Outrageous and beyond disgraceful. Today’s recommendation by FBI Director James B. Comey regarding the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a unsecured, private email server for communicating highly security-sensitive government business is truly flabbergasting. The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server found the following (bolding/underlining mine):
Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.
…we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.
Then, there’s this:
The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014…
With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State…
It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.
OK, so let’s summarize:
- Hillary Clinton and her State Dept. were extremely careless in handling very sensitive, highly classified information.
- Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position (or those working with her) should have known that using an unclassified system was totally inappropriate for the kind of information being transmitted.
- Hillary Clinton’s associates were hacked and though no direct evidence was found to show she herself was hacked, it is unlikely they would have found such evidence if she was hacked, and the FBI has good reasons to think she was possibly hacked.
- Thousands of emails that Clinton did not own (as a government employee they belonged to the government and were required to be preserved) were not preserved and not turned over but instead deleted.
OK, so all the above would lead you to believe an indictment is the next step, right? Not so fast:
Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case (??). Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.
In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.
What? So again, Hillary Clinton was not only extremely careless in handling highly sensitive classified information, so that any reasonable person in her position should have known better than to act as she did, but there are good reasons to suspect she was hacked by hostile agents, since her use of private email server was well-known, she used her unsecured system extensively while traveling outside the US including in hostile territories. and others with whom she was communicating were definitely hacked. And she did not preserve/turn over all the government emails as she was supposed to do, but actually deleted thousands of them on her own initiative!
Bottom line: Hillary Clinton through her use of a private server and failure to preserve government emails definitely acted wrongly. She did something no reasonable person should do; and her actions exposed American secrets to our enemies. Even if she wasn’t hacked (which we don’t know for sure since hacking would likely not leave evidence behind), her actions were amazingly reckless and show a complete lack of judgment for someone in her position!
Why then is she not being indicted? Why is there one standard of justice for Hillary Clinton, and another for all us ordinary citizens who in her position would indeed be facing “consequences”! Apparently the FBI Director’s reasoning goes like this, “Yes, Hillary did not follow protocol, acted unreasonably, and was extremely careless with emails containing vital national security interests, and by her actions possibly put these secrets into enemy hands, but she didn’t mean it, so we can’t indict!”
Something stinks real bad here. This is an outrage! America should not stand by and let this happen. I pray she will not. Not only is Hillary Clinton disqualified by these actions from being the next President of the United States, she should most definitely face the consequences of her actions.