Hillary vs The Law vs The Truth

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided not to recommend criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information.  The legal reasoning for this decision is complicated and nuanced and politically confusing.  Some people will be elated by the decision, some will be angry; both are wrong.

I – like most everyone – am not qualified to address those legal distinctions that led to the James ComeyBureau’s decision.  That, of course, won’t stop the masses from weighing in.  But despite the lack of formal training, American’s do have legitimate questions.

FBI Director Comey said there was no evidence that Clinton “intended” to commit a criminal act.   An amateur and cursory look at federal statutes, however, suggest there are still prosecutable offenses for which Sec. Clinton can be cited.

18 U.S. Code § 793

(f)  Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense,

(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.

18 USC §798

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—

(4)  obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

18 USC §1924

(a)  Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

18 USC §2071

(a)  Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b)  Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. 

What is next required is a comparison of these precise legal guidelines to Director Comey’s statement.  You can read it here with salient points highlighted.

2938084Given all this, it is impossible to conclude that Sec. Clinton is innocent of wrongdoing.  As someone very familiar with the handling of classified materials, I can assure you with complete confidence and honesty that Sec. Clinton is, in fact, guilty.  HOWEVER, the most important point in the FBI statement, as it relates to prosecution, is “intent.”

The FBI investigation concluded that Sec. Clinton’s actions did NOT constitute intentional criminal misconduct.  That is a very important legal point.

Individuals who handle classified information occasionally, by accident and unintentionally, expose material to unclassified environments.  They might misspeak and say something classified in an unclassified forum.  They may inadvertently take home a classified document in a briefcase or tucked in a newspaper.  And when these incidents are reported to the relevant security office (as they should), the individual is exonerated because there was no “intent” to compromise classified information.

Now, that comes with a caveat or two.  .

Did the individual report the compromise?  Hillary did not.

Was the information intentionaly shared outside with anyone not cleared to see it?   In Hillary’s case, yes.

Was the compromise caused by negligence.  Yes.

It is, then, fair for the American public to debate these points and, although his reputation is sterling, or has been before today, it is also fair to question Director Comey’s decision not to recommend prosecution.  There is just too much to accept as whole cloth.

What is equally fair, and far more important, is for voters to question Hillary Clinton’s character.  Despite given a (questionable) reprieve by the FBI, this whole scandal as been rife with lies Hillary told or were told on her behalf.

These are just some of the untruths revealed by Director Comey’s statement:

Clinton claimed

  • She used a private server for “convenience”
  • Her private email server was permitted under State Department policy
  • Her email server didn’t put national security at risk
  • She never sent any classified information, or emails containing information marked “classified.” 
  • She turned over all work-related emails to the State Department
  • It was impossible that her server was hacked.
  • She only used a single mobile device for email

Further, the State Department claimed to have fully cooperated with the FBI, and 

Clinton press secretary Nick Merrill previously told TIME that her attorneys had individually read every email to determine if it was a government document or personal correspondence. “Every one of the more than 60,000 emails were read. Period,”

If Hillary Clinton were a private citizen, and not running to be President of the United States, the story would now be over.  But she is running for the Presidency and these things are extraordinarily important to voters – at least those who pay attention.

Hillary Clinton is a liar.  This is no longer the opinion of a “far right conspiracy,” sexists, Republicans or Hillary Haters.  It is now documented fact and so documented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  While it may not be criminal, this behavior should be a primary factor for voters this fall.

/CS/

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One comment

  1. I agree. The lying is an issue, even if not criminal. As I read it though, and I’m no lawyer, each of the statutes you listed has a specifically stated requirement of intent, those words knowingly, willfully etc. Without provable evidence of intent, there’s no crime. You can’t infer intent from a possible result, like his statement that hostiles MIGHT have gained access to her account.

    John Comey has tons of prosecutorial experience as the DA of Manhattan, and the Deputy AG under John Ashcroft. He’s better qualified than most to know what will or won’t fly in court. If the GOP wants to use this as a campaign issue, they would be wise to stick to the issue of lying and drop the narrative that our legal system is “rigged”. This isn’t like Petraeus (telling your mistress proves intent), or other lower-level cases.

    Like

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