A day after Hillary Clinton’s disastrous press conference in which she finally addressed her use of a private email account during her tenure as Secretary of State, the Associated Press filed a lawsuit against the State Department demanding the release of email correspondence and official documents from Clinton’s time with the department.
Despite repeated requests filed by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act, including one made five years ago, Clinton and the State Department have stonewalled attempts to access important information. AP general counsel Karen Kaiser explained that the suit came after "careful deliberation and exhausting our other options":
After careful deliberation and exhausting our other options, The Associated Press is taking the necessary legal steps to gain access to these important documents, which will shed light on actions by the State Department and former Secretary Clinton, a presumptive 2016 presidential candidate, during some of the most significant issues of our time. The press is a proxy for the people, and AP will continue its pursuit of vital information that’s in the public interest through this action and future open records requests.
The AP has filed a number of FOIA requests, one dating back to five years ago and others pending since 2013. The requests concerned materials "related to her public and private calendars, correspondence involving longtime aides likely to play key roles in her expected campaign for president, and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and National Security Agency surveillance practices."
The AP reports that State Department's Alec Gerlach, who declined to comment on the current request, has previously said that unmet FOIA requests are merely a matter of the department being overloaded by requests, which he said numbered around 19,000 last year. Priority is determined by the time and the "complexity of the request," explained Gerlach.