Admitting that it made errors in handling a request for emails of Hillary Clinton’s aides, the State Department has asked a federal judge to postpone the deadline for processing the records by over two years.
The request is part of a lawsuit involving Citizens United, a conservative watch group. The suit was filed earlier in the year, and seeks the emails of four former State Department officials that worked under Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state: Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Michael Fuchs and Melanne Verveer.
On Wednesday, lawyers for the Justice Department informed U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras that the State would not be able to meet the July 21 deadline.
The Justice Department lawyers are requesting that Congress give the State another 27 months to process the request, which would be completed at a pace of 500 pages per month.
Eric Stein, State FOIA official, stated in March that searches retrieved around 6,000 documents that may be responsive to the request. Fewer than half of those documents would likely be responsive when duplicates are removed.
But in recent month, the Department said it uncovered “errors in the manner in which the searches had been conducted in order to capture documents potentially responsive to the Plaintiff’s requests.” As a result, some attachments to responsive emails were marked as non-responsive in error and forwarded messages involving the identified officials were not captured.
In total, there are now 14,000 pages that are potentially responsive, and that number may continue growing as the State tries to resolve the attachment issue.