If, from time to time, you feel as though you have no idea what is going on in government, you shouldn’t be surprised. From the stonewalling and deception engaged in by this Administration, it would appear that is exactly what they had in mind. However, if—every once in a while—you feel like you have seen some small glimmer of what’s behind that curtain, you probably have Judicial Watch to thank.
Laboring far less noisily than when first created in 1994, to constantly sue the Clinton Administration, Judicial Watch has emerged during the current administration as an unsung hero of transparency, somehow able to pry loose official documents and emails that even Darrel Issa and Trey Gowdy were kept from receiving.
It seems as though Judicial Watch has succeeded in breaking down the wall of obfuscation and denial erected by the Obama White House, the Clinton State Department, and the Holder Justice Department, to the extent that it has been broken at all. In no particular order, here are some of the Administration secrets that have been discovered by Judicial Watch:
When Michelle Obama traipsed off to Spain with her daughter, some friends, and their kids, Judicial Watch obtained the documents needed to find out how much it cost the American taxpayer. The answer? A paltry $467,000 for security and transportation. When the information was released and the White House was questioned about it, the always-elusive press secretary Jay Carney had “no comment.”
In May of 2012, Judicial Watch obtained documents proving that the Pentagon gave access to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty concerning members of Seal Team 6 and the events surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden. The administration had previously denied that its relationship with Hollywood was problematic. Once this information was known, questions were raised about the propriety of allowing ordinary civilians such access to the military and classified information. The release date of the film—October of 2012—also raised the possibility that the White House cooperation was to influence a film that could give Obama a last-minute electoral boost in his purported image as a war-fighter.
In 2010, the late, lamented Andrew Breitbart posted a video clip of a Department of Agriculture employee named Shirley Sherrod. The clip that made the rounds of cable TV during the day made it appear that Sherrod was laughing about making race-based decisions; however, the full clip made it clear that it was the racism of the audience Breitbart intended to illuminate. Nevertheless, by the time the clip was shown on The O’Reilly Factor that night, Sherrod had been fired. The Obama Administration claimed that it had not been consulted by the Agriculture Department. In 2012, Judicial Watch obtained documents showing that the White House was intimately involved in the decision from the beginning.
While Darrel Issa and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were banging their heads against the wall and trying to pry information out of Eric Holder, even to the point of finding him in contempt of Congress, Judicial Watch was working its magic with the Freedom of Information Act. That tenacity bore fruit in October of last year, when it finally received the complete list of documents being withheld concerning the Department of Justice operation code-named “Fast and Furious” under a claim of Executive Privilege. This list (legally called a “Vaughn Index”) notes the document, the privilege being claimed, and why it cannot be disclosed. The document—remember, just an index—is 1307 pages long.
Last April, almost a year after filing a FOIA request with the State Department, Judicial Watch announced the receipt of 41 Benghazi-related documents, including what became the infamous “Ben Rhodes email.” Collectively, the documents undermine the claims of Obama, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton that there was any significant amount of time in which they believed the Benghazi attack was related to the famous video. Despite the facts, Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton met with the families of the four dead heroes, and at least one of them (Clinton) pledged to “get” the man who made the video.
Sometime in the next few months, it is likely that we will see former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Clinton attempt to explain these documents to Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi Committee—which was authorized by the Speaker of the House as a result of the discovery of the Ben Rhodes email.
And, last but not least, when the US Embassy in Islamabad produced a video apologizing for the infamous video on which the State Department had blamed Benghazi, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents about it. That video was intended for Pakistan and featured President Obama and Secretary Clinton metaphorically groveling before the Arab world, begging forgiveness for our silly First Amendment freedoms (more or less).
Last November, that suit was withdrawn, based on the State Department’s claim that there were no such records. Fast forward to this week (5/11/15), when the State Department joined with Judicial Watch in getting the federal court to re-open the case, based on the new evidence that the Clinton home server may, indeed, have harbored such emails. And that just might result in the American people finding out the truth about Benghazi.
America, you owe Judicial Watch a great debt of gratitude. And, given the number of lawsuits in process currently, they’re just getting started.