From the government agency that brought zero Wall Street prosecutions for the 2008 crash despite smoking gun evidence, comes Cover Up 2: Clinton Boogaloo.
Yesterday, in a press conference where he took no questions, FBI Director James Comey made a forceful case that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had violated the law regarding the handling of classified information, only to bizarrely conclude that the FBI could not make a criminal referral.
The cognitive dissonance inherent in the statement was breathtaking and confused many observers. Comey directly contradicted Hillary Clinton’s public claims regarding the private server and her email practices while serving as secretary of state:
- Clinton claimed, “I did not email any classified material to anyone.” Comey said the FBI found that Clinton’s server had sent or received 110 classified emails, and noted that the information was classified at the time the emails were sent or received.
- Clinton claimed, “I provided all my emails that could possible be work-related.” Comey said the FBI found several thousand emails that were work-related but not disclosed by Clinton. The FBI found some of them on other government servers, such as emails Clinton sent to the Pentagon but did not disclose to the FBI.
- Clinton claimed she used her private email account because “I thought using one device would be simpler.” Comey said the FBI found Clinton had used multiple devices to send her emails.
- Clinton claimed, “There were no security breaches” of her email. Comey said the FBI found it was possible her personal account was hacked and that it was well-known that people she had corresponded with had been hacked. This was likely a reference to Marcel Lazăr Lehel, who uses the handle “Guccifer,” who hacked Sidney Blumenthal’s email account and first revealed Clinton was using a private email account for official business.
- Clinton claimed she followed all the rules, whereas FBI Director Comey claimed that Clinton and her team had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information.
The choice of the phrase extremely careless also raised eyebrows across Washington and beyond. It has no legal ramifications nor obvious reference to a criminal statute. But it seems like another way of saying gross negligence, which absolutely does have a relation to the statute on mishandling classified information in regards to assigning culpability:
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.
In other words, Director Comey went out of his way to describe criminal activity with non-legally binding language so he could condemn Clinton while downplaying his decision not to recommend prosecution. Yes, let’s keep pretending this wasn’t political.
Comey’s statement yesterday disclosed some other suspicious actions by Team Clinton. Comey said that after giving the FBI an incomplete list of work-related emails, Clinton’s lawyers “cleaned the devices” essentially destroying evidence and forcing the FBI to look for the emails elsewhere.
So, to recap: Clinton setup a private server to avoid transparency-violating the Federal Records Act and Freedom of Information Act, was “extremely careless” and mishandled classified information, and her lawyers destroyed evidence that concealed the mishandling. Ready for Hillary?
Director Comey did submit that anyone else who did what Clinton did would likely have their security clearance revoked, but then went on to claim there was no precedent for prosecuting Clinton because Clinton could not be proved to have had “intent.”
Unfortunately for Comey, there is precedent as lower level government officials have been prosecuted for mishandling classified information despite not having intent. One case was Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier who used a cellphone camera to take pictures of a classified sub engine. Saucier was prosecuted and pled guilty to mishandling classified information.
Another, arguably more problematic case for Comey is Naval Reservist Bryan Nishimura. Nishimura was prosecuted—despite not having malicious intent—for “removal and retention of classified materials.” The FBI found that Nishimura had stored classified materials on unauthorized devices and media, i.e. exactly what the FBI found Clinton to have done. Unlike Clinton, the FBI found that Nishimura never distributed, nor intended to distribute, the classified material.
Needless to say, the Justice Department remains a sick joke, claiming to serve the people, when really just enforcing one set of laws for the rich and powerful and one set of laws for everyone else.