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Hillary Clinton emails will not be released until January 2016, says State Department

John Locher,AP

(The Guardian)…

The State Department has set itself a deadline of January next year to release 55,000 pages of emails sent from a private account by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.

The longer-than-expected timetable will mean the emails, which have marred the launch of Clinton’s presidential campaign, will not be released until just before the first key events of the presidential nomination process – the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

Clinton handed over 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department in December 2014, but she held back as many other emails that her lawyers said were private.

In March, Clinton said she wanted the public to see the emails and that the State Department would release them as soon as possible. At the time, it said the process of releasing the emails would take several months.

Explaining why the release of the emails would not be completed until January, an official in charge of Freedom of Information Act (Foia) requests said the content of the messages “presents several challenges”.

In a legal document filed on Monday in an Foia lawsuit launched by Vice News, John Hackett, the State Department’s director of information programs, said: “The department understands the considerable public interest in these records and is endeavoring to complete the review and production of them as expeditiously as possible. The collection is, however, voluminous and, due to the breadth of topics, the nature of the communications, and the interests of several agencies, presents several challenges.”

It added: “Given the breadth and importance of the many foreign policy issues on which the secretary of state and the department work, the review of these materials will likely require consultation with a broad range of subject matter experts within the department and other agencies, as well as potentially with foreign governments.

“The department is committed to processing the 55,000 pages as expeditiously as possible, while taking into consideration the department’s other legal obligations.”

Separately, the department has confirmed it will soon release Clinton’s emails about Libya, including the controversial attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the killing of four Americans, including the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens.

Clinton’s admission that she conducted official business on a private email account has been heavily criticised, and her decision to hold back private emails has been greeted with suspicion.

The Sunlight Foundation, which campaigns for open data, said: “There is shock at what Secretary Clinton did because the most likely explanation of her intent seems clear – she created a system designed to avoid accountability, potentially in violation of the law.”

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