State Department seeks extension for Clinton email release

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 22, 2016 2:33 PM

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department asked a judge on Friday for a one-month extension to finish publicly releasing thousands of emails sent by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while secretary of state, in part because of a winter storm that closed government offices.

The department said in a federal court filing that it needed until Feb. 29 after realizing this week that it had "overlooked" an unspecified number of emails it should have already shared with other agencies for them to review for sensitive information.

It also said expected heavy snow in Washington, D.C., had interrupted delivery of these emails to other agencies. Federal employees were told their offices would close at noon on Friday.

Clinton sent and received email on a private server in her home between 2009 and 2013, but this unusual arrangement did not become public until early 2015 as she was preparing to run for the White House.

The revelation has dogged her campaign. Republicans and other critics say she was skirting transparency laws and endangered sensitive government information. Clinton says she did nothing wrong.

After a government inspector general raised concerns that classified information may be outside government control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation took the server and other equipment used by Clinton for examination.

The FBI has declined to discuss the nature of its investigation.

A little more than 80 percent of the roughly 30,000 work emails Clinton returned to the State Department in 2014 have now been made public after Jason Leopold, a reporter for VICE News, sued the department under freedom of information laws.

More than 1,300 of those emails have been obscured or removed in the public release because the State Department says they contain classified information.

Ryan James, a lawyer for Leopold, said he would "vigorously oppose" an extension to the release schedule that a judge ordered last year.

"I think it is fair to ask, how many more extensions is State going to seek, and what's in the remaining emails that requires so much more time to review and release them?" James wrote in an email.

Spokesmen for Clinton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Grant McCool)