Clin­ton dodges charges, but not voter scru­tiny

Record Observer - - Opinion -

The fact that the FBI de­cided not to pur­sue for­mal charges against for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton for her use of pri­vate email servers to con­duct clas­si­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tion likely comes as a sur­prise to no one.

FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey made the an­nounce­ment Tues­day morn­ing, end­ing a year­long bu­reau in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Comey said the FBI found that Clin­ton ac­tu­ally used more than one server and nu­mer­ous mo­bile de­vices dur­ing her four years in the State Depart­ment. And each of those, while de­com­mis­sioned, still con­tained troves of po­ten­tially sen­si­tive data ac­ces­si­ble to those with the right skills.

The FBI spent thou­sands of hours piec­ing to­gether each of the elec­tronic de­vices, search­ing email re­cip­i­ents from other ar­eas of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and re­view­ing the 30,000 emails that Clin­ton’s le­gal team re­turned to the State Depart­ment in 2014.

In to­tal, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that 113 emails in 55 email chains have been de­ter­mined 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; 37 chains con­tained se­cret in­for­ma­tion at the time; and 10 con­tained con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion, which is the low­est level of clas­si­fi­ca­tion. Separate from those, about 2,000 ad­di­tional emails have been “up-clas­si­fied” to make them con­fi­den­tial today, although not clas­si­fied when they were sent.

Comey said the FBI’s 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.

“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,” he said. “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.”

De­spite that blis­ter­ing re­view, Comey said no charges were war­ranted.

“No charges are ap­pro­pri­ate in this case,” Comey said in mak­ing his an­nounce­ment. “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.”

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post poll, re­leased two weeks ago, 56 per­cent of re­spon­dents dis­ap­proved of the way Clin­ton has han­dled ques­tions over her use of the pri­vate server.

While Clin­ton may have avoided crim­i­nal charges, the charges against her de­ci­sion-mak­ing may weigh heav­ier on her fu­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.