Yes, Jim, the Politics of Intimidation Really Does Work … Despite What You Say
FBI Director James Comey announced today that the FBI will not recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton, or her colleagues, over the private use of an email system while Secretary of State. However, in his remarks, he stated that Mrs. Clinton had been “extremely careless in handling very sensitive, highly classified information” of the US government. To be more specific the law in question reads,
“18 U.S. Code § 793(f) – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
Comey is basing his remarks and the recommendation upon the basis that there was no criminal “intent,” however, that’s not the way the law reads. The law, as constructed and written, was to prevent security breaches of sensitive information that could potentially harm the United States and its citizens. In this regard, Hillary Clinton scores 10 out of 10 referenced by Comey’s comments below.
Director Comey, the “straight arrow” as referred to by his colleagues and friends, provided a litany of evidence of Clinton’s wrongdoing (full version here):
” …..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. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time.”
“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. [remember, that Hillary is not an ordinary person and only her reasons matter]
” …. all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff”
“Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.
“With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, 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.”
However, after this list of violations of the Section 793(f), Director Comey stated:
“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.“
And as for Comey’s comment about “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” I find that very puzzling.
- Did Hillary Clinton set up private email accounts on an unsecured served outside of the US government’s protocol?
- Did Hillary Clinton send and/or receive classified materials on her unsecured mobile devices/servers?
- Is there evidence that she and others on her staff were grossly negligent in their handling of classified information?
- Is there a strong potential that Hillary Clinton’s emails were being read by foreign governments by her emails being sent to advisers/colleagues whose own accounts were known to be hacked?
If the answers to the above are yes, which they are, then why wouldn’t a reasonable prosecutor be found. Probably because Comey knows from history, what the Clinton machine is capable of doing and the irreparable damage that they do to people who attempt to thwart them. Director Comey joins Chief Justice John Roberts in the “political intimidation does work” hall of fame. But, at least he’s safe, and he still has a job. And that’s probably the best outcome he could hope for in this sordid mess.