As you might have seen covered in a lengthy feature last night on Rachel Maddow’s show, yesterday, People For the American Way filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to force the agencies to disclose the instructions that the FBI gave to Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he was applying for a security clearance.
Jeff Sessions’s claims of no contact with Russian officials in both his sworn Senate testimony and on a security clearance form have already been shown to be false.
Sessions subsequently said that he was instructed by those advising him on filling out the security clearance forms -- a group that included FBI investigators -- to omit that information. If he is lying, the American people have a right to know. If he is telling the truth, documents affirming those instructions should be easy to produce by the FBI.
The FBI has acknowledged that PFAW’s original Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for this information is of urgent public importance, yet has failed to produce the required documents in the time required by law.
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On June 1, PFAW’s Right Wing Watch filed a FOIA request with the FBI seeking information about instructions the FBI gave to Sessions “concerning what contacts with foreign individuals to list on or to omit from his SF-86 or other security clearance form.”
Right Wing Watch’s request for expedited processing was initially denied, but was granted upon appeal on July 25. FOIA requires agencies to produce documents within 20 days of granting expedited processing to a request; that time period has now passed.
At a time when the president and his allies are under investigation for possible improper contacts with representatives of Russia’s government, it is imperative for the American people to know whether the attorney general is speaking accurately about omissions in his security clearance form.
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