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.