Team Hillary picked up a big, BIG playerwhen the State Department signed on to run interference for the former secretary of state-turned-presidential candidate.
The department, among the federal government's largest, might as well be an arm of the Clinton campaign. It has her back on those 55,000 pages of email she turned over last year.
Don't expect State to drop everything in the name of transparency, though it is blaming its failure to finish long-overdue and big-project Freedom of Information Act requests on "the Hillary job."
The document-reviewing personnel claim they are too overwhelmed by reviewing Hillary's email to do much else.
It turns out time-wasting is a dandy strategy. With Republican candidates stumbling over each other in the early going, the Clinton campaign figures it has the lead, all it has to do is play out the clock. At least, that's how Clint Van Allen sees it.
"What's going on here is dodge and stall," Van Allen told Sunshine State News. Van Allen, now an independent website developer, was a federal employee for 18 years, working cooperatively and supervising IT teams in four different Washington agencies. "I happen to know, if they wanted to dedicate a team to 55,000 hard copies, they could have the job they're doing reviewed and made public in less than a week.
"If they don't want to release anything, they'll drag their feet till the cows come home. Believe me, I know. There are dozens of ways to run a stall if you need one."
Hillary Clinton tweeted in March that the State Department said they will review [her emails] for release as soon as possible. She's right, that's what they said. AndSecretary of State John Kerry told reporters the agency would undertake this task as rapidly as possible.
The Hillary email job is blamed for everything caught in the State Department's gridlock. Been waiting years for information? Sorry, because of the Hillary review, you'll have to wait longer. Even the mother and father of all foot-drags, the Henry Kissinger conversations, gets dragged out a little longer.
According to The Washington Post, the National Security Archive filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in 2001 for records of phone conversations of former secretary Henry Kissinger, who left the department 38 years ago. The Archive, which slowly, painfully effected the release ofmore than 15,000 conversation transcripts, was forced to file suit in March for the remaining 700.
Last week the State Department asked U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer for a six-month extension on the Kissinger documents. The Post said State blamed the delay on what it called a huge surge in FOIA lawsuits in the last year alone, suits that have grown increasingly burdensome and complex.
But now it gets to use Hillary's emails as an excuse.
Here's what the State Department told Judge Collyer:These exceptional circumstances are compounded by the fact that a significant portion of [States] FOIA-processing resources are currently devoted to reviewing for public release the collection of approximately 55,000 pages of emails that were recently provided to State by former Secretary Hillary Clinton ... and to making those documents available to the public by posting them on a department website.
Recently provided? I guess recently is relative. They were provided last year.
Van Allen doesn't believe a word of State's argument. "Let me assure you, if they really wanted a quick turnaround on the public posting of any documents, they know how to pull or put together other FOIA-processing resources very quickly, very expertly, to get a job done," he said. "They have incredible technology.
"They aren't going to do anything to hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016, I assure you. They're going to release harmless stuff, hold other stuff. This is why you watch Big Government. This is what they can do, not just because they need to, but because they can."
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith