Watchdog Group Hopes To Depose Hillary, State Department Officials

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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A government watchdog group is asking a federal judge to approve an order allowing it to depose former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in order to get to the bottom of the ongoing scandal over her use of a personal email account and private server.

Cause of Action’s motion, filed on Thursday, also asks District Judge James Boasberg to order the depositions of Patrick Kennedy, the Under Secretary of Management for State, Steve Linick, the agency’s inspector general, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Margaret Grafeld, and officials with the National Archives and Records Administration.

Cause of Action filed the motion after the State Department refused to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests it has filed for numerous State Department and Clinton records.

If Boasberg approves the motion, Cause of Action intends to ask Clinton why she chose to delete emails from her server and why she gave the State Department paper copies of her emails rather than electronic versions.

Congressional investigators and watchdog groups believe that the metadata in Clinton’s email headers contain important information about how she transmitted her emails and about the configuration of her email system.

The group also wants to ask Clinton what other email accounts, if any, she used to conduct official work and whether she informed other government officials of those accounts.

It was initially believed that Clinton used only one address — HDR22@clintonemail.com — while in office. But it recently emerged that she used another email address for the first few months of her tenure as secretary of state.

Cause of Action also wants to know if Clinton informed government officials that she backed up her email server. It was recently reported that the company Clinton hired to manage her email system, Platte River Networks, hired another firm to back the device up on its cloud.

Kennedy’s and Grafeld’s depositions are being sought because they can most likely shed light on who inside the State Department authorized Clinton to use a private email system and whether she was granted waivers to avoid complying with the agency’s recordkeeping requirements.

The group also hopes to determine whether the State Department attempted to obtain Clinton’s emails when she left office in Feb. 2013. The agency obtained the emails nearly two years later, in Dec. 2014. That discovery came only after several emails with Clinton’s address were found among records that the State Department had turned over to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

The depositions will also seek to find out about communications between the State Department and FBI regarding the FBI’s possession of Clinton’s server. Investigators seized the device in August after the Intelligence Community’s inspector general found that two “top secret” emails traversed it.

Cause of Action also wants to find out which State Department officials were involved in initiating contact with Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall.

The group is especially interested in determining why Kendall was allowed to retain possession of three thumb drives containing Clinton’s emails. Kendall was allowed to hold onto the thumb drives even after it was determined that they contained emails with classified information in them.

After it was discovered that Clinton’s emails contained classified information, the State Department provided Kendall with a safe to house the thumb drives.

The FBI took possession of the devices after the Intelligence Community found the “top secret” emails.

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