FBI plays spoil­sport?

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

Iden­tial T couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Demo­cratic presi

candidate. In the fi­nal lap of one of the most con­se­quen­tial elec­tions of our times, the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) may have played spoil­sport. The agency’s heads up to the US Congress that it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a new cache of emails linked to Hil­lary Clin­ton — to check whether it con­tains any clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion raises pos­si­bil­ity of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing opened against her.

This is both dra­matic and un­prece­dented. With just a week and a half to go be­fore the D-day, the an­nounce­ment might dis­rupt the elec­tions at a very crit­i­cal time. It is pos­si­ble that the out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion amounts to zero - that noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant is found in the emails. But in an era of per­cep­tion and se­man­tics - tim­ing and optics are ev­ery­thing. Al­ready Trump wants Clin­ton drawn and quar­tered. Will the FBI’s bombshell ef­fec­tively dam­age Clin­ton’s chances in an elec­tion in which she has staked ev­ery­thing? Has the FBI been pre­ma­ture in the disclosure and tim­ing of the new in­for­ma­tion? Although James Comey, the FBI Di­rec­tor, in­formed Congress that he didn’t know yet “the sig­nif­i­cance of this newly dis­cov­ered col­lec­tion of emails”, the rev­e­la­tion might al­ter the course of the elec­tion. Amer­ica’s prime fed­eral law en­force­ment agency could well be ac­cused of play­ing pol­i­tics at the ex­pense of the Demo­cratic candidate. Try­ing to sal­vage the sit­u­a­tion be­fore it goes com­pletely out of hand, Clin­ton was quick to come out and de­mand “full and com­plete” facts around the email to be im­me­di­ately shared “with­out fur­ther de­lay”. Ide­ally the FBI should have con­tin­ued with its time-tested his­tory of ex­er­cis­ing ex­treme cau­tion in the run up to elec­tions so as not to in­flu­ence the re­sults. But in a sea­son marked by reck­less­ness, it ap­pears that every­one - in­clud­ing the FBI - has thrown cau­tion to wind. — Khaleej Times

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