The FBI used to be a proven master at exposing cover-ups. But, now, it has become a master of the cover-up, itself.
That’s what Judicial Watch (JW) revealed when we released 29 pages of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.
The documents show that FBI officials were more concerned about stifling leaks than the actual meeting itself. The new documents also show that the ever-vigilant former FBI Director Comey seemed to learn of the meeting from news reports.
We obtained the documents in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-02046)) filed after the Justice Department failed to comply with a July 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking:
- All FD-302 forms prepared pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure.
- All records of communications between any agent, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding, concerning, or related to the aforementioned investigation. This request includes, but is not limited to, any related communications with any official, employee, or representative of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the President, the Democratic National Committee, and/or the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
- All records related to the meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016.
These documents show FBI officials were more concerned about tracking down a whistleblower than discovering why Bill Clinton delayed his aircraft taking off in order to "maneuver" a meeting with the attorney general – who was ostensibly investigating Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal. The resulting story about the Lynch-Clinton rendezvous in the Observer caused a flurry of emails about the source – rather than the substance – of the article.
In the e-mails obtained by JW, FBI official(s) wrote, "we need to find that guy” (the whistleblower). Also, the emails reveal that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted “in an attempt to stem any further damage." Another FBI official, working on AG Lynch’s security detail, suggests instituting non-disclosure agreements apparently to thwart any further revelations. The names of the email authors are redacted. Significantly, there are no documents showing any concern whatsoever about the meeting itself.
The FBI originally informed us that they could not locate any records related to the tarmac meeting. However, in a related FOIA lawsuit, the Justice Department located emails in which Justice Department officials wrote that they had communicated with the FBI. As a result, a letter dated Aug. 10, 2017, from the FBI stated, "Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist. As a result, your [FOIA] request has been reopened . . . "
Here is the background. On June 27, 2016, Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton on board a parked plane at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting occurred during the then-ongoing investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s email server, and only a few days before she was interviewed by Mrs. Lynch’s Justice Department and FBI. (We filed a request on June 30 that the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General investigate the Lynch-Clinton meeting.)
The tarmac meeting also came just days before former FBI Director James Comey held the July 5, 2016, press conference in which he announced that no charges would be filed against Mrs. Clinton. In his subsequent, May 3, 2017, testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey said the Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting was the "capper" among "a number of things" that had caused him to determine that Department of Justice leadership “could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system."
It may be too late for that, Mr. Comey. These documents show that the FBI was more concerned about a whistleblower who told the truth about the infamous Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting than the scandalous meeting itself. The documents show the FBI worked to make sure no more details of the meeting would be revealed to the American people. No wonder the FBI didn’t turn these documents over until we caught the agency red-handed hiding them. If not for our lawsuits these documents would still be hidden today. And the cover-up would never have been exposed.
This is more confirmation of the urgent need to reopen the Clinton email scandal and criminally investigate the resulting Obama FBI/DOJ sham investigation.
The American people are following this growing scandal intently. An opinion piece I wrote for Fox News on the tarmac documents drew nearly 10,000 comments.
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption. A former talk radio and television host and analyst, Tom is well known across the country as a national spokesperson for the conservative cause. He has been quoted in Time, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and most every other major newspaper in the country. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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