Do feel free to ignore the reality of what's happening with all the Judicial Watch and RNC lawsuits and FOIA requests. Because, after all...pleaded the Fifth 125 times!
June 24, 2016

Bryan Pagliano pleaded the Fifth in front of Congress, and did so again in his deposition related to Judicial Watch's FOIA request.

This is no surprise. His lawyers had already said that based on the narrow scope the judge is allowing for the deposition, he would be pleading the Fifth.

That he pleaded the Fifth 125 times, as breathlessly noted in the press, is also no surprise. In past depositions, Judicial Watch did not stay within the narrowly defined scope of questioning. They also have a habit of asking the same question again. And again. And again. I have no doubts they played the same games with Pagliano. It serves their agenda, and Pagliano pleading the Fifth seemingly so many times, is fodder for an Republican National Party desperate for anything that takes the pressure of their horribly abysmal candidate.

As for the other stories this week related to the many, many Judicial Watch and RNC FOIA lawsuits, the documents released that were referenced in the State OIG report are little more than geeks talking about software incompatibility and an email server. Go ahead, take a peek: knock yourself out. If it sounds like that conversation you had with your knowledgeable friend/family member/fellow employee about why something didn't work, that's exactly what it is.

In another case, the RNC is having a hissy because State asked for a summary judgement on one of its many lawsuits. As I noted in a previous writing, the State stated trying to fulfill the request of the overly broad RNC FOIA request would be a burden to the agency.

According to the RNC filing, the State is engaging in deception and not fulfilling its duties because it can't use search terms and technology in order to determine if any of the several hundred thousands of email pages have classified information that can't be released. I suspect the RNC lawyer is grossly inexperienced with FOIA requests and lawsuits. Or at least, I hope he is, because it's the only explanation that would account for thinking that all one has to do to determine whether a document has classified information is by using the equivalent of Google on it.

They must have missed all the information about the effort that went into clearing Hillary Clinton's documents; that every document that referenced a person or a department had to go to that department to determine whether the information is classified.

Perhaps they also missed the fact that search is not a new version of artificial intelligence, where one can input "Show me all emails that have classified information" and it would actually work.

For Patrick Kennedy, the RNC seeks just 11,000 emails totaling approximately 19,000 pages. For Cheryl Mills, the RNC seeks 64,000 emails totaling approximately103,000 pages.

Simple, except every single page has to be reviewed by a human.

  • A human, who has to determine what information must be redacted because it violates privacy exceptions under the FOIA.
  • A human, who must determine whether the document should be withheld because it falls under one of the nine FOIA exemptions.
  • A human who then has to check with people with expertise to determine if the information contained in the email should be classified. And then most likely send the document on to other member agencies of the intelligence community so they can ascertain whether the information should be classified or not.

Only 19,000 pages. Only 103,000 pages. And that's not even including the requests for Pagliano's emails, which he had deleted before leaving State. State has determined the only way to possibly discover these emails, was to identify all of the people he may have communicated with, and to grab all of their email and look for direct, or indirect communications with Pagliano.

So it's no longer 19,000 and 103,000, but potentially millions of emails.

All of this, just so the RNC can look for anything that they can manipulate into looking remotely like a smoking gun, before elections this November. To their extreme disappointment, they could not find that smoking gun in Hillary Clinton's 55,000 pages of emails, so in an act of desperation they're looking through the email of anyone she was ever associated with in State.

All before November. Well, probably by the middle of August or so, because they actually have to look at the emails themselves.

State is also involved in 60 other lawsuits related to the Clinton emails, as well as having to answer 55 or so new FOIA requests every day, on top of the 20,0000 or so older requests, still waiting responses.

Pish, tosh. No worries. We'll fire all of the embassy guards and replace them with FOIA clerks. We'll turn the entire State department into one big clerical pool. ISIS must wait...FOIA takes precedence.

I wonder if Jake Tapper will discuss any of this in his show, after promoting the Judicial Watch talking points.

Or will he, like the other media, ignore all of the mechanizations from the RNC and related cohorts, and focus on geeks discussing software incompatibilities, and how one person pleaded the Fifth for 125 times?

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