White House FOIA Abuses Come Back To Haunt Hillary’s Campaign

(Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon excoriated the press on Twitter late Monday night for treating the Wikileaks reveal on par with a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) release, despite Clinton and her State Department’s reluctance to comply with the FOIA process.

The Clinton campaign’s Fallon slapped back at media outlets using the latest Wikileaks email to break stories related to Hillary Clinton’s time in the State Department and on the 2016 campaign trail.

The House Oversight Committee has investigated the current FOIA system over the last year and discovered “examples of delays, abusive fees, inappropriate redactions, and other tactics frustrating the FOIA process.”

“The comments were enlightening. Members of the media described their complete abandonment of the FOIA request as a tool because delays and redactions made the request process wholly useless for reporting to the public,” wrote Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

According to the committee report, one FOIA record “obtained by the AP shows a redaction that sheds light on one of the policy’s results. The National Archives and Records Administration FOIA office staff redacted this sentence in every case, except once, by mistake: ‘We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House).’”

The political review of FOIA docs did not just stop at the White House. Other federal agencies, the report said, reveal how involved the departments are in withholding politically embarrassing information and the State Department is the worse offender of them all.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Secretary Clinton’s senior staff “scrutinized politically sensitive documents requested under public records law and sometimes blocked their release.”

Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and her staff reportedly reviewed FOIA doc requests about the “Keystone XL pipeline and former President Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements and in both situations blocked the release of some documents,” said the committee report.

“According to the Journal, after Ms. Mills began reviewing documents related to Keystone XL, State’s disclosure of records about the pipeline ‘fell off sharply.’ 22 Political appointees reportedly exerted a degree of influence that the Department’s FOIA staff found inappropriate, including having a FOIA expert advise them on how to ‘prospectively shield documents from disclosure.’”

The Associated Press took the Obama administration to task in March 2015 for setting “a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.”

Fallon went on to complain that Wikileaks had not revealed any internal Republican campaign discussions related to the tax filings of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Fallon suggested to media outlets the possibility to “probe” Trump associates connection, including Roger Stone, to Russia and Wikileaks. He later accuses the online document collection group of not being a true media organization, claiming they are “running interference for their pet candidate, Trump.”

Wikileaks mocked the Clinton campaign’s “hacked” excuse tweeting on Tuesday:

Democrats say both the Democratic National Committee email server hack in August and now the Podesta email dump from Wikileaks is a result of Russia colluding with Trump allies to ensure a victory for his campaign.

Clinton, in an effort to explain that hostile actors never saw or handled classified information from her personal email server, appears to believe the Russians did not hack her private email network system that contained classified information.

Her emails, which the former Sec. of State had to answer for in an FBI investigation this past year, were from her private unsecure server and she claimed at the debate in St. Louis last Sunday, that there was “no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using.”

However, the FBI said it was “possible” her email server was hacked in “the territory of sophisticated adversaries.”

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