The State Department excused Hillary Clinton’s disregard of 237 FOIA requests Tuesday by saying that she was secretary of state at the time.
"She was sitting secretary of state at the time, so…" State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in response to a reporter’s claim that Clinton "had not one responsive email to any FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request."
Even though FOIA procedures do not prevent a secretary of state from disclosing his or her emails, Toner said that Clinton’s private emails still "might have been" censored by FOIA.
"They might have been [censored], I mean given the subject matter. I don't know what the subject matter is," Toner said.
Clinton received 240 Freedom of Information Act requests from 2009 to 2013, but only responded to three within the legally required timeframe, the Free Beacon reported in January. One hundred seventy-seven of these requests were still pending at the time.
Clinton’s office rejected or ignored numerous record requests during her tenure as secretary of state.
The Associated Press filed a request for Clinton’s calendars and schedules in 2010 and was met with silence for years. The AP sued for the documents in 2015 and received 4,400 pages of records.
In 2012, Gawker also filed a request for correspondence between Clinton staffer Philippe Reines and members of the media. Clinton’s office responded that no such correspondence existed. Gawker has since sued the State Department.
Citizens United and a Vice News reporter have also sued the State Department for failing to respond to Clinton records requests.
Clinton turned her emails over to the State Department after officials there "realized there was a problem" with Clinton’s home-brew email in 2014. In March 2015, Clinton admitted that she weeded out and withheld nearly half of her "personal and private" emails that "had nothing to do with work."
Government watchdog Judicial Watch released a report Tuesday alleging that the State Department "withheld" a Benghazi-related email "since at least 2014" that would have revealed Clinton’s use of a private server roughly two years earlier.