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State Department Falls Behind Schedule With Latest Release of Hillary Clinton Emails

The State Department released another trove of documents yesterday, but fell short of a goal set by a federal judge in response to a FOIA lawsuit by VICE News reporter Jason Leopold.

by Olivia Becker
Jan 1 2016, 10:00pm

Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA

The US Department of State released the latest batch of Hillary Clinton's emails from her tenure as Secretary of State last night, but still failed to meet the number of documents a federal judge required the government to make public by the end of 2015.

"We have worked diligently to come as close to the goal as possible, but with the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule we have not met the goal this month," the State Department said in a statement Thursday morning.

Clinton's emails are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by VICE News senior investigative reporter Jason Leopold after it was revealed that Clinton had used a private email server when she was the top US diplomat. A federal judge ordered the government to release 15 percent of Clinton's 35,000 emails each month until the end of January 2016.

Related: In Emails, Hillary Clinton Praised the Release of Guantanamo Detainee Omar Khadr

According to that timeline, about 8,000 pages of emails were supposed to be made public yesterday, but the State Department came up short and only released about 5,500 pages. Officials said they plan on releasing the additional emails in the coming days. The State Department agreed to "aspire to abide" by the timeline set forth by the federal judge, but will have to explain in an official progress report why they are running behind schedule.

Most of the emails consist of standard correspondence between Clinton's staff discussing everything from scheduling to interesting news articles, but they occasionally offer a behind-the-scenes peek into the Democratic presidential candidate's highly-guarded life.

One email from last night's dump includes an exchange between Clinton's aides detailing an intricate flow chart that determines who gets to ride with their boss in her limo. Another one shows Clinton's reaction to a Hasidic newspaper photoshopping her out of the iconic photograph from the White House situation room during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

"Unbelievable," Clinton wrote, surmising that the paper probably took her out of the picture, "perhaps because no woman should be in such a place of power or that I am dressed immodestly!!"

Related: Email to Hillary Clinton Shows Effort to Quash Story About WikiLeaks and Turkey

Another document from last night's trove was an email forwarded to Clinton from Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, describing the atmosphere in the country after its election in 2012.

This latest batch also included 275 emails that had formerly been labelled classified but have since been downgraded in secrecy levels and carefully redacted.

Previous batches of Clinton's emails, many of which were also heavily redacted, have included discussions about the prosecution of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Belgium, and the delicate US-Israel relationship in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 Gaza War.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928

Hillary Clinton
Jason Leopold
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