The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman accused the State Department of providing “false information” about Hillary Clinton’s emails in light of a new government watchdog report faulting the agency’s handling of Freedom of Information Act requests under Secretary Clinton.
Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) knocked the State Department’s “broken” FOIA process in a statement Thursday after an inspector general report found that the agency during Clinton’s tenure did not respond to the vast majority of FOIA requests in the legally required timeframe.
Investigators also concluded that the agency’s productions of Clinton emails in response to FOIA requests have contained inaccuracies and been incomplete.
“There are systemic failures at the agency ranging from actually searching for responsive emails, extensive delays in the amount of time it takes to fulfill a request, and failures to provide accurate and complete responses that don’t seem to be going away,” Grassley said Thursday.
“These breakdowns are particularly troubling in light of the report’s revelation that former Secretary Clinton’s exclusive use of a non-government email server was known to senior staff at the department, but unknown to the FOIA office, thus causing the FOIA office to provide false information about the secretary’s use of email.”
Grassley demanded a public explanation from agency officials who made sworn statements in regards to FOIA cases that now appear to be false .
“State Department officials made sworn declarations to courts litigating State Department FOIA cases claiming that their searches were adequate to locate relevant records. In light of this report, the department should explain to the courts and to the public why those inaccurate declarations were filed,” the Iowa senator concluded.
The scathing report arrived just at the State Department continues to vet and release Clinton’s work-related emails, which were only turned over to the agency in 2014 after the department discovered that its former secretary exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business. Previously, Clinton’s correspondences were shielded from FOIA requests because they were kept on her private server.
On Friday, the State Department released the latest batch of 3,000 pages of emails from Clinton’s personal system, missing a court-ordered deadline for their production by a week.