FBI Finds Clinton Had No Intent to Mishandle Classified Information


On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced that after a painstaking and thorough investigation, they found no intent by Hillary Clinton to mishandle classified information in her personal emails. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at the beginning of the one-year investigation that she would follow the recommendation of the FBI.

The FBI investigators first focused on whether or not classified information was improperly transmitted or stored in Clinton’s personal emails. Doing so would be a felony under the federal statute regarding deliberately or carelessly mishandling such highly confidential information. The investigation was also focused on whether confidential information was knowingly deleted from the system it was stored on. Comey pointed out that it was procedure to look for evidence of any hostile perpetrators or foreign power intercepting the confidential and highly classified information on any private email server used by or in connection to the former first lady. The director went on to add that several mobile devices were used to look at multiple email accounts.

When some of Secretary Clinton’s personal servers were shut down, the software used to gather email was removed, but even though the emails were deleted, they were not permanently deleted from the system.  However, the FBI was not able to recover the emails in one piece.  Comey described the process like putting the main part of a large puzzle back together. After the difficult task was complete, the FBI could not find any evidence that Secretary Clinton knowingly mishandled classified information.  He did say the aides and lawyers who handled the emails were sloppy about sending and disposing of them. There was also no evidence that Clinton’s personal accounts were hacked, but there is a small possibility that “hostile actors” were able to get a hold of top secret information.

Comey added that there seemed to be circumstantial evidence of a potential violation of the federal statute in the way confidential information was handled, but, according to the FBI director, “No reasonable prosecutor would take on such a case.” In the end, the director of the FBI could not find that Clinton had any intent to mishandle classified information.

Donald Trump, like most Republicans, is not happy about the recommendation. The real estate tycoon called the system “rigged” and accused Clinton of bribing Lynch. After the attorney general said she would follow the recommendation of the FBI, news networks took to Twitter. CNN’s David Gergen said, “FBI gets it right on #Clinton emails. John Kass of the “Chicago Tribune” said, “The moral universe of Clinton is all about bending the rules,” while BBC News tweeted that President Obama was campaigning with Clinton in Charlotte, N.C.

The FBI director reported that the carelessness of the way the emails were handled could have made it possible for a “foreign power to have hacked into the email server.” The investigation is now over, and it is time to move on, but the Republicans like Trump and Paul Ryan cannot do that until they voice their unhappiness. Neither one of these two men have the facts that the FBI has, yet they have very strong opinions about the decision. Republicans are demanding a release of the full report.

There are many things the former Secretary of State stands for and believes in that are not talked about. She wants better background checks done before a gun can be purchased and to enforce stronger penalties for gun manufacturers who break the rules. She believes that democracy is supposed to work equally well for all Americans; no matter the size of one’s bank account. The former first lady is pledging to make renewable energy one of her main goals and plans to ensure that almost a billion solar panels will be installed in homes throughout the country.

The handling of the emails may have been sloppy and careless, but the FBI has found no evidence of intent to mishandle classified information, and cannot prove that any unauthorized person has gotten hold of classified information. One can only hope that this has been a learning experience for the former first lady, her lawyers, and aides.

Opinion by Katherine Miller
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz

The FBI: Statement of FBI Director James B Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of Personal Email Systems
CNN: FBI demolishes Hillary Clinton’s email defense
HillaryClinton.com: 112 reasons (and counting) Hillary Clinton should be our next president

Top Image Courtesy of World Bank’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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