“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.” — Hillary Clinton, March 20, 2015.
“From the group of 30,000 emails returned to the State Department, 110 emails in 52 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.” — FBI Director James Comey July 5, 2016.
So yesterday the FBI director announced to the nation that the former secretary of state and her team were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” and that such carelessness, including while she was outside the United States “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries” made it “possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.”
Comey was, of course, forced by last week’s “chance” meeting between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to begin his statement yesterday by emphasizing that his remarks had not been cleared or reviewed in any way by the Justice Department. But even as the director was announcing his recommendation to Justice not to prosecute Hillary Clinton, President Obama was sharing a ride on Air Force One with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as they headed for the campaign trail.
There is an unseemliness about all of this — the unblemished character of James Comey notwithstanding. Just further evidence that the Clintons manage to tarnish all that they touch.
Now it’s not as if Mrs. Clinton has gotten off scot-free in all this, even if she has avoided prosecution.
“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,” Comey said.
The standard for prosecution is gross negligence — and frankly it’s problematic where “extreme carelessness” ends and gross negligence begins. And we’ll concede that Mrs. Clinton’s intention was not to expose government secrets — including the seven email chains that were classified under the top secret Special Access Program — to foreign adversaries.
She did it because she wanted to, because she has spent a lifetime playing by her own set of rules. And then she lied to the American people about it. That’s not a crime. In fact for the Clintons it seems to be standard procedure.
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