If only Secretary of State John Kerry was as cooperative with congressional investigators as he is with Iran’s ayatollahs.
Ever since it was revealed that Hillary Clinton exclusively used personal email for official government business as Secretary of State, the Select Committee on Benghazi has sought to obtain a complete record of her Libya-related emails. For the investigation to conclude, all the evidence needs to be presented – that’s just common sense.
But so far, that looks like it may never happen. Not only because Clinton withheld relevant emails when she decided which messages to turn over to the Obama administration, but also because the State Department’s stonewalling specialists continue to evade, obstruct, and delay all reasonable inquiries.
Pretending not to understand the meaning of “any and all” (just like Clinton)
- The Committee requested “any and all documents and communications referring or relating to a) Libya (including but not limited to Benghazi and Tripoli), and/or b) weapons located or found in, imported or brought into, and/or exported or removed from Libya, authored by, sent to, or received by the email address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ between January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012.”
- But of the 61 previously unreleased Libya-related emails that the Committee obtained from longtime Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal last month, the State Department said it had 46. Officials told the Associated Press that those emails “weren't handed over to congressional investigators because they had no relevance to events in Benghazi and did not correspond to the committee's request.” False.
Refusing to launch an internal investigation into incomplete records
- “The State Department says there won't be an internal investigation into why the agency couldn’t find part or all of 15 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server,” The Hill reported. No accountability? No problem!
Failing to provide emails from seven of 10 senior Clinton aides
- Until yesterday, the Committee had only received some emails from one of the 10 aides named in its initial request eight months ago. After a new cache released by the State Department to the Committee on Tuesday, some emails from three of the 10 aides have been received – but by no means does the State Department’s production represent these aides’ complete records.
See a pattern of secrecy and slow-walking here? It’s no wonder. The Obama administration has its top fixer on this scandal, reports Politico:
A year ago, Catherine Duval was embroiled in the scandal over former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails.
Now the top government attorney is heading up another document project in the cross hairs of Congress: the State Department’s release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Libya documents to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. …
Duval, a former attorney for the powerhouse Washington law firm Williams & Connolly who left the IRS and joined the State Department last August, declined to comment for this story. But she told House Oversight investigators last year that she didn’t know such backup tapes of the lost Lerner emails — recently found destroyed — even existed. …
But now, with an IRS watchdog announcing last Thursday that tax agency employees under Duval’s watch had erased more than 400 backup tapes central to Congress’ IRS probe of the tea party targeting, Republicans are even more suspicious. …
[Duval] knew there were important gaps in Lerner’s email records for months and did not tell Congress … just as State did not tell the Benghazi panel for months that Clinton had exclusively used her personal account for work.
Guess who else works at the Williams & Connolly law firm? David Kendall – the lawyer for Hillary Clinton who announced her personal server had been erased after she supposedly turned over everything work-related. (Hint: she didn’t.)
“Until we know there’s been an independent vetting of her server, we are always going to wonder [what the truth is],” National Journal’s Ron Fournier said this week. “I judge people by their actions, not their words. White House officials tell me too they’re disgusted with the fact that Hillary Clinton violated their rules on donations, foreign donations, violated their rules on email. Well, I haven't heard the president rebuke her. I haven't seen his State Department investigate this. So I've got to assume that the Obama White House is complicit in this lack of transparency and in this rule breaking and whatever else might be going on that we don't know about yet.”
That’s a fair assumption. Indeed, just as Hillary Clinton can prove she wants the public to see her email by turning over her server to an independent, neutral third-party, so can White House officials prove they are disgusted with her lack of transparency by calling on her to do so.
In the meantime, it’s up to Secretary of State John Kerry to ensure his department complies with the Benghazi Committee in a timely manner.
“I get that he has other things going on. … But I want to get this investigation over with and he is the only thing standing between me and a completed investigation,” Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told CBS News on Sunday. “[I]f I don't get satisfaction from … his Chief of Staff, the next person to come explain to Congress why he has been so recalcitrant in turning over documents will be the Secretary himself.”
Secretary Kerry, call your office.