With the news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States, we have come to the point in the history of our nation that we can no longer have trust and respect for our legal system. What kind of nation have we become that we no longer apply the “rule of law” but rather bend in the direction of political and media pressure?
The statement made today by FBI Director James B. Comey reads to me like he’s been catechized in the bad Catholic theology of the 60s — Since Hillary did not “intend” to break the law, she is innocent. In fact, all of her use of a private e-mail server, all her falsehoods and contradictions in explaining her use of it, comes under the minor vice of “carelessness.”
From the “Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System” (Washington, D.C., July 05, 2016).
The FBI Director begins:
“The referral focused on whether classified information was transmitted on that personal system . . . . Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”
Notice the two bars that must be reached for criminality to exist, either Hillary mishandled the emails “intentionally” or in a “grossly negligent way.”
Director Comey admits that Hillary used “several different servers” and “numerous mobile devices” to send and receive e-mail. The FBI began with the “approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014,” which did not include the 30,000 emails deleted as “personal” by Hillary and her associates.
If you recall, Hillary repeatedly claimed that none of the e-mails on her personal server were marked as “classified.”
However, the FBI found “110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. And eight of the e-mail chains containing those message contained “information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time. . . .”
These 110 classified e-mails were found with the help recovering many of the deleted e-mails that Hillary did not turn over, deeming them “personal.” Comey explains, “We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain.”
However, and with no explanation, the FBI Director “found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.” Hillary, according to Comey, is just “like many e-mail users . . . [who] periodically delete e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed.”
Excuse me, wasn’t Hillary Secretary of State at the time? Wouldn’t she be required to treat e-mails differently from other persons?
Those disturbed by this turn of events should be comforted knowing that the “lawyers doing the sorting for Secretary Clinton in 2014 did not individually read the content of all of her e-mails, as we did for those available to us; instead, they relied on header information and used search terms to try to find all work-related e-mails among the reportedly more than 60,000 total e-mails remaining on Secretary Clinton’s personal system in 2014.”
And this will also help, “It is highly likely their [Hillary’s lawyers] search terms missed some work-related e-mails, and that we later found them, for example, in the mailboxes of other officials or in the slack space of a server.”
FBI Director Comey adds another layer of comfort, namely that some “deleted all e-mails they [Hillary’s lawyers] did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.”
But Comey gives Hillary and her lawyers the benefit of the doubt: “we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.”
Doesn’t the FBI Director realize that Hillary’s lawyers work for Hillary, and isn’t it their job to see that she is not indicted or convicted?
Here is the conclusion drawn from the FBI investigation:
“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.”
“Extremely careless,” that’s it. Case closed.
The case is closed in spite of the fact that “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.”
Again, the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges to the Department of Justice comes down to that in previous investigations of this kind, “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”
What is lacking? According to the FBI, two things. First, “intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.” Second, “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.”
Not intentional? Then why did Hillary delete 30,000, or one-half, of her e-mails in the first place. And why did she steadfastly deny that any of them were marked classified? To me, this looks like both intentional falsehood and an intentional effort to hide e-mails from legal scrutiny.
But here’s the strangest comment of all: “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.”
So there is “evidence of potential violations of statutes,” but, to paraphrase Director Comey, a reasonable prosecutor would not bring charges based upon the strength of evidence, which to him is evidently weak, and particularly consideration of “intent.”
I doubt if Comey’s paradigm of a “reasonable prosecutor” would be the same as millions of Americans.
At the conclusion of his statement, the FBI Director reminds us that “the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this,” but given the recent meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former president Bill Clinton to discuss their “grandchildren” we can be sure the Justice Department will do nothing.