A federal judge has ordered the State Department to release information regarding what former President Barack Obama knew about the Benghazi attacks. The judge ordered that all previously redacted information in Hillary Clinton’s emails concerning the Obama administration be brought to light.
Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog announced U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s order on Friday. The group reported that Jackson has ordered the State Department to submit “eight identical paragraphs” of information that were extracted from two of Clinton’s emails on Sept. 13, 2012.
While, the subject line on the emails reads as: “FW: Quick Summary of POTUS Calls to Presidents of Libya and Egypt.” The content of the emails is said to include the conservations that then-President Barack Obama had with leaders of Egypt and Libya two days after the attack that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. Once the emails are released, they could shed light on what Clinton and Obama knew then.
It is also be noted that the State Department had claimed that the emails deserved a “deliberative process” Freedom of Information Act exemption. However, when Jackson completed her personal review of the documents, she said that the documents in fact did not meet the criteria for the exemption. The State Department went on to request Jackson to reconsider her order, and argued that the emails were mistakenly claimed under the exemption and should be ruled under the classified information exemption.
The Judicial Watch argued back that there was no mistake in the exemption status, but was much rather an attempt by the State Department to protect Clinton by “avoiding identifying emails on Clinton’s unofficial, non-secure email server as classified.”
Judicial Watch stated, “An agency’s deliberate withholding of a FOIA claim, either to gain a tactical advantage or, as appears to be the case here, to protect the agency’s interests and those of its former head, is ‘a motive undoubtedly inconsistent with FOIA’s broad remedial purpose’ …”
In a statement, Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch made an appeal to President Trump and questioned whether he knew that his State Department is still trying to protect Clinton.
He said, “Does President Trump know his State and Justice Departments are still trying to provide cover for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?” Fitton said. “An extraordinary court ruling that could result in key answers about the Benghazi outrage is being opposed by the Trump administration.”