The FBI refused to turn over documents related to its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, citing a lack of public interest to justify denying a FOIA request for the records.
The head of the FBI Records Management Division wrote Ty Clevenger, a New York Attorney who filed the FOIA request in March 2016, to inform him that his request was being denied in late August.
“You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, reads. “Therefore, records regarding your subject are withheld pursuant to FOIA exemptions.”
The FBI investigated Clinton in 2016 for allegedly using a private email address and server to handle classified documents. Former FBI Director James Comey called Clinton’s decision to use a private server “extremely careless” in July 2016 congressional testimony but opted not to file charges.
Clevenger specifically requested all documents related to then-House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s Sept. 6, 2016 referral to the Department of Justice.
Chaffetz called for investigators to examine “whether Secretary Clinton or her employees and contractors violated statues that prohibit destruction of records, obstruction of congressional inquiries, and concealment or cover up of evidence material to a congressional investigation.”
The FBI asked Clevenger to explain why exactly he believed the public had an interest in viewing the requested documents in an Aug. 11 letter.
Clevenger expressed astonishment at the FBI’s request in his response to the letter
“Frankly, I am stunned I should have to explain why my request pertains to a matter of public interest,” Clevenger wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to the FBI.
Clevenger told The Washington Times that he believes the public should learn the truth about Clinton’s conduct despite her 2016 electoral defeat.
“I’m just stunned. This is exactly what I would have expected had Mrs. Clinton won the election, but she didn’t. It looks like the Obama Administration is still running the FBI,” Clevenger said Tuesday.
“How can a story receive national news coverage and not be a matter of public interest? If this is the new standard, then there’s no such thing as a public interest exception.”
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