The FBI has recommended that Hillary Clinton not be charged over her use of personal email for official business during her four years as Secretary of State.
…although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.
In a FBI press release, FBI Director James Comey explains that its investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General and looked at whether there was evidence that classified information had been improperly stored or transmitted on a personal system:
…in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.
In a nutshell, they were looking for evidence of whether Ms Clinton had mishandled or deleted classified information.
On top of that, they also investigated whether Ms Clinton’s personal email server may have been hacked:
… by any foreign power, or other hostile actors.
Now, the FBI has absolved the presidential nominee of “intentional misconduct”. The BBC provides a nice summary of the its key findings:
- It is possible that “hostile actors” gained access to Mrs Clinton’s email account
- There were more than 100 emails that contained classified information when they were sent or received, contrary to her claim she never sent classified emails
- But there was no evidence she had knowingly shared sensitive material
- She did not delete emails in an effort to conceal them
In absolving Ms Clinton, Comey commented that although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, the FBI could not find a case that would support mishandling or removal of classified information.
But, as Motherboard reports, Comey did note that Clinton and her team:
…were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
…by using a private email address, government workers may be hoping to keep their emails secret from the public.
He also said the FBI had assessed that it was possible that “hostile actors” could have gained access to Ms Clinton’s personal email account.
So while Hillary Clinton is looking to move on from her “extreme carelessness”, doing that in the midst of a presidential campaign is not going to be easy. The Washington Post has gone to town in condemning what she did, saying:
For a candidate already badly struggling on questions of whether she is honest and trustworthy enough to hold the office to which she aspires, Comey’s comments are devastating.
We’ve yet to see if/how this affects the race for the White House…
Creative Commons image of Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore.
32 comments on “FBI lets off “extremely careless” Hillary Clinton”
All references to Ms Clinton should be Mrs. Clinton, since she is still married.
I think it’s pretty clear we’re talking about the same person you’re referring to 🙂
The honorific “Ms” is used as a default form of address for women, regardless of their marital status, says Ms. Lisa. 🙂
Correction “The FBI has decided not to charge Hillary ” Only the DOJ makes the decision to press charges. All the FBI can do is make recommendations. However, she paid her way out. The US government is so corrupt, I am ashamed.
The FBI is a joke. Comey supposedly is a Republican but really he works for the President. He does whatever Obama tells him. If this was about a Republican who broke laws Obama would have told him to go after them. But Hillary is a Democrat and Obama is helping her. That’s why you can’t take anything the FBI says on this issue seriously. There are people in prison over less serious crimes.
From my ill-informed, UK-based armchair…
My understanding is that there is a strong suggestion that Clinton was not the first person to use personal email in this way and I wonder if that had any bearing on this. The FBI’s conclusion is essentially that similar cases have been dealt with in a similar way.
If they treated her case differently then they would (a) leave themselves open to as many accusations of partisanship as they face now, but from the other side of the aisle and (b) make anyone else who had done the same (presumably Republican predecessors) fair game. I suspect both Democrats and Republicans would prefer the status quo.
Also it is clearly in the Democrats’ interests that Mrs Clinton not be charged and I think we can assume that they’ve pulled every lever they can to make it happen. However I suspect this outcome might be better for the Republicans too – I’m sure they’d rather run against a tainted candidate who’s still in the race than a white knight like Sanders or Biden who doesn’t share her disapproval ratings. If the system works and it takes Hillary out and replaces her with somebody more popular, it makes it harder for Trump to run against “crooked Hillary” and “a rigged system”.
Allison Booth wrote “The FBI has decided not to charge Hillary Clinton over her use of personal email for official business during her four years as Secretary of State.”
Umm, Allison, the FBI doesn’t charge anyone. That’s the job of the Department of Justice. All the FBI does is make recommendations, which they declined to do in this case. The DOJ could file charges anyway, but it’s unlikely.
It is possible that “hostile actors” gained access to Mrs Clinton’s email account – that is a stretch isn’t it? I am not a fan and if this all the opposition holds – truly sad
Does anyone else find it barely credible that she was able to use an email of the form Hillary@clintonmail.example (or whatever) and not an official dot-gov address and that nobody said anything for four years?
Does no one in the US government look carefully at the email address of people sending them emails? Security 101 etc.?
It’s totally reasonable for a government employee to use a personal address for personal business. It’s weird, but not crazy, to have their own server. It’s a tough call to say whether something like a personal server or Gmail is more secure/private.
The issue is that she conducted government business on that server, and that’s unacceptable.
However, while unacceptable, it’s not illegal, and that’s what this was about. She was very, very bad at her job, but she didn’t break the law.
In a normal country, in a normal year, this would be the sort of thing that would exclude her from consideration by the voters, but she’s running against a lunatic and of course the low-information voters of this nation have decided that she’s the best candidate to lead her party.
It’s really failure all around, at every level of government and citizenship, but people are allowed to be stupid in this country, so it is what it is. There’s no conspiracy, except for the larger situation in that the government prefers an uneducated population and the people are averse to education and intelligence.
tldr; We get what we deserve.
Bush did it and I find it funny that Hilldawg fans use this as a defense… since most of the same people called for Bush’s head most of his term… both republicans and democrats are crooks.
I would agree, but am staggered that for four years no one receiving email from her personal account queried the practice.
The president did not, ambassadors did not, state department officials did not, congressmen/women did not, senators did not, and presumably her opposite numbers in other countries did not think it unusual; and they all happily assumed the emails where genuine and came from her and they all replied to an unofficial account!
All of that is unacceptable.
lots of people barely notice the actual address. As long as the “friendly name” says John Smith and not John Doe, it’s green lights all the way.
*click* open without reading subject
*click* oh good, he sent me an attachment
*click* no I don’t want to pay for ransomware
It’s official, the US is a banana republic. Oh well, at least “Brexit” demonstrated that sanity still has a role in the public sector somewhere on this planet.
Perhaps the larger issue is that her poorly secured mail server was surely hacked. Classified or not, all that mail would be a treasure trove for hostile governments. Years of inside information! I surely hope that something’s been done to mitigate the damage; doubt that we’ll ever hear though.
“…her poorly secured mail server was surely hacked.” Evidence, preytell?
And the FBI believes it was. Since only they know what was in there to compare notes with others, I will have to trust they didn’t pull a Clinton, err, I mean lie.
From the Dept of Justice “about” page:
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The most sacred of the duties of government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”
(unless you are a past first-lady?)
I’ll vote for Hillary regardless of my disappointment in her administrative failings. Perhaps more disturbing is the double standard our leadership continues to parot. The DOJ has now decided not to pursue charges against Hilary. I have seen low grade civil servants loose thier security clearance and thus thier job for far less serious security violations than Hillary’s. At the same time I have seen senior government executives in the same organization make similar security blunders without getting so much as a written cautionary warning from thier superiors. As Sophos has noted, security requires personal vigilance, training, and a culture with forceful backup to challenge and curb disfunctional human behavior.
It would be totally reasonable for her to lose her job over this issue, but the point is that what she did is not illegal. You are allowed to be awful at your job, as long as your boss doesn’t care. Millions of people voted for her, so they obviously didn’t care either. Sad state of affairs, but there you go.
what she did “is” illegal, she just wasn’t changed (yet). Like General Petraeus was.
There are no videos of this because it didn’t happen.
so her lying to the FBI under oath is okay with you? (plenty of videos on this)
And everyone is missing the point that the private email server was potentially used to keep criminal activity private. Every place I’ve worked has very clear email policies. She must be incredibly negligent and stupid to not know simple communication policies, I don’t think she is stupid, evil yes, but not stupid.
It was potentially used to do a lot of things, but there’s no evidence of any kind to support this. It’s also plausible that she did this to keep personal matters private, given that at all times half the government is picking over everything she does to look for reasons to hold Congressional hearings.
What she did was wrong, but not illegal.
That’s how the Clintons operate. Always pressing at the boundaries of what’s legal, up to all kinds of unsavory things that should exclude them from public office, but the masses simply don’t care.
Also almost everyone in Congress has a personal email address, not on government systems. In fact, this might even be encouraged, since it’s unseemly to use taxpayer dollars to do what they do 90% of the time, ie, fund raise. I’ll bet if Google and Yahoo and AOL did a simple word search of those accounts, it would take just a few seconds to find at least dozens of others guilty of the same behavior.
It doesn’t help that the government is run by mostly old people who don’t understand modern tech. And no one in Congress wants to make anything they’re currently doing illegal by passing appropriate legislation.
Clinton is just the latest to take advantage of the existing loophole to construct their own private email server to conduct government business, whatever the purpose may be. The obvious reaction should be to make sure our government closes that loophole and secures the ship.
I thought “18 USC §793” was pretty clear in its wording.
Another thing to consider. A review of the emails released show the Ms Clinton attempted to obtain a secured blackberry, similar to the one President Obama carries, to conduct business on. The NSA repeatedly denied her request. With that option removed, she elected to go the private email server route. Was this a mistake? In hindsight, yes. Was she the only one who did so? Heck no.in fact, Sec of State Kerry is the first one to exclusively use a government email account.
At the time Ms Clinton used the private server, is was not illegal. That law was signed after she left that position. Other Sec of States had done similar actions in the use of private email accounts. They were not investigated or charged. Why should she be treated any different.
Of real interest is the testimony that the Director of the FBI gave to congress in a hastily called congressional hearing after his announcement. In that he stated that there was only 2 emails listed as classified and that those two were mistakenly labeled that. Otherwise there were no documents that were classified at the time used by Ms Clinton.
where do you get this number of only 2 Email? are you Hillary?
I think it was eight emails with a (C) at the begging of some paragraphs in their reply threads. Atleast a couple of these were incorrectly identified as classified but that doesn’t excuse the original or subsequent sender from responsibility for improper treatment of information marked as classified. If the document remains marked, even with portion markings only, it is supposed to be treated as such. The lack of required subject line, header, and footer classification lables can and does cause human error when handling such documents. The fact that there were no required markings on the rest of the 152 total classified email threads and the two thousand or so other fragments of up-classified data (i.e., after-the-fact due to classification by the FBI) shows how difficult the task can be. That’s why better systems and training are needed. The entire government needs to clean house with regard to record keeping. House and senate handling of classified information appears to be ripe for examination.