D’oh, this is one of those ‘and-they-thought-they-could-get-away-with-it-stories’. More than three years ago Gawker was in a back-and-forth blistering e-mail conversation with Philippe Reines, Deputy assistant to Hillary Clinton. Subsequently they (Gawker) submitted a FOIA request to the state dept. for Mr. Reines emails. The State Department said they didn’t have any of Reines emails.
(Via Mediaite) Two years after claiming they couldn’t find certain emails from a former staffer, the State Department suddenly announced in court that they had found more than 17,000 of them.
The backstory is that back in 2013, Gawker filed a FOIA request for any emails sent from deputy assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines to employees of 34 media outlets. Reines had something of a reputation of sending extremely confrontational emails to reporters telling them to “f*ck off,” and Gawker no doubt wanted to mine his emails for more gems.
But to their surprise, the State Department responded that they couldn’t find a single email Reinnes had sent to any reporters from those organizations, even though emails to those outlets were already known to exist. In response, Gawker took the State Deparment to court.
Lo and behold, an August 13 filing by State Department lawyers announced that they had discovered “5.5 gigabytes of data containing 81,159 emails of varying length” written by Reinnes. Approximately 17,855 of those emails were considered to be responsive to the email request originally filed by Gawker. (read more at Gawker)
The Department has conducted its preliminary review of the potentially responsive electronic documents in its possession, custody, and control from Mr. Reines’ state.gov email account (as opposed to records it received from his personal email account). The assemblage comprises approximately 5.5 gigabytes of data containing 81,159 emails of varying length. Based on a review of a portion of these emails, the Department estimates that 22% of the 81,159 emails may be responsive. Therefore, the Department believes that it will need to conduct a line- by-line review of an estimated 17,855 emails for applicable FOIA exemptions. Moreover, some of the responsive records may need to be referred to other agencies for consultation or processing. (link)