The watchdog groups Cause Of Action and Judicial Watch triumphed in court, and won the release of key information about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who oversaw the Clinton investigation while Comey was still FBI Director.
In the court order, DC District Court Judge, James Boasberg wrote, “”The 2016 presidential election may have come and gone, but Plaintiffs Judicial Watch and Cause of Action Institute’s quest for Hillary Clinton’s emails lives on.” He noted the novel – and successful – approach that the watchdog groups took, “In this case, however, Plaintiffs have taken a different tack, alleging a violation of the Federal Records Act.” He wrote, “they claim Defendants State Department and the National Archives and Records Administration failed to maintain records of Clinton’s emails and must now seek the Department of Justice’s Case assistance in their recovery.”
The court order has since revealed that the investigation launched against Clinton utilized grand jury subpoenas, and was therefore of a criminal nature, as opposed to a simple investigation. These grand jury subpoenas were issued to phone companies that managed Clinton’s phones and to, “private third-party e-mail accounts.”
Specifically, the FBI served Grand Jury subpoenas on Research in Motion Limited (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry electronic devices; Cingular Wireless and its successor AT&T Wireless, both of which provided mobile phone service and therefore data access; and another service provider, which at the time provided the e-mail service utilized by former Secretary Clinton.
“During the course of the FBI’s investigation, limited e-mail communications during the period of January 21, 2009 through March 18, 2009 for the two e-mail accounts in question were obtained and have since been turned over to the Department of State for agency record determination.”
However, the FBI never gained access to some 13 cell phones that were used by Clinton and were connected to her private email accounts, with one of Clinton’s aid destroying at least two of the cellphones with a hammer.
The information sought consisted generally of electronic communications transaction information (i.e., to/from/headers/subject lines of e-mails) but no content.