FBI Finds Clinton Wrongdoing But Doesn’t Seek Punishment

FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision not  to indict Hillary Clinton should not be reviewed in terms of its effect on the 2016 campaign. Far more important is its effect on the federal system of justice, and its increasing susceptibility to political influence. We have reviewed points raised during his statement, and how they should be interpreted:

Comey acknowledges wrongdoing by Clinton, and the resulting danger to the United States:

“From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 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; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent… 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. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail. ” None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

The Director acknowledges a cover-up by Clinton:

“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.”

Comey acknowledges that laws were broken:

“…there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information…”

And finally, the Director acknowledges that another person would receive punishment:

“To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”

Summarizing the above, the FBI:

  • Admits that Clinton handled top secret information with reckless disregard for the safety of the nation;
  • Admits that the former Secretary of State attempted to cover-up her misdeed;
  • Admits that laws were probably broken;
  • And acknowledges that someone else doing precisely what Clinton did would face punishment.

The decision was handed down just days after an inappropriate meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton, which the FBI sought to hide by banning journalists and photographers from covering the matter. The FBI is part of the Department of Justice, and Director Comey reports to Lynch.

Imagine this scenario:

A District Attorney has a friendly meeting with the spouse of a suspect under investigation. A few days later, despite admitting that harm was done to the public, laws were broken, and a cover-up of evidence took place, an announcement is made that no charges would be pressed, even though punishment was appropriate. Local cops prevented news reporters from trying to cover the meeting.

It’s obvious the public would be outraged, the District Attorney would be removed, and an indictment of the suspect would proceed.

The Clinton-Lynch case, however, is protected by partisanship, the heavy hand of the White House, and a media which is heavily biased in favor of Clinton’s candidacy. It may escape the full fury from the Republican Party, whose leaders are so distracted by the civil war between Trump’s supporters and detractors that they can’t effectively do what an opposition party is supposed to do. However, Republican leaders in Congress are planning to demand that Comey testify regarding his decision.

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