The search for State Department emails regarding the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks received a boost this week when a federal judge ordered the agency to search the government email accounts of several Hillary Clinton aides.
Washington D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee, ordered State to search the accounts of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top aides at the State Department, in response to a lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Mehta said that the State Department did not do enough to search for all emails it has on its computer systems regarding the Benghazi attacks, which left four Americans dead.
The State Department reviewed the 30,000-plus emails that Clinton returned to the agency in Dec. 2014. It has also searched emails that Abedin, Mills and Sullivan sent and received on personal accounts.
“Secretary Clinton used a private email server, located in her home, to transmit and receive work-related communications during her tenure as Secretary of State,” Mehta said.
“[State] has not, however, searched the one records system over which it has always had control and that is almost certain to contain some responsive records: the state.gov email server.”
Mehta said that the State Department “has offered no assurance” that the records it has received so far from Clinton and the trio of aides “constitute the entirely of Secretary Clinton’s emails during the time period relevant to Plaintiff’s FOIA request.”
Judicial Watch, which has pursued several lawsuits related to Clinton emails despite her election loss, celebrated Mehta’s order.
“This major court ruling may finally result in more answers about the Benghazi scandal — and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it — as we approach the attack’s fifth anniversary,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement.
“It is remarkable that we had to battle both the Obama and Trump administrations to break through the State Department’s Benghazi stonewall. Why are Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions wasting taxpayer dollars protecting Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration?”