(post gazette) – Pittsburgh postmaster facing charges released on bond; employment status unclear

Jeremy Wadsworth/Block News Alliance Daniel Davis, shown here in 2011, joined the US Postal Service in 1997 and worked as postmaster in Toledo before being transferred to Pittsburgh and appointed acting postmaster in February 2014

Pittsburgh’s postmaster this morning declined to address charges filed against him by the Allegheny County district attorney’s office that he intimidated and threatened four subordinates in an effort to cover up his alleged illegal opening of packages containing drugs and money.

“I’m confident we’ll have a conversation down the road,” Daniel P. Davis said in a brief phone interview before hanging up on a reporter.

In an earlier interview this morning, Mr. Davis referred questions to his attorney, Joseph J. Chester, who declined comment.

Mr. Davis joined the US Postal Service in 1997 and worked as postmaster in Toledo before being transferred to Pittsburgh and appointed acting postmaster in February 2014. His position was made permanent in August 2014, but whether he remains employed was unclear today.

Mr. Davis would not clarify whether he was still working. And Tad Kelley, a postal service spokesman, refused to divulge Mr. Davis’s employment status or salary.

“I have presented our statement to you,” Mr. Kelley said. “It is the Postal Service does not comment on personnel matters, including criminal investigations of employees or former employees.”

Mr. Kelley referred further questions to the DA’s office. Spokesman Mike Manko said he did not know whether Mr. Davis was working, fired, suspended or otherwise.

Mr. Davis was arraigned at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday by District Judge Elissa M. Lang on obstructing administration of law or other government function and four counts each of intimidation of witnesses or victims, criminal coercion and official oppression.

He was released on $10,000 unsecured bond on each of five cases filed against him. Judge Lang ordered Mr. Davis to have no contact with any witnesses or victims. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Mr. Davis, 50, of Canonsburg, has been in trouble with the law once before in Pennsylvania, according to court records.

In May, Pennsylvania State Police charged Mr. Davis with knowingly by trick/fraud win or reduce a loss and disorderly conduct. While gambling on mini-baccarat at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County, Mr. Davis “did, by sleight of hand or scheme, illegally win…” a criminal complaint said.

The first charge was withdrawn. Mr. Davis pleaded guilty to a summary count of disorderly conduct.

While District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.’s office filed charges Tuesday against Mr. Davis and outlined in a detailed affidavit an alleged pattern of the postmaster terrorizing employees over the past year by threatening to kill or ruin them, it is unknown whether any federal charges will flow from an investigation that began with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

Federal authorities provided no clues Tuesday about whether they planned to pursue charges. An affidavit prepared by detectives with the district attorney’s office alleged that Mr. Davis broke federal law and violated US Postal Service regulations by opening same-day delivery mail packages at various post offices, most prominently the one in East Liberty.

As postmaster, the affidavit said, Mr. Davis did not have any job duties that involved opening other people’s mail.

The pertinent portion of the U.S. Code states:

“Whoever, being a Postal Service officer or employee, unlawfully secretes, destroys, detains, delays, or opens any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail entrusted to him or which shall come into his possession, and which was intended to be conveyed by mail, or carried or delivered by any carrier or other employee of the Postal Service, or forwarded through or delivered from any post office or station thereof established by authority of the Postmaster General or the Postal Service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

It remained murky whether Mr. Davis was expecting packages containing drugs or whether he took drugs and money.

Mr. Zappala said Tuesday that the types of packages that Mr. Davis opened were not typically run through an X-ray machine. The DA also said that sometimes Mr. Davis had routing numbers for packages and called employees at post office branches to tell them to look out for them.

Four postal service employees served as witnesses for the DA’s detectives. They described situations in which Mr. Davis opened packages in front of them; some said they watched Mr. Davis open packages containing drugs, the affidavit said.

One, according to Josh Francis, who was working in the East Liberty station and is now a manager in Coraopolis, contained marijuana, cocaine and heroin, the affidavit said. That was in November 2014, and Mr. Francis told investigators that the drugs were hidden in bags of coffee, something that was witnessed on other occasions.

Mr. Davis described it as the “mother load [sic],” according to the affidavit.

On occasion, Mr. Davis told his employees to contact postal inspectors. But Mr. Zappala dismissed the actions as a possible ruse by Mr. Davis to lend him credibility as someone trying to stem the tide of drugs being sent through the mail.

Mr. Zappala said Mr. Davis would tell his employees that he was looking for drugs.

“Where I came from,” Mr. Zappala said Mr. Davis told his charges, “we took drugs off the street.”

Mr. Davis was aware that investigators were looking at him — or going to start.

In September 2014, the affidavit said, Mr. Davis called Donna Clay, now a customer service supervisor in Hazelwood, on her personal cell phone to tell her he was going to take another employee, Mavin Parker, “down.”

Mr. Davis warned Ms. Clay that when that happened, Ms. Parker would tell authorities about him opening packages and that someone from the inspector’s office might talk to her, “and that she better not say anything about him opening packages,” according to the affidavit.

Three months later, the inspector general’s investigation began.

Mr. Davis told Mr. Francis to lie about him opening packages, the affidavit said.

And he warned Dwayne Mayo, a transportation supervisor, that he was “ruthless” and not to cross him, the affidavit said.

At some point, Mr. Davis was interviewed by a postal inspector who asked how the package containing marijuana, heroin and cocaine had been opened. Mr. Francis had told investigators that Mr. Davis opened it. But Mr. Davis said “the self-seal adhesive had opened in transit,” according to the affidavit.

Based on that information, the inspector drafted an affidavit of probable cause for a federal search and seizure warrant. It is unclear what evidence, if any, that warrant produced or even whether it was executed.


(smh.com) – Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake hits Chile


A powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake has struck off the central coast of Chile, causing buildings to sway in the capital Santiago and triggering a tsunami warning.

Tsunami alarms sounded in the port of Valparaiso and authorities issued a tsunami alert for Chile’s entire coast.

Hazardous tsunami waves from the quake were possible along the coasts of Chile and also Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific Ocean at 7.54pm, local time,and was centred about 228 kilometres north north-west of Santiago.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, however this was later upgraded to 8.3.

It said the quake was five kilometres below the surface.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11pm.

Australian rapper Urthboy is in Chile and tweeted that he felt the earthquake strike.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/tsunami-warning-after-powerful-earthquake-hits-chile-20150916-gjojfd.html#ixzz3lws5cZiC
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Source: Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake hits Chile


Hazardous tsunami waves were possible along the coasts of Chile and also Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said, while a tsunami watch was also issued for Hawaii.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific Ocean at 7.54pm, local time, and was centred about 228 kilometres north north-west of Santiago.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, however this was later upgraded to 8.3.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake struck 10 kilometres below the surface.

“Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the centre said.

Officials ordered people to evacuate low-lying areas along Chile’s Pacific shore, from Puerto Aysen in the south to Arica in the north. Cars streamed inland carrying people to higher ground.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11pm.

If tsunami waves impact Hawaii, the estimated earliest arrival time would be 3.06am, local time.

Witnesses said the powerful quake was felt as far away as the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on the eastern seaboard of South America.

Interior Minister Jorge Burgos told reporters there were reports of damages to homes in Illapel, about 280 kilometres north of Santiago. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

Chile’s state copper miner Codelco said workers at its Ventanas division have been evacuated.

Newsweek published pictures showing people gathering at a tsunami-safe zone.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/tsunami-warning-after-powerful-earthquake-hits-chile-20150916-gjojfd.html#ixzz3lx6T2LyH
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

David Cameron’s limp action on refugees puts Britain outside the EU

David Cameron’s limited promise of only 4,000 places a year for Syrian refugees provides a glimpse of the impotence of Britain’s future role in world affairs outside the EU.

His Commons promise to take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years is at the bottom end of expectations. It stands in sharp contrast to the French pledge of 24,000 places over the next two years. As the Labour MP and father of the house, Gerald Kaufman, angrily pointed out: “The Germans took in 10,000 refugees in one day.”

Cameron has deliberately spurned taking part in a much bigger EU scheme to resettle those in the camps in countries neighbouring Syria. He has also rejected playing any part in the expected EU request this week to relocate the estimated 160,000 refugees who have made it across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece or through the Balkans to Hungary.

With more than 4 million Syrians already living in UN camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey it is hard to see how Britain’s own-brand resettlement scheme can make any significant difference to the situation.

It will undoubtedly make a world of difference to the few thousand who are lucky enough to be named each year by a British official as among the most deserving of sanctuary in the UK. But all the signs are that Cameron is set to repeat the same mistakes made when the UK’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme, as it is officially known, was set up in January last year.

Source: David Cameron’s limp action on refugees puts Britain outside the EU

(times of india) – Charlie Hebdo criticized for dead Syrian toddler’s cartoon

PARIS: French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been criticized for publishing a cartoon depicting the death of three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi as its own controversial take on the refugee and migration crisis, the media reported on Tuesday.

The cartoon attributed to the publication and circulating on social media features Aylan lying face down on a beach with the words “So close to his goal…” written above him, The Huffington Post reported.

In the background a McDonald’s-style Happy Meal Board states, “Two children’s menus for the price of one.”

Aylan drowned along with his brother and mother on September 2 when the boat they were travelling from the Greek island of Kos to the Turkish town of Bodrum capsized.

READ ALSO: How a small Syrian child came to be washed up on a beach in Turkey

Aylan Kurdi’s last words were ‘Daddy, please don’t die’ as father battled to save him
The family fled after Islamic State militants advanced upon their home town of Kobane.

Another cartoon said to be from the same edition of the magazine is entitled The Proof that Europe is Christian and features a man believed to be Jesus standing on the surface of the ocean while a child’s legs’s (presumably meant to be Aylan’s) protrude from the water.

It says: “Christians walk on water… Muslim kids sink.”

The cartoons have been met with a mixed response.

Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah claimed the images mock the drowned toddler.

Morocco World News concurred, accusing the publication of “hiding behind the freedom of speech.”

READ ALSO: Photographer of drowned Syrian toddler was ‘petrified’

“Charlie Hebdo is a purely racist, xenophobic and ideologically bankrupt publication that represents the moral decay of France,” Barrister Peter Herbert, who is Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers and former vice chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, tweeted.

“The Society of Black Lawyers will consider reporting this as incitement to hate crime and persecution before the International Criminal Court.”

Complaints are being left on the magazine’s Facebook page and Twitter users have criticised the images, describing them as “tasteless” and “disgusting.”

But some commenters have said the cartoons are not mocking the dead child and are instead using the tragedy to ridicule Europe for not doing enough to prevent it.

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(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) – Pennsylvania sees rise in homeless students

And while that one-year increase seems dramatic, even more troubling is the 94 percent increase in homeless students in the state since the start of the economic recession in the 2007-08 school year.

Translated into numbers, there were 11,756 homeless students identified in Pennsylvania in 2007-08, an amount that nearly doubled, to 22,765, by 2013-14.

Nationally, nearly 1.4 million homeless children attended the nation’s public schools in 2013-14, up from 795,054 in 2007-08.

Those numbers were the focus of a report released Monday by First Focus Campaign for Children, whose organizers are pushing for federal legislation that would broaden the number of homeless families who qualify for federal services.

(Click image for larger version)

Local experts say two factors contribute to the increase in the number of homeless students reported by the state: A more focused and specific accounting of homeless students enacted by the state Department of Education four years ago and an economy that has made it difficult for families to climb out of homelessness since the economic crisis of 2008.

“You have school districts that are doing a much better job at identifying students. But we also have families who become homeless over and over again and are taking a really long time to get out,” said Nicole Anderson, coordinator for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s homeless education initiative, which covers a nine-county region.

The region encompasses Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

In the 2012-13 school year, 2,264 children, ages birth through 12th grade, were identified as homeless in Allegheny County. That total rose to 2,958 in the 2013-14 school year.

Of the 694-child increase, 550 were children ages birth to 5 years old, AIU records show. That rise may be attributed to increased outreach in early childhood and housing programs, Ms. Anderson said.

The U.S. Department of Education numbers do not include young children who are not enrolled in public school.

Currently, fewer than 20 percent of students identified as homeless by schools qualify for services provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Ed Walz, vice president of First Focus.

The federal McKinney-Vento Act, which oversees education and related services for homeless children, considers homeless any children who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

That definition includes those living in homeless shelters, doubled up with others, in hotels, motels, trailer parks or campgrounds, in public spaces, cars or abandoned buildings or those awaiting foster care placement.

However, HUD’s definition of homelessness differs from that of the McKinney-Vento Act, said Bill Wolfe, executive director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund in Pittsburgh.

“Families who are living in doubled-up situations, and that’s the majority of homeless families, are not considered homeless under HUD’s definition. So they have trouble getting the housing services.”

Mr. Walz’s group supports the proposed Homeless Children and Youth Act, which would amend the HUD definition of homelessness to include all children identified as homeless by public schools. The U.S. Senate version of the bill was introduced in January, the House bill in April. Both sit in committees.

There is some good news, of sorts, about the higher numbers reported in Pennsylvania. Because the funding formula for homeless services is based on the number of students identified, more funding has become available.

“There hasn’t been a huge funding increase at the federal level, so we are not seeing great increases. But the money we do get allows us to do more direct support for families,” Ms. Anderson said.

“So we have purchased hundreds of uniforms and backpacks and school supplies and, for high school kids, those very expensive graphing calculators.”

Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1590 or on Twitter @MaryNied.

Source: Pennsylvania sees rise in homeless students | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Flash floods kill 12 people in Utah – BBC News

Hildale is home to many members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Flash floods in the US state of Utah have killed at least 12 people with one person still missing.

The dead include women and children whose vehicles were swept away by a rush of water near the town of Hildale.

Three people were rescued. The floods followed heavy rains in the canyons just north of the town.

Hildale once served as a home base for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, and there are concerns flood warnings may not reach members of the sect.

Three more bodies were found on Tuesday, bringing the death toll up from nine to 12.

The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning earlier, leading nearby Zion National Park to close canyons as a precaution.

But members of Jeffs’ sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), are discouraged from having contact with the outside world and may have not received the warnings.

The FLDS broke off from the official Mormon church when the main church denounced polygamy in the late 19th century .

In 2011, Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting underage girls whom he considered brides.

He is believed to have up to 70 wives,according to ABC News, which interviewed former members of FLDS in May.

However, the community is split between loyalists who still believe Jeffs is a victim of religious persecution and defectors who are embracing government efforts to pull the town into modern society.

Map showing the town of Hildale, about 315 miles (507 km) south of Salt Lake City

Source: Flash floods kill 12 people in Utah – BBC News

(TIME) – Refugees Crowd at the Gates of Fortress Europe 

Hundreds of refugees pushed up against the gates of Fortress Europe on Tuesday, chanting “open, open, open.” Hungarian police officers stood ready as the crowd in the no-man’s-land between Hungary and Serbia became increasingly angry.

On Tuesday morning, the area was a major highway and the main border crossing between Hungary and Serbia, now it is completely shut and an officer said it’s the “property of the border police” and journalists are not permitted.

A little further down, refugees staged a sit-in demanding to be allowed to cross the border.

Thousands of people wait on the Serbian side, desperate to enter the European Union after making the costly, dangerous and difficult trek from their homes to Turkey and up from southern Europe to reach this point.

They will not be willing to simply turn back and Serbia says it cannot deal will the influx.

“The Hungarians never told us that they will close the border,” Serbian Social Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin told the Associated Press as he toured the border area today. Serbia is insisting the border, and entry to the European Union, stay open.

Hungary has said it will process asylum claims for those who present themselves at official checkpoints but so far none have been accepted, according to Zoltan Kovacs, a spokesman for Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban has been clear that he believes most of these people are migrants, not refugees and has openly said he expects few claimants to be allowed through.

Along the road from the border crossing, clothes, blankets and backpacks lay discarded in the tall grass and ditches. For months this has been a thoroughfare for refugees who made it across the border from Serbia undetected by Hungarian police. Most headed directly for western Europe.

That will now be nearly impossible as Hungary sealed its border with a 110-mile long chain-link fence lined with layers razor wire. Today it declared a state of emergency in the country’s southern counties, moving more troops and introducing tough new laws to stop refugees crossing through its territory. Today alone it arrested at least 174 people who will now be prosecuted.

Kovacs says Hungary is “regaining control over the natural borders” of the country. While both the army and the police were deployed to the border, he says, there is no intention to use force.

“The most important thing is that people get access to the asylum process,” said Babar Baloch as spokesperson for the UN refugee agency. He says an estimated 80 percent of those crossing are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, countries embroiled in severe conflict.

“What we want is Europe to act in an unified way,” says Baloch.

But so far that’s not happening and EU leaders are disagreeing about how to deal with the crisis. Germany has mostly opened its doors and insisted on a quota system that would see every country in the Union take its fair share of refugees. Hungary has rejected that and locked down its borders.

While EU leaders debate what to do with the 180,000 refugees estimated to have crossed through Hungary this year, thousands more are on their way.

Every day, boats full of desperate people arrive on the shores of Greece and Italy and on Tuesday at least 22 people died off the coast of Turkey. Almost all have their sights set on western Europe.

They are unlikely to turn back, and already there is talk of other routes through Croatia and Romania—but Hungary is planning a new fence for its border with Romania, determined to lock down the country.

Source: Refugees Crowd at the Gates of Fortress Europe | TIME

(washington post) – Can we please stop blaming the media for Donald Trump?

One of the most persistent — and persistently wrong — storylines surrounding the 2016 presidential race is that somehow the media has installed Donald Trump as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

The theory goes like this: Donald Trump is good for ratings/clicks/whatever metric for success you want to cite. The media, knowing this, over-covers Trump at the expense of every other candidate in the field. Trump rises in the polls as a result of that flood of coverage.

This tweet — sent to me this afternoon — captures the sentiment perfectly.


Source: Can we please stop blaming the media for Donald Trump?

(Judicial Watch) – Judicial Watch: New State Department Documents Reveal Hillary Clinton Email Gap

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released newly obtained Department of State documents showing a nearly five-month total gap in the emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to return to the State Department late last year.  The documents also show that one key State Department official did not want a written record of issues about the Clinton emails.  The documents also raise new questions about the accuracy of representations made to Judicial Watch, the courts, Congress, and the public by the Obama administration and Clinton.

The documents were produced under court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Judicial Watch filed on May 6, 2015 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)).   The lawsuit was filed after the Obama State Department violated federal law and failed to respond to two separate FOIA requests, including a request for records about the actual production of the emails records by Clinton to the State Department. The first batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch contains a heavily redacted email from State Department official Eric F. Stein to Margaret P. Grafeld, dated April 21, 2015, with the subject “HRC Emails.”  Stein is deputy director of global information systems at the State Department and Grafeld is deputy assistant secretary of global information systems. Stein reports to Grafeld that the “gaps” in Clinton’s emails include:

  • Jan. 21 – March 17, 2009 (Received Messages)
  • Jan. 21 – April 12, 2009 (Sent Messages)
  • Dec. 30, 2012 – Feb. 1, 2013 (Sent Messages)

In addition, Stein notes Clinton’s employment timeline as follows:

  • Secretary Hillary Clinton
  • Appointed:  January 21, 2009
  • Entry on Duty: January 21, 2009
  • Termination of Appointment: February 1, 2013

The email also contains a chart detailing the first and last emails both sent and received to Clinton’s email address, as documented in the records turned over by Clinton’s lawyers.  This chart, information from which is chopped off, reveals a non-state.gov email address Cheryl Mills evidently used to conduct government business.  The email address, “cherylmills@gmail.com,” received the last email the State Department currently has from the Clinton’s non-state.gov account.

The chart shows a significant email gap lasting 40 days before Miguel Rodriguez, with the email address “Miguel_Rodriguez @clinton.senate.gov,” sends Clinton’s account an email on March 18, 2009.  Rodriguez worked in the Clinton State Department and is now a private attorney representing Clinton aide and confidante Huma Abedin in Clinton email-related litigation.  This “email gap” information was forwarded to other top officials in the State Department, including Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy.

These emails raise questions about whether Clinton told the truth last month when she declared, under penalty of perjury, “I have directed that all of my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State….”  Clinton made this statement in response to a court order Judicial Watch obtained in separate FOIA litigation.

Another new State Department email shows that one of the agency’s top officials for records management and public disclosure did not want to create a written record about issues.  State Department FOIA official Peggy Grafeld, in an October 20, 2014, email wrote to her colleagues, “Fyi. I’d prefer to discuss, rather than email. Thx.”  The State Department redacted details about what caused Grafeld’s desire for secrecy.

The State Department almost completely redacted several September 25, 2014, “high” importance emails about Clinton’s emails, including information about “earlier conversations and fact finding.”

A February 9, 2015, document, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Email Appraisal Report,” describes the emails that Clinton returned in December 2014 “as approximately 60,000 to 70,000 pages of email correspondence printed to paper and stored in twelve bankers boxes.”  The “records document major foreign policy issues as well as the administration and operation of the Department and inter-agency activities.  They reflect the highest level of decision-making and activity in the Department and contain significant documentation.”

The “Appraisal Report” shows the State Department had concerns that Clinton’s government email correspondence would not be found:

This record series is the only comprehensive set of Secretary Clinton’s email correspondence.  Some of Secretary Clinton’s email correspondence may be available elsewhere in the Department either as duplicate copies or scattered among record-keeping systems and other government officials’ email accounts.  However, of the sample examined, many of the emails were from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account to official Department email accounts of her staff.  Emails originating from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account would only be captured by Department systems when they came to an official Department email account, i.e., they would be captured only in the email accounts of the recipients.  Secretary Clinton’s staff no longer work at the Department, and the status of the email accounts of Secretary Clinton’s staff (and other Department recipients) is unknown at this time.

The report confirms Clinton’s alleged personal emails from her non-state.gov account are government records:

This collection contains instances of personal communications.  Nevertheless, the fraction of personal communications is small and does not affect the overriding archival value of this collection. This records series meets all of the relevant considerations for archival retention under NARA Directive J 441.

The report next confirms that all of Clinton’s emails are “Federal records.”  A section entitled “Record status” states:

This records series meets the statutory definition for Federal records. Recorded information has record status if 1) ”made or received by a Federal agency under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business” and 2) “preserved or appropriate for preservation.” The sent and received email messages of the Secretary of State used for review, comment, information, or other reason fall under the first part of that definition. As the person holding the highest level job in the Department, any email message maintained by or for the immediate use of the Secretary of State is “appropriate for preservation.” This record series cannot be considered personal papers based on the definition of a record in 44 U.S.C. 3301 or Department policy found in 5 FAM 443.

The report suggests that all of the emails that Clinton returned, including personal emails, are subject to review and retention retained by the National Archives (NARA).  A section titled a “Note On Personal Papers” states:

This record series contains instances of personal communications that relate solely to Secretary Clinton’s personal and private affairs. The Agency Records Officer conducted a page-by-page review of approximately 1,250 pages of received messages for the period March 15, 2010 through April 30, 2010 to determine the prevalence of personal communications in a random sample of material. The Agency Records Officer identified 30 messages (approximately 30-40 pages) in the sample set as solely personal in nature. These messages were interspersed with significant documentation relating to Haiti, Mexico, Israel, Afghanistan, Russia, and South Africa. Since NARA possesses the legal authority to make the final determination of record status under the Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, all final decisions must be made by NARA at the time of archival accessioning.  [Emphasis in original] 

The report also confirms that all of Clinton’s emails are subject to “line by line review” for release under FOIA.

State Department rules “specify that personal records of a departing Presidential Appointee may not be removed from the government until the State Department ‘records officer…’ approves of the removal, a process which ‘generally requires a hands-on examination of the materials,’” as Judicial Watch notedin litigation seeking preservation, recovery, and search of deemed-personal emails that Clinton has not turned over to the State Department, FBI, or Justice Department.

The “Appraisal Report” is at odds with claims by Clinton and the Obama administration that Clinton can delete over 30,000 personal emails from non-state.gov email accounts she used for government business. In fact, the “Appraisal Report” suggests that all of Clinton’s personal emails are Federal records subject to “line by line” review for possible disclosure in response to FOIA and other document requests. Finally, the documents reveal the State Department raised concerns about classified information in Clinton’s possession back in March.  A March 23, 2015, letter to Clinton attorney David Kendall states, in part:

We understand that Secretary Clinton would like to continue to retain copies of the documents to assist her in responding to congressional and related inquiries regarding the documents and her tenure as head of the Department.  The Department has consulted with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and believes that permitting Secretary Clinton continued access to the documents is in the public interest as it will help promote informed discussion…In the event that State Department reviewers determine that any document or documents is/are classified, additional steps will be required to safeguard and protect the information.  Please note that if Secretary Clinton wishes to release any document or portion thereof, the Department must approve such release and first review the document for information that may be protected from disclosure for privilege, privacy or other reasons.

“Judicial Watch’s discovery of the Clinton email ‘gap’ may take a place in history next to the discovery of the Nixon tapes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have taken their cover-up of the email scandal too far.  I suspect that federal courts will want more information, under oath, about the issues raised in these incredible documents.”

Judicial Watch has 20 federal lawsuits against the State Department in which the Clinton email issue is implicated.  Judicial Watch seeks discovery and additional requests for court relief are planned.

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