The State Department might have no choice, but to release former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remaining on time. The journalist responsible for the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that compelled the State Department to begin to release Clinton’s emails filed a motion on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 objecting to the extension. In the 13-page motion filed by VICE News journalist, Jason Leopold’s lawyers argues the month delay the State Department requested for the release of the final batch of emails would “cause grave, incurable harm” to voters especially. The State Department’s one-month delay would give Clinton a month into the primaries after the crucial Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
In the court documents filed for Judge Rudolph Contreras consideration, Leopold’s lawyers Ryan James and Jeffrey Light argue, that the Obama administration “has failed to show good cause for the requested extension, that it is necessary or that the interests of justice will be served by granting it.” The lawyers question whether the final emails are “the most controversial records.”
The main reason Leopold’s lawyers are objecting to the State Department’s request is because delaying the release would manipulate the electorate and not allow them to see the final and probably most damaging emails. The motion justifies Leopold’s objection, saying, “[I]f the Court allows State to delay release of thousands of pages of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s official work emails, a substantial portion of the electorate will be forced to vote without the benefit of important information to which it is entitled about the performance of one of the candidates for U.S. President while serving as Secretary of State.”
The lawyers also argue that email release extension would “deprive the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, of the ability to participate in the democratic process as fully informed as they would otherwise.” Additionally, voters in 11 other states would be voting on Super Tuesday, March 1, only hours after the last emails would be released.
The State Department filed a motion in the court of Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, requesting a month delay for the final batch release. According to a judge’s order, all Clinton’s emails have to be released by Jan. 29, 2016. In the documents filed in court Friday, the Obama Administration argued that 7,200 pages of Clinton’s emails need to be reviewed by other agencies so they can make the appropriate redactions. The State Department requested more time to distribute them to the agencies and have them review them. The department also blamed the snowstorm that put Washington at a standstill this past weekend as part of the reason they need more time.
The State Department is requesting to release the final batch of emails on Feb. 29, however, they still plan to release some emails on Jan. 29. Republicans see the request as the State Department protecting Clinton’s campaign, withholding possible damaging emails containing more classified information. By releasing the emails a month later, the Obama Administration would be giving Clinton a head start in the primary season. With her poll numbers falling and being behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the important early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton would need all the help she could get.
So far, the State Department released 45,000 pages of Clinton’s 55,000 pages of emails or 82 percent. The total of the emails considered classified is 1,319. The majority are labeled “classified,” the lowest level of classification. There are, however, some emails classified at a “higher level,” “confidential,” while six are marked “secret” one of the higher levels of classification for national security. There are only a two of Clinton’s emails that were classified as “top secret” the highest form of classified. Additionally, some emails received on the server were “special access programs” (SAP)” the highest level of classified, “derived from sensitive intelligence sources.”
A court order requires the State Department to release a batch of emails each month. Each month since last May, the State Department has released thousands of pages of Clinton’s 55,000 pages of work related emails. The court order is part of Jason Leopold ‘s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department forcing them to release Clinton’s emails. Leopold of Vice News requested to see Clinton’s emails in November 2014 and then filed a lawsuit in January 2015. In December 2014, Clinton handed over 55,000 pages or over 30,000 of emails from the private email server she used to the State Department. The emails started on March 18, 2009, and came from two email account addresses firstname.lastname@example.org and HRod17@clintonemail.com.