The watchdog group Judicial Watch is suing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to produce records detailing the FBI response to warnings that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server had been compromised by a foreign power.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found that Clinton’s server was compromised with malware that caused every one of Clinton’s emails to be copied to a foreign entity, according to a congressman on the House Judiciary Committee.
In July 2018, during the committee’s questioning of Strzok, Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert described a meeting in which named members of the ICIG staff met with Strzok. He said they informed Stzrok of “an anomaly they had found on Hillary Clinton’s emails that were going to the private unauthorized server that you were supposed to be investigating.”
“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia,” Gohmert said.
At the hearing, Strzok acknowledged the meeting, but claimed he did not recall being told by qualified fellow government investigators of a massive national security breach that would be a major smoking gun in the case he was working.
“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”
The Clinton email probe was perceived as having a major impact on the 2016 election. Former FBI director James Comey held a July 2016 press conference in which he acknowledged reckless practices by Clinton but said:
We did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal email domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence.
Judicial Watch hopes the suit will prove that political partisanship compromised the investigation. “Our lawsuit could further expose how anti-Trump activists like disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok bent over backwards to protect Hillary Clinton from having to answer for her national security crimes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
The lawsuit, filed after the agency did not fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request, is aimed at gathering the documentation underlying what ICIG staff purportedly said at the meeting. It requests:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the meeting between Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) official Frank Rucker, ICIG attorney Jeanette Macmillian, former Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, and other[s] regarding security threats associated with the private e-mail server utilized by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
This request includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Any and all reports, notes, briefing materials, presentations, or similar records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to the meeting.
- Any and all related records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the ICIG and any other individual or entity.
The Daily Caller News Foundation, which was the first to report on the issue raised by Gohmert, then exclusively reported in August 2018 on details of the ICIG’s findings.
A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails, two sources briefed on the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Chinese firm obtained Clinton’s emails in real-time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.
The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant “courtesy copy” for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.
ICIG officials Frank Rucker and Janette McMillan repeatedly met with the FBI to warn them of the Chinese intrusion after discovering it “pretty early in 2015,” a former intelligence officer said.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrell glossed over the findings of the ICIG by citing the absence of FBI action to suggest that Clinton’s server was not compromised. “The FBI spent thousands of hours investigating, and found no evidence of intrusion,” he said.
Similarly, the FBI issued a statement responding to TheDCNF’s report that said it had “not found any evidence” of an intrusion.
The failure of the FBI to detect a problem that another agency was able to find also raises questions about whether the FBI’s review of Clinton’s security practices was thorough.
That dynamic has arisen before. Texts between Strzok and his mistress indicate that the FBI was ready to close the investigation of Clinton’s server before the ICIG flagged something the FBI missed: that some emails were explicitly marked classified.
“We found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras,” Strzok wrote. “If the FBI missed this, what else was missed?”
In late 2017, ICIG Chuck McCullough took the unusual step of coming forward publicly to say that he perceived pushback after he began raising the alarmabout issues with Clinton’s servers to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
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