WASHINGTON - A former federal prosecutor asked an appeals court Thursday to give him access to Hillary Rodham Clinton's private e-mail server and other records that might show whether, as secretary of state, she had leaked classified information about the Obama administration's cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear program.
Larry Klayman, head of the conservative-leaning Freedom Watch Inc., alleged before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the State Department had "fraudulently induced" a federal judge when to throw out his Freedom of Information Act suit.
The department has already backtracked. In court papers filed in advance of the hearing, government lawyers said State Department officials would reopen their records search because of the recent disclosure that Clinton had conducted official business over a private e-mail account.
They also acknowledged that department officials had conducted only a limited search of records in Clinton's office in response to Klayman's 2012 request under the Freedom of Information Act to see all documents relating to the leak to a New York Times reporter.
The court case underscores the degree of scrutiny and suspicion suddenly facing Clinton, widely seen as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, since the revelations about her e-mail account. Last week, she advised a House select committee that the server was wiped clean after she turned over 30,490 official e-mails to the State Department.
Freedom Watch and at least two other conservative groups are demanding official records relating to her tenure in the cabinet from 2009 to 2013, while the House committee is investigating her role in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, that cost the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Klayman also has filed a racketeering suit accusing Clinton of trading favorable policy positions for foreign government donations to a foundation run by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Klayman sued the State Department on June 28, 2012, less than a month after the Times' David E. Sanger reported that President Obama, since shortly after taking office, had sped up "increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities." One part of the program, a computer worm called Stuxnet that was developed jointly by the United States and Israel, entered the Internet and was detected in computers around the world, the report said.
Sanger said his story was based on interviews over 18 months "with current and former American, European, and Israeli officials involved in the program."
Klayman alleged that the administration had leaked the information to make America appear "tough" toward Iran during negotiations with Tehran in advance of the 2012 presidential election. He said records released so far showed that then-Secretary Clinton was "consulting" with Sanger before the story ran. He also said department officials had "blatantly lied" in saying that they had conducted a full records search.