WASHINGTON—U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth upbraided government attorneys in the Hillary Clinton email case, warning them that “there is no FOIA exemption for political expedience, nor is there one for bureaucratic incompetence.”

Lamberth’s comment came in his Aug. 22 decision approving Judicial Watch’s request for expanded discovery in the non-profit’s lawsuit on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system to conduct official business, and efforts by her, senior aides on her staff, and other federal officials to conceal the system.

Judicial Watch released the transcript of Lamberth’s decision Friday. Lamberth was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and he has since presided over numerous important cases involving the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The existence of the non-secured private Clinton email system became known due to Judicial Watch’s Sept. 10, 2014, FOIA lawsuit seeking emails to and from her and her key aides.

When details of the private Clinton email system became known, it turned out that there were more than 55,000 messages to and from her and her aides, and that her attorneys had deleted more than 30,000 they deemed to be about personal matters, not official duties.

Dozens of classified documents were transmitted over the system, which FBI investigators said could have been compromised by foreign interests.

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