Judge Orders Rice and Rhodes To Answer Questions on Behnghazi and Clinton Emails.
In a great push by Judicial Watch, they have once more gone to the courts and forced both Rice and Rhodes under orders from the court to disclose information concerning both Clinton’s Emails and what had really happened in Benghazi.
Judge Royce Lamberth ruled Tuesday that Obama administration officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, must answer written questions as part of a conservative judicial advocacy group’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department over Clinton’s emails.
The lawsuit by Judicial Watch – now with the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit – was first filed in 2014 to obtain records related to Clinton and her staff’s response to the Benghazi attack. Specifically, the group sought documents about Rice’s explanation immediately after the attack on the U.S. compound that characterized it as a protest turned violent instead of a deliberate terrorist assault. At the time of the attack, Rice was serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“But the case has since expanded to question the motives behind Clinton’s private email use while Secretary and behind the government’s conduct in this litigation,” Lamberth wrote in his Tuesday order.
Judicial Watch claims that Clinton intentionally used her private email server in an attempt to shield her communications from FOIA requests and that the State Department acted deceptively and did not really try to complete the request.
Lamberth, who was appointed to his seat by former President Ronald Reagan, ruled that Judicial Watch can depose the State Department on the development of Rice’s “talking points” for her media appearances, the “advance dissemination or discussion of those talking points,” the “aftermath of Rice’s appearances” and State Department officials’ “evolving understanding of the Benghazi attack.”
“Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case,” he argued. Lamberth said questions about those issues could uncover “unsearched, relevant records” and “shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters.”
The judge approved the submission of written questions to Rice and Rhodes, who “helped develop Rice’s talking points.” But he rejected Judicial Watch’s request to depose the two former Obama officials in person.
Lamberth agreed with government lawyers’ objection that Judicial Watch can’t “appoint itself as a freelance Inspector General” and conduct its own investigation into the Benghazi affair.
“But that’s not what Judicial Watch does here,” he wrote. “Though Judicial Watch cannot helm a fishing expedition trawling anything and everything concerning the Benghazi attack,” he ruled it can depose the State Department on subjects related to its FOIA request.
The last administration may not like it, but with a continued chipping at roadblocks put up to prevent this sort of thing, Judicial Watch has succeeded in slowing breaking through and forcing what the Obama Administration tried to hide to come out in the open.
We still are faced with the Obama Administration possibly exercising Executive Privilege, at that point the courts may override and force this up the courts, to define where this can be used, or can it be used as a blanket cover for whatever a administration does not wish uncovered.
Concerning Executive Privilege there are two legal opinions, one side claims the right to withhold information from Congress or the public is absolute, the other side claims this can be used, but there are limits to the degree.
In the United States v. Nixon, 418 U.Us 683, 94S. Ct. 3090, 41L. Ed.2d 1039 (1974) the courts found while the right for Executive Privilege was vast, Nixon claiming this to withhold evidence found on tapes was not within the scope of that and forced the White House to turn over the tapes.
I expect the same thing here, but the judge has already ruled that Executive Privilege is not shown to effect national security, so the prior administration will have to pass this information forward and have these two testify.
One can only hope after all this wait that justice for the families of the dead will be experienced.