The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Hillary Clinton Secures a Rare Email Win

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton scored a legal victory Friday in connection with her use of private email while serving as secretary of state, with a federal judge ruling that the State Department does not have to release some of the 329 emails specifically related to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, before the ...

GettyImages-493810422
GettyImages-493810422

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton scored a legal victory Friday in connection with her use of private email while serving as secretary of state, with a federal judge ruling that the State Department does not have to release some of the 329 emails specifically related to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, before the deadline to release all correspondence.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton scored a legal victory Friday in connection with her use of private email while serving as secretary of state, with a federal judge ruling that the State Department does not have to release some of the 329 emails specifically related to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, before the deadline to release all correspondence.

The State Department, under court order, is in the process of releasing more than 55,000 pages of Clinton’s emails in advance of the January 2016 deadline. Judicial Watch, a conservative legal advocacy group, asked federal judge Amit Mehta to order the State Department to speed the release recently-discovered messages specifically related to the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack, which left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Mehta sided with the State Department Friday morning. He said it would be “unwise and potentially risky” to quickly release these particular emails.

The decision is a piece of good news for Clinton, who has faced persistent Republican criticism over her use of a private email server in her home in New York when she was the nation’s top diplomat. Tens of thousands of her messages have already been made public, but they have served to provide a behind-the-scenes look at how Clinton ran the State Department as opposed to a smoking gun that would indicate wrongdoing on the night of the attack or in the days and months after.

The legal victory also comes on the heels of an 11-hour grilling of Clinton, also a former New York senator, before the House Select Committee investigating the attack in October. Clinton escaped the hearing unscathed.

Multiple investigations have failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing on Clinton’s part in connection with Benghazi. The probes had hurt her politically, with some Democrats openly fretting about the growing numbers of Americans who didn’t see her as trustworthy. That dynamic has reversed itself in recent weeks, however, buoyed by a strong debate performance and a growing sense within the party that she remains fully capable of defeating a Republican next year.

Still, Friday’s win doesn’t bring an end to even this chapter of the email saga. At some point before February 2016, all of her emails — including the 329 in question — will become public.

Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images

More from Foreign Policy

Vladimir Putin speaks during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Vladimir Putin speaks during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

What Putin Got Right

The Russian president got many things wrong about invading Ukraine—but not everything.

Dmitry Medvedev (center in the group of officials), an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is now deputy chairman of the country's security council, visits the Omsktransmash (Omsk transport machine factory) in the southern Siberian city of Omsk.
Dmitry Medvedev (center in the group of officials), an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is now deputy chairman of the country's security council, visits the Omsktransmash (Omsk transport machine factory) in the southern Siberian city of Omsk.

Russia Has Already Lost in the Long Run

Even if Moscow holds onto territory, the war has wrecked its future.

Sri Lankan construction workers along a road in Colombo.
Sri Lankan construction workers along a road in Colombo.

China’s Belt and Road to Nowhere

Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy is a “shadow of its former self.”

Dalton speaks while sitting at a table alongside other U.S. officials.
Dalton speaks while sitting at a table alongside other U.S. officials.

The U.S. Overreacted to the Chinese Spy Balloon. That Scares Me.

So unused to being challenged, the United States has become so filled with anxiety over China that sober responses are becoming nearly impossible.