The FBI is declining to turn over files related to its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails by arguing a lack of public interest in the matter.
Ty Clevenger, an attorney in New York City, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in March of 2016 asking for a variety of documents from the FBI and the Justice Department, including correspondence exchanged with Congress about the Clinton email investigation.
But in a letter sent this week and obtained by Fox News, the head of the FBI’s Records Management Division told Clevenger that the bureau has “determined you have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject.”
"You must show that the public interest sought is a significant one"
“Therefore, records regarding your subject are withheld pursuant to FOIA exemptions,” David M. Hardy of the FBI’s Records Management Division told Clevenger.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, was investigated by the FBI for using a private email address and server to handle classified information while serving as secretary of state.
In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey famously called Clinton’s email arrangement “extremely careless” though he decided against recommending criminal charges.
Though Clinton lost the election, Clevenger is still attempting to obtain documents related to the investigation. He's seeking to prove she committed perjury, the Washington Times reported.
He specifically asked for all documents resulting from a September 6, 2016 referral to the Justice Department from then-House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican.
At the time, Chaffetz asked the department to “investigate and determine whether Secretary Clinton or her employees and contractors violated statues that prohibit destruction of records, obstruction of congressional inquiries, and concealment or cover up of evidence material to a congressional investigation.”
On Aug. 8, the FBI asked Clevenger to detail why the public would be interested.
“If you seek disclosure of any existing records on this basis, you must demonstrate that the public interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests,” the letter stated. “In this regard, you must show that the public interest sought is a significant one, and that the requested information is likely to advance that interest.”
Clevenger expressed disbelief at the request.
“Frankly, I am stunned I should have to explain why my request pertains to a matter of public interest,” Clevenger wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to the FBI.
He cited how Clinton was the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, a former secretary of state and a former senator.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.