WASHINGTON, August 30, 2017 — David Hardy of the FBI’s Records Management Division denied attorney Ty Clevenger his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for FBI, Justice Department and congressional correspondence concerning the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illegal handling of secret government emails.
Hardy informed Clevenger,
“You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject. It is incumbent upon the requester to provide documentation regarding the public’s interest in the operations and activities of the government before records can be processed pursuant to the FOIA.”
You see, Clevenger is fighting for, in the words of a bygone age, “the public’s right to know.”
In his original letter to the FBI, Clevenger wrote,
“This request includes, but is not limited to, documents and correspondence exchanged between the [Justice] Department and Congress regarding whether David Kendall, Cheryl Mills, and/or Heather Samuelson mishandled or destroyed Mrs. Clinton’s emails.”
Clevenger thinks the public might be interested in why FBI investigators were so quick to grant limited immunity deals for the folks above. Heather Samuelson, for instance, was the attorney in the Clinton State Department whose job it was to divide her boss’s emails into two piles: personal and business.
Roughly 30,000 emails marked “personal” – wink, wink – were deleted using an application called BleachBit.
“When your information is only your business,” says the company website, “BleachBit guards your privacy… includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications.”
Bryan Pagliano was also a recipient of FBI immunity. When the former State Department employee appeared before the House Select Committee on Benghazi to explain his IT work setting up Hillary Clinton’s home email server, Pagliano pleaded the Fifth.
Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was furious, saying,
“I want to read the agreement between the Department of Justice and this witness and whether that agreement requires this witness to cooperate with other entities of government. For them [the Department of Justice] to say you can tell us the truth and not tell Congress makes no sense!”
It’s clear Gowdy never got to see those immunity documents any more than attorney Ty Clevenger.
Representative Gowdy, as his title implies, is elected by consent of the governed. So is the president of the United States at whose pleasure the attorney general and secretary of state serve.
But there is another government. The one that doesn’t answer to voters. The one that ignores the letter of the law, like the Freedom of Information Act, and arbitrarily decides what “sufficiently” demonstrates “the public interest.”
Especially when such laws inconvenience the “privacy interest” of a certain “subject” deemed above the law by the U.S. government’s top law enforcement bureaucracy.
But the FBI’s action, or inaction, explains why Hillary Clinton lost the presidency.
“The election of Donald Trump,” said CNN talking head Fareed Zakaria, “is really a kind of class rebellion against people like us. Educated professionals who live in cities, who have cosmopolitan views about things.”
Cass Sunstein, one such educated professional, served, appropriately enough, in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and later as President Obama’s regulatory “Czar.”
He co-wrote a book with Richard Thaler entitled “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.”
In it they wrote:
“Those who reject paternalism often claim that human beings do a terrific job of making choices, and if not terrific, certainly better than anyone else would do (especially if that someone else works for the government)… By properly deploying both incentives and nudges, we can improve our ability to improve people’s lives, and help solve many of society’s major problems. And we can do so while still insisting on everyone’s freedom to choose.”
Notice that Sunstein champions the less than subtle “nudge” of big-government “paternalism” while paying lip service to the individual’s “freedom to choose.”
This represents a clear and profound contradiction. If big daddy in Washington creates a host of disincentives so as to incentivize a preordained outcome, you are not, in any sense of the word, free.
And this paternalism has a tendency to enrage freethinkers, causing them to speak and act outside the box.
An annoyance Sunstein addressed in his book “Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech,” saying Americans have arrived at a point in our history when “we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals.”
And this free speech problem is being dealt with by the skull-crushing nudgers of the violent Antifa movement.
But the “democracy” and “goals” of paternalistic government comes to nothing when confronted by the populist push-back of consent-giving, or denying, voters.
The election of Donald Trump as president exemplified that voter push-back.
This is why the FBI, one among Washington’s pantheon of alphabet agencies, continues its cover-up of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal while simultaneously aiding the Justice Department’s investigation into the phony Russia-Trump conspiracy theory.
The FBI’s refusal to provide attorney Ty Clevenger documents concerning its back room immunity deals to shield Mrs. Clinton (a staunch feminist believer in paternalistic government) from criminal prosecution, is yet another middle finger in the face of an electorate tired of condescending government’s authoritarian nudging.