, without question, a far cry from the spirit of our nation’s transparency laws, as well as from the President’s ‘presumption of openness.’”