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Comey’s Statement on Clinton

FBI Director Comey announced [1] the findings of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server earlier today. While he won’t be recommending criminal charges against Clinton, he did say this:

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.

It has been said many times already, but it bears repeating that almost anyone else in or around the government that mishandled classified information in this way would not be let off the hook so easily. There are clearly two standards of conduct for high-ranking officials and everyone else, and because Clinton is one of the former she is able to get away with behavior that would be career-ending for almost anyone else.

The picture Comey paints is one of an irresponsible Secretary of State:

She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.

Clinton won’t be indicted for breaking any laws, but Comey’s statement is nonetheless an indictment of her poor judgment, negligence, and recklessness. This should be very damaging for Clinton, and maybe it still could be, but it can hardly come as a surprise to anyone that remembers how the Clintons have operated over the years. The sloppiness, sense of entitlement, and disregard for consequences are all only too familiar. We can expect several more years of this sort of behavior from a future Clinton administration.

33 Comments (Open | Close)

33 Comments To "Comey’s Statement on Clinton"

#1 Comment By Rossbach On July 5, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

It would be hard to construe a popular vote for this brand of “leadership” as anything less than suicidal.

#2 Comment By we knew this already On July 5, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

So much for Clinton casting herself as the sane, steady hand who can be trusted with the nuclear codes.

“Reckless”. “Careless”. Thus the Director of Obama’s FBI.

Comey puts into words what most people already either knew or suspected about Clinton. A loose cannon who does as she pleases, who tossed national security to the winds when she found its requirements personally incovenient. Contemptuous of the rules that the rest of us must live by.

#3 Comment By Philip Giraldi On July 5, 2016 @ 12:53 pm

When I read about Hillary being able to walk my worst fears about corruption in government had been confirmed in spades. But then I read the entire statement by Comey and thought about it. He is saying that Clinton was extremely careless and quite possibly had compromised classified information as a result. He also made the point that while all that is true and to her discredit it would be difficult to make the actual case in court that she and her aides intended to break the law. So the difference between being actionable in court and not came down to intent. Comey nevertheless did some serious damage to Hillary and as you point out those who fear four to eight more years of the time honored Clinton sleaze are in for a real treat.

I am telling all my friends that fleeing to Canada is passe and that the places to go to these days are Albania and Macedonia. Cheap, nearly everyone speaks English more or less and the food and wine are okay.

#4 Comment By Jim Jatras On July 5, 2016 @ 1:05 pm

If anyone doubted that we live in a banana republic, wake up. One law for me and thee, another for Hillary and the banksters who fund her. She gets a pass, just like they did in 2008.

As I former government official who handled tons of classified information, I can say that if I’d done one-tenth of what she did I’d be wearing something like her orange jumpsuit in a federal prison somewhere. [2]

As for Comey, by all repute the straightest of straight arrows: Reminds me of Roberts on Obamacare. “Gosh, I know what the law is, but following it would be too . . . disruptive. Let’s find a more ‘Solomonic, split the baby’ solution.” Lawyers . . .

#5 Comment By Richard Waze On July 5, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

Comey is right. If someone breaks workplace rules – it should be up to their boss to decide whether the offsense justifies getting them fired or not. For a politician, the boss are the voters. So Comey spells out what she did, and not it’s up to voters to take it into account and decide.

#6 Comment By Clint On July 5, 2016 @ 1:32 pm

I’m not aware that the statutes state that a lack of intent let’s one off the legal hook or that negligence isn’t prosecutable.

The repercussions of this travesty may shake up The Washington Establishment and their entrenched bureaucratic apparatus.

#7 Comment By jk On July 5, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

Banana state indeed.

I think passive and reluctant acceptance from Republicans is helped.

King David Petraeus got a pass, why can’t she?

Funny how Trump can be simultaneously Hitler reincarnated manipulating the whole Republican establishment and vast swaths of American yet is also considered a retard.

Libya, Ukraine, calls to escalate war with Russia in Syria and overthrow Assad? Who’s the reckless one?

#8 Comment By William Springer On July 5, 2016 @ 1:42 pm

It is ironic the seeming benefits that fall onto the Clintons. They do find ways of twisting out of impossible situations with great regularity. The irony, of course, is that this slippery nature results in (and is somewhat required because of) the massive demonization of the Clintons by the far right. They are so heavily scoured and every action attacked and reviewed (and subject to multiple Congressional committees or other acts) that when the Clinton’s actually do something wrong, it can just become part of the never-ending group of outlandish or politically unrelated attacks started by radical right groups.

If the Clintons were treated as a normal political opponent (as was more the norm prior to the 1990s), I believe it is much more likely that the Clintons would be ostracized by now. But the never-ending partisan attacks, a great majority of which were either baseless or actually based on falsehoods, truly provide a protective coating for the Clintons whenever actual damning evidence was discovered. As it is, the Clintons end up undertaking actions that deserve some type of disfavor or disapprobation, but any such response gets drowned out by the continuous clamoring for undeserved punishment in other situations. I believe the FBI director in that this was not something that deserves a legal claim, but as Mr. Larison points out, it should be something that critically injures Ms. Clinton’s credibility to be president.

Of course, the other great stroke of luck for Clinton is her opponent. The Clintons always have trouble with the truth, but they look like Honest Abe Lincoln relative to Donald Trump, who is setting records for most falsehoods (and amazing inconsistencies, often in the same speech) on Politifact and other fact checking websites.

The uncertainty and divisiveness of Trump might have been the only type of opponent she could have beaten, especially after this FBI case; as one Republican supporting Clinton expressed, we can live with questioning whether Clinton is requiring to much regulatory capital on banks, but the acts desired by Trump (including instituting discriminatory rules based on ethnicity and religion, destroying free trade and encouraging further militarization of countries in Asia and Europe) are steps from which we may not recover. For all her flaws, Clinton’s policies (particularly foreign policy) are not really that far from the neocons who demonize her and truly provide nowhere near the threat to America that Trump does.

If you told me Hillary’s positions, particularly as they have been pushed left by Sanders, I would have stated that there was no way I could support her. But when Trump’s divisive, destructive and often baseless platform is the other choice, Hillary is the easiest voting choice I have ever made.

#9 Comment By Uncle Billy On July 5, 2016 @ 1:44 pm

So the Democrats are going to nominate this “careless” person for President? She has experience, but as Senator and Secretary of State made a lot of mistakes. Thus we should now put her in the White House…..

#10 Comment By Steve Gibson On July 5, 2016 @ 1:49 pm

This investigation shows a careless and undisciplined side of Hillary. If the Republicans had not nominated someone who shows no visible ability to keep careful or disciplined, this might be a significant problem for Hillary. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be, because the alternative is not better and likely will be worse in this regard.

#11 Comment By Clint On July 5, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

Under Section 793(f)of Title 18 of The Federal Penal Code, Hillary Clinton:
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Comey has corrupted FBI legal oversight of Hillary Clinton’s “Gross Negligence”.

#12 Comment By Captain P On July 5, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

William Springer,

Candidate #1 created a private email service that recklessly breached national security secrets for her entire tenure as a cabinet member, all in violation of her own department rules, and has never given a good reason for doing so.

Choice #2 constantly exaggerates in speeches and is considered offensive.

Yes, this really IS an easy choice.

#13 Comment By Ken Hamilton On July 5, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

For good governance and competence the clear choice is Gary Johnson-Bill Weld.

#14 Comment By Ebenezer_Arvigenius On July 5, 2016 @ 3:43 pm

Under Section 793(f)of Title 18 of The Federal Penal Code, Hillary Clinton:
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Comey has corrupted FBI legal oversight of Hillary Clinton’s “Gross Negligence”.

Section 793(f)of Title 18: Whoever … 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 …

With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked.

No corruption there. There is just no evidence of the statute having been violated. “We consider it likely” is just not sufficient proof for an indictment.

#15 Comment By Asymptotic Lows On July 5, 2016 @ 3:44 pm

FBI basically certifies Clinton as unfit for presidency but declines to recommend indictment. What an election.

#16 Comment By Darth Thulhu On July 5, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

Daniel wrote:

Clinton won’t be indicted for breaking any laws, but Comey’s statement is nonetheless an indictment of her poor judgment, negligence, and recklessness.

Clinton is Nixon, minus any hint of competence.

Moreover, awareness of that basic knowledge is the opposite of new. Why anyone would ever want to deliberately elect such a leader is unfathomable. Never Clinton.

#17 Comment By Junior On July 5, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

@William Springer

“But when Trump’s divisive, destructive and often baseless platform is the other choice, Hillary is the easiest voting choice I have ever made.”

Utter nonsense. You have got to be kidding me. Why all the excuses in your post? You should have just shortened it to, “I have fallen for the ‘media’ propaganda and now support the most corrupted war monger to ever run for anything because I enjoy living in a Banana Republic.”

Or you could have just shortened your post to…

#18 Comment By AG On July 5, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

It’s plain that if she weren’t running against an opponent who is not only deliberately clueless and knowingly reckless, but is under investigation for a number of instances in which he CLEARLY broke the law, she’d be a very weak candidate indeed.
By contrast, however, she’s a godsend…sad state of affairs, eh?

#19 Comment By Neal On July 5, 2016 @ 4:54 pm

Who was the last competent president on national security issues? Ford? Eisenhower before that?

It’s just so hard to get upset about Clinton being careless with classified info when her actual policy preferences are so reprehensible.

#20 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 5, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

Since whistle blowers have been prosecuted and others have been prosecuted with evidence. It’s a safe bet in my view that the fix was in.

And it was devastating despite the choice not to indict. I think that is why it was released today as oppose to later when the impact closer to the election would be acute.

This way the hope is that it will bleed itself dry. But the worst indications for the state of governance. And I have admit, a bit frightening.

#21 Comment By Quaking State On July 5, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

” if she weren’t running against an opponent who is not only deliberately clueless and knowingly reckless, but is under investigation for a number of instances in which he CLEARLY broke the law, she’d be a very weak candidate indeed.
By contrast, however, she’s a godsend…sad state of affairs, eh?”

Well, if we go by the standard applied to Clinton, it cannot be “CLEAR” that he broke any laws until he’s been indicted, tried and convicted. Right?

So on that score at least he’s ahead of the game, having thus far not been characterized as “reckless” and “careless” with national security by the Director of the FBI.

And given that she came to the table with bloody hands from her Libya, Yemen, and Syria blunders, it’s doubtful Trump will be able to demonstrate that he has even worse judgment than Clinton or is even more morally depraved and incompetent before the election. Indeed, nothing he can do between now and then can hold a candle to what she has already done.

Needless to say, advantage Trump.

#22 Comment By OMM 0910 On July 5, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

@Philip Giraldi
So the difference between being actionable in court and not came down to intent.

Negligence without intent is actionable in court. Thus the double standard.

#23 Comment By Ebenezer_Arvigenius On July 5, 2016 @ 5:43 pm

Negligence without intent is actionable in court. Thus the double standard.

Only if the statute expressively states so.

#24 Comment By Clint On July 5, 2016 @ 6:43 pm

Under Section 793(f)of Title 18 of The Federal Penal Code

(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.

Hillary Clinton by using multiple private servers, permitted the same to be removed from its proper place of custody and also some destroyed.

#25 Comment By Rossbach On July 5, 2016 @ 7:08 pm

Does federal law not recognize the principle of culpable negligence, which means recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something with the same consequences)?

Did Hillary put anyone’s life at risk by transmitting, receiving, or storing classified State Department information on a server that she knew was not secure?

#26 Comment By connecticut farmer On July 5, 2016 @ 7:33 pm

I am no Trump fan and will likely sit this election out, but the comparisons being made of Don Trump to Hillary Clinton in terms of which one is more “reckless” are hardly to the point. It wasn’t Don Trump who was brought before the bar as it were, it was Hillary Clinton. Don Trump wasn’t Secretary of State, it was Hillary Clinton. Reasonable people can argue whether what she did merited criminal prosecution, but the failure to see that what this woman did was an act of gross negligence is to be willfully blind. And the worst part about it all is–she has escaped even a slap on the wrist. Her behavior does not augur well for the future.

#27 Comment By DES On July 5, 2016 @ 8:11 pm

I couldn’t care less whether Comey thinks Hillary acted carelessly. That’s irrelevant. The FBI is not a school marm. His job was to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal prosecution. Note that the standard is not a certain conviction, only sufficient evidence to create a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed. The standard in the statute is “gross negligence,” which is sometimes defined as a reckless disregard for the consequences of one’s actions that is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm.

Hillary is an intelligent human being (in the narrow sense) and a lawyer to boot. If she had carelessly and inadvertently sent a few classified emails to an unprotected server, she might be guilty of “simple” but not “gross” negligence. But setting up an unprotected server in her house for the specific purpose of receiving and holding classified emails, in violation of the State Department’s rules, is clearly evidence of gross negligence that cries out for a trial.

Moreover, she lied in saying that the emails were not marked “classified” when she received them (as if the Secretary of State needs a marking to know whether something is secret!). But even this turns out to be false. Any prosecutor worth his salt would know how to use this as evidence of a guilty state of mind.

Comey had a good reputation as someone who tells it like it is. He has now ruined that reputation forever. I suspect there are some staff people in the FBI who are very unhappy. It will be interesting to see if any of them go public.

#28 Comment By Dan Riley On July 5, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

National security prosecutions are highly selective at all levels. It isn’t one law for the elites and a different one for everyone else, it is entirely who the national security agencies and the DOJ feel like prosecuting.

We over-classify to a ridiculous degree. This is part of what enables highly selective prosecutions, it is almost always possible to find some plausibly prosecutable violation when the agencies really want one. If they can’t find one, they make one up.

Thanks to WikiLeaks etc., there’s also a great deal of public classified information. Having been leaked doesn’t change the security classification! It would obviously be essential for the Secretary of State to be familiar with what information had been made public about our dealings with other nations revealed in those leaks. Discussions about such materials in her email would be violate the law, but would be completely inconsequential for our actual security. Was any of the classified information in Clinton’s email already public? Will we ever find out?

The incentives for the security agencies are to over-classify and exaggerate transgressions, as that gives them the most power to exercise discretionary enforcement as they please. Without specifics (that we’re not going to get), I don’t trust anything the FBI says about the handling of classified material. And I don’t trust people who draw conclusions based on assertions that the FBI will not substantiate with the disclosure of actual evidence.

#29 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 5, 2016 @ 8:29 pm

Laws are for those ruled, not the rulers. As that great oligarch and monarch once instructed his lessers, “L’etat, c’est moi.”

#30 Comment By OMM 0910 On July 5, 2016 @ 9:43 pm

[3]

Shortly after this column went online, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI will not recommend charges against Hillary. Although he said that there was extreme “carelessness” in handling classified information, the lack of intent to violate the law precluded prosecution. That’s a bit of a surprise given that the Department of Justice is currently prosecuting Petty Officer First Class [4] for a similar crime where no intent was involved. This gives rise to suspicions, verging on certainty, that the law is different when your name is Clinton, that laws are for the “little people” and not those in charge.

#31 Comment By VikingLS On July 5, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

“For good governance and competence the clear choice is Gary Johnson-Bill Weld.”

To do what?

#32 Comment By Rurik On July 5, 2016 @ 11:31 pm

Hill & Hubby are corrupt as the day is long. But, seriously, did anyone really think a Clinton would be nailed because of e-mails? Come on!

#33 Comment By Corporal Hicks On August 18, 2016 @ 5:16 pm

Golly, when I worked in the S shops (e.g. intel section of our unit) I didn’t know that the George Constanza Defense* was available to shield the idiot who mishandled classified material.

* When George Constanza gets called into the office when it becomes know he boinked a cleaning lady.

“Was that wrong? If only someone had told me that was wrong, I neva woulda done it!”