Judge pushes for speedier release of Clinton-era documents
July 6, 2016
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the State Department to speed up the release of documents related to a decision made under former Secretary Hillary Clinton to allow a foreign defense contractor that admitted criminal wrongdoing to continue doing business with the Pentagon.
The Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2013 for emails and internal memos involving a U.S. subsidiary of the British aerospace giant BAE Systems. AP sued after the State Department failed to provide those and other requested public records, including Clinton’s official calendars and emails transmitted through her private server.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon told the government at a court hearing in Washington that the documents must be provided to AP well before the November election. Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
BAE pleaded guilty in March 2010 to one criminal count of conspiring to making false statements about its compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and paid a $400 million fine. The Justice Department said that BAE had conducted a 20-year practice of illegal payments to Saudi Arabian officials related to arms deals.
The conviction could have resulted in the American subsidiary losing billions in U.S. military contracts. But an assistant secretary working for Clinton signed off on BAE keeping its lucrative U.S. business. Documents show Clinton was briefed on the issue before the decision was made.
In a court hearing last week, AP lawyer Jay Brown told Leon the documents likely contain information of public interest, including the reasoning behind allowing BAE to keep its U.S. weapons contracts. (Read More)
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