Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Obama alongside soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his 2008 presidential campaign. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunan/AFP/Getty)

President Obama alongside soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his 2008 presidential campaign. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunan/AFP/Getty)

Obama Administration Bars Release of Clinton's TPP Emails Until Post-Election

Response for FOIA request was 'abruptly' changed from spring 2016 to late November 2016

Lauren McCauley

While Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has publicly reversed her position on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), it remains unknown how much she helped advance, or even craft, the international trade deal while serving as U.S. Secretary of State—and the Obama administration appears interested in keeping it that way.

On Monday, International Business Times (IBT) senior editor David Sirota reported that the State Department is refusing to release correspondence between Clinton's State Department office and the United States Trade Representative related to the TPP until after the 2016 presidential election.

After initially saying that the requested materials would be made available in April, a U.S. State Department representative "abruptly" told Sirota last week, "Our office was recently informed that the search process has been completed and that the information located from that search is currently being prepared for the review process. The new estimated completion date for your request is November 31 [sic], 2016."

At the intersection of the 2016 presidential contest, Clinton's ongoing email scandal, and the contentious TPP negotiations, the contents of these emails are considered to be of public interest.

As Sirota notes, "IBT’s request was designed to provide a comprehensive view of how involved Clinton and her top aides were in shaping the trade agreement, and whether her agency had a hand in crafting any particular provisions in the pact."

He further notes that "[t]he delay was issued in the same week the Obama administration filed a court motion to try to kill a lawsuit aimed at forcing the federal government to more quickly comply with open records requests for Clinton-era State Department documents."

This is not the only query related to Clinton's emails that the State Department has suspiciously postponed until after the election. VICE News journalist Jason Koebler wrote last month that the "estimated completion time" for his request of "communications, presentations, and procedures created by the State Department to secure Hillary Clinton’s email from electronic threats" was moved from January 2015 to December 2016.

Given that the initial FOIA request was made by the IBT in July 2015, even if the delay itself isn't "politically motivated," Nate Jones of the National Security Archive, a nonprofit investigative journalism center based at George Washington University, told Sirota that it reflects a systemic problem.

"In my opinion it is more incompetence than maliciousness, but either way, it is a gross error by FOIA processors to not get these documents out before the election," Jones said. "Their inefficiency is doing great harm to the democratic process."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·


Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·


Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo