(CN) - The Associated Press sued the U.S. State Department Wednesday to force the release of emails and others documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's years as secretary of state.
In a complaint filed the Federal Court in Washington, D.C., the AP says that a number of its requests for documents filed under the Freedom of Information Act over the past five years have gone unfulfilled.
The filing of the lawsuit comes just a day after Clinton responded for the first time to the controversy over her use of a private email account while servicing as secretary of state.
In remarks delivered after she appeared at a United Nations conference on women Tuesday, Clinton said she sent and received about 60,000 emails from her personal email address in her four years as secretary state, and that she turned over roughly half of them to the state department when she left, deleting the rest, which were personal in nature.
The AP is seeking copies of Clinton's full schedules and calendars form her four years as secretary of state; documents related to her department's decision to grant a special position to longtime aide Huma Abedin, the wife of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner; correspondence with various high-level staffers; and documents related to the state department's role in the Osama bin Laden raid and its oversight of Defense Department contractor BAE Systems, with whom it reached a 2011 settlement over violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
In its complaint, the AP says it has filed six requests for these documents since 2010. "In the five years since the first FOIA request was submitted, the State Department has failed to respond substantively to five of the requests, and has only partially responded to one request, releasing three documents called for by one subpart of the August 2013 request for records concerning BAE systems," the AP says.
It continues: "In early March 2015, Secretary Clinton confirmed reports that she used a personal email account, rather than a government account, for government business during her tenure at State. Although AP's FOIA requests have been pending for years, State first asked Secretary Clinton to turn over emails from that personal account only last summer. Secretary Clinton reportedly provided about 50,000 pages of printed emails to State late last year, and has said she wants those emails to be released to the public.
"State's failure to ensure that Secretary Clinton's governmental emails were retained and preserved by the agency, and its failure timely to seek out and search those emails in response to AP's requests, indicate at the very least that State has not engaged in the diligent, good-faith search that FOIA requires," the complaint says.
In a statement, Karen Kaiser, AP's general counsel, said "After careful deliberation and exhausting our other option, The Associated Press is taking the necessary legal steps to gain access to these important documents, which will shed light on actions by the State Department and former Secretary Clinton, a presumptive 2016 presidential candidate, during some of the most significant issues of our time."
"The press is a proxy for the people," Kaiser continued. "[The] AP will continue its pursuit of vital information that's in the public interest through this faction and future open records requests."
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
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