How is it not a complete conflict of interest to have a person working for the State Department oversee both the IRS scandal documents for the current Administration and now the Benghazi documents for an important Presidential candidate? Or, looked at it another way, how is it that a current State Department employee has complete oversight of the documents of a former Secretary of State embroiled in a State Department scandal? Where is the impartiality?
Unfortunately, this is the scenario that is playing out. Catherine Duval, a former lawyer who joined the State Department in August of last year, is in charge of the release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and documents pertaining to Benghazi to the House Select Committee investigation the scandal, the same woman who was in charge of releasing IRS documents and Lerner’s emails.
As Rep. Jim Jordan, who is involved in investigating both scandals, pointed out, “She was at the IRS when there was a preservation order and subpoena — and documents were destroyed. She is now at the State Department, where we were supposed to get [certain] information, and we know that some of the emails were not given.”
It was recently revealed at the end of June by the IRS watchdog that IRS employees had magnetically erased 422 backup tapes that would have contained copies of Lerner’s “lost” emails. Duval apparently discovered the missing Lerner emails in February 2014; “though she alerted IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and a friend she had in the administration to the problem, neither she nor other IRS officials told Congress until June.” As many as 24,000 messages were magnetically wiped on March 4, 2014.
Furthermore, “the IRS said its email backup tapes had been “recycled” under the standard policy, insisting no backup of the lost messages existed.
That turned out to be false: The IRS inspector general that summer located backup tapes of Lerner’s emails. And though Koskinen at the time vowed his top people were trying to find out if there was any recoverable data, IT employees overseeing the tapes told the IG that no top-level IRS employees had even asked if such copies existed.
Duval has testified that she did not know the email preservation tapes even existed, telling Oversight investigators the IT chiefs informed her there were no backup tapes — and she had no reason to question their expertise.”
Rep. Jordan further outlined the frustration with Duval’s management, suggesting a “common pattern”: “Duval hasn’t been clear about important details in the investigations. She knew there were important gaps in Lerner’s email records for months and did not tell Congress, Jordan said — just as State did not tell the Benghazi panel for months that Clinton had exclusively used her personal account for work.”
Now the same tactics are being employed with the Benghazi documents, deemed “slow-walking” requests from the investigation committees. A request from last November remains unfulfilled for Clinton’s Libya-related emails and correspondence of her top 10 advisors.
The State Department has pushed back, pointing to the fact that it has “given Benghazi investigators 300 emails from Clinton’s personal account, allowed 21 State witnesses to be questioned and given investigators 40,000 pages of additional documents”, while claiming diligence “to review and publish the 55,000 pages of emails we received from former Secretary Clinton according to [Freedom of Information Act] standards so they are available to the general public and the media.”
However, 60 new Clinton emails regarding Libya, which had not been given to the investigation panel by the State Department, were discovered in a roundabout way — via a subpoena to Clinton’s close friend Sidney Blumenthal. The State Department claimed that Clinton herself did not turn over 15 of the 60 undisclosed emails to the State Department, but the Benghazi Committee pointed to the other 45 which was in the hands of the State Department, yet not disclosed and released to the Committee — which makes one wonder if there are even more emails and documents.
Heads should have been rolling over how the IRS misconduct was handled. Instead, in typical Obama Administration fashion, they are instead anointed and appointed again to lead another despicable government scandal.