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Hearing Hearing Date: September 8, 2016 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

Examining FOIA Compliance at the Department of State

Examining FOIA Compliance at the Department of State
September 8, 2016
10:00 am
2154 Rayburn HOB
Full Committee on Oversight and Accountability

FOIA Compliance


  • Despite an affidavit signed by Secretary Clinton on Aug. 8, 2015, stating all of her records were turned over to State, in just the last month, State received “a number of disks” from the FBI containing at least 14,900 emails of former Secretary Clinton’s with the possibility for tens of thousands more, according to Under Secretary of Management Kennedy.
  • State staff was unable to obtain FOIA-able records from former Secretary Clinton during her tenure because they were not informed that those records existed.
  • Although Secretary Clinton testified before the Benghazi Committee that State had 90-95 percent of her emails, State testified they could not properly fulfill Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests because they did not have her records.
  • State’s FOIA process is an outdated, paper-based system that has failed to provide adequate responses to FOIA requesters until forced to do so by court order.
  • Since 2008, State’s FOIA budget has almost tripled from $12.9 million to $33.4 million yet weaknesses persist.


  • To examine the FOIA processes at State and specifically in the Office of the Secretary.


  • According to the State Inspector General, there are numerous weaknesses in the FOIA operations at the Office of the Secretary.
  • From 2009 through 2013, State lost an untold number of federal records to inappropriate record keeping practices by Secretary Hillary Clinton and her senior staff.
  • Due to State’s inadequate record keeping, hundreds of FOIA requesters received incomplete responses and it remains unclear whether those requesters will ever receive a full and complete response.


Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “So who is? Who knows (how many Hillary Clinton work emails State obtained after Dec. 5)? Ambassador Kennedy?

Ambassador Kennedy: “Mr. Chairman, to — we’ve received a number of disks from the FBI. We are in the process of inputting them into our classified analysis system and counting them. And we know of 14,900 odd documents and the FBI has mentioned that there could be tens of thousands others in the string of disks that we’re processing now.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC): “Secretary Clinton told the FBI under penalty of not telling the truth that Colin Powell’s advice, email, had nothing to do with her decision to set up her unique email arrangement with herself.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “How was the Department able to close a request for correspondence covering Secretary Clinton when the Department did not have access to all of the email correspondence from the Secretary?”

Witnesses and testimonies: The Honorable Patrick F. Kennedy

Under Secretary for Management
U.S. Department of State


The Honorable Janice Jacobs

Transparency Coordinator
U.S. Department of State


Ms. Karin Lang

Director, Executive Secretariat
U.S. Department of State


Mr. Clarence N. Finney, Jr.

Deputy Director for Correspondence, Records, and Staffing Division, Executive Secretariat
U.S. Department of State