The president of the watchdog group Judicial Watch says that information that a former State Department official provided about Hillary Clinton and her private email system in a lawsuit deposition conducted on Wednesday will be embarrassing for the former secretary of state.
Tom Fitton, whose group is suing the State Department, says he is restricted in what he can legally say about an interview conducted with Lewis Lukens, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state and the executive directory of the secretariat during Clinton’s tenure. But the Judicial Watch president did tell The Daily Caller that Clinton will not be pleased with the information he provided.
“The testimony was not helpful for Clinton or the State Department,” Fitton told TheDC in a phone interview.
Lukens is of interest to Fitton and Judicial Watch because of emails that he sent just days into Clinton’s term in which he proposed the idea of setting up a stand-alone computer so that she could email from the agency’s executive offices.
In a Jan. 23, 2009 email to Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Lukens said that he was checking into obtaining a BlackBerry for Clinton issued by the National Security Agency.
In the meantime, in order to allow Clinton to check her email during the workday, Lukens said he would “set up the office across the hall as requested.”
“Also, I think we should go ahead (but will await your green light) and set up a stand-alone PC in the Secretary’s office, connect to the internet (but not through our system) to enable her to check her emails from her desk,” he wrote in the email.
Lukens is the first of several State Department officials and Clinton aides to be deposed as part of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit. Federal judge Emmet Sullivan approved the interviews as part of the watchdog’s lawsuit seeking records pertaining to Huma Abedin’s employment records. Abedin worked for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton-connected consulting firm Teneo Strategies at the same time she worked for the State Department.
In order to obtain information pertinent to its lawsuit, Judicial Watch will be also be interviewing Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department information technology specialist who set up and maintained Clinton’s private email server. The group will also interview State Department officials Stephen Mull and Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s all-powerful under secretary for management.
Mull is the official who sent an email to Kennedy, Mills and Abedin in Aug. 2011 discussing Clinton’s private server. He will be interviewed by Judicial Watch next month. Mills is slated to meet with the group next week. And Kennedy will be the last official deposed. He meets with Judicial Watch on June 29.
Fitton tells TheDC that he will sit in on any of the interviews that his schedule allows. He also said that the officials were scheduled based mostly on their availability rather than for any strategic reason.
Sullivan, a Bill Clinton appointee, agreed to the State Department’s request that information provided during the depositions not be shared with the news media or released in any other fashion. The State Department was also granted a three day window to review transcripts of the depositions for any classified information.