Former Hillary Clinton Aide Admitted Attempt To ‘Avoid FOIA’
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has been in the news regarding her use of private email for public business since a hacker compromised her personal email account in 2013. The story was reported by Gawker, and prompted them to request access to those documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The State Department denied that request stating that there were no documents to produce. This prompted Gawker to file a lawsuit in 2015 which resulted in the State Department rather quickly back pedaling and stating that those documents were found.
The State Department released another batch of documents this month. In those documents is an email from February 2009 in which a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reines, was ironing out details for communicating with author Mark Halperin about a book he was writing about the 2008 election. The following is the exchange between Reines and Halperin:
Reines wrote, “He wants specifics. I want to avoid FOIA.”
Halperin responded, “I just want to know what your job and email address are, i [sic] think those are subject to (or exempt from) foia.”
Reines repeatedly denied trying to avoid FOIA
Reines denied any wrong doing even writing an email to Gawker where he specifically denies trying to avoid FOIA. In that email Reines wrote in a snarky tone:
“So, is your cockamamie theory that the reason there is no record of my emailing with reporters is because I improperly used my personal email address to email with those reporters in an attempt to circumvent FOIA…”
A spokesman for Reines responded to an inquiry from Gawker about this development with an email. In it she points out the fact that Reines had not yet started his position with the State Department when the email was written and as a result he would not have had an official email to move business to.
That may very well be the case; however, his words are disconcerting. The spokeswoman went on to explain that Reines was joking. Unfortunately; that is a topic that many folks won’t find very amusing given the accusations that have been levied against Clinton and her aides.
Was Reines Really Joking About Avoiding FOIA?
So, again we are back to ‘he said, she said.’ Did Reines intentionally try to avoid FOIA? Was he joking? The fact that he used his personal email address for state business is not a joke. He did it. He turned over 20 boxes of emails in 2015 that originated from his personal email account. It will be interesting to see what else is revealed as the documents are released by the State Department. Stay tuned, this one is not over.
Featured Image via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.