A core tenet of the American republic is chiseled into marble above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court. Since 1935, it has read:
Equal Justice Under Law
It now should be edited, as follows:
Equal Justice Under Law
These words, on which this nation was built, helped make America exceptional. But FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday morning turned this principle into a punchline.
If Hillary Smith had conducted all of her diplomatic duties via an unauthorized computer server in her home basement, she would be prosecuted.
If Hillary Jones had hundreds of classified e-mails swirling like electrons among her lawless server, her Blackberry, and her tablet computer, she would be indicted.
But Hillary’s surname is Clinton. So, she gets away with this — and more. As Richard Manning of Americans for Limited Government put it, Hillary Clinton is too big to jail.
It would have been one thing if Comey had said about Hillary’s e-mails:
Secretary Clinton did nothing wrong. We spent thousands of hours looking very carefully through her e-mails. She had one server and one phone, and both were as solid as the Hoover Dam. We found an e-mail in which she got official permission to maintain that server in her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. The missing e-mails that she deleted all turned out to be about yoga positions and Chelsea’s wedding dress. The work e-mails that Secretary Clinton delivered to the State Department contained no classified material. Believe it or not, folks, the lady has been telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth for 16 months. So, help me God.
Instead, Comey’s 15-minute speech could be summarized as:
Here, in detail, is how Hillary Clinton spilled state secrets and lied about it non-stop since March 2015. Regardless, she should walk away scot-free.
In yesterday’s statement, Comey confirmed that Clinton is an unreconstructed, certified, pathological liar. He exposed at least eight bald-faced lies that Clinton told the American people — again and again and again — throughout this high-profile controversy.
‐ Lie No. 1: Clinton: “I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails, instead of two.” (March 10, 2015)
Comey: “Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and she also used numerous mobile devices to send and to read e-mail on that personal domain. As new servers and equipment were employed, older servers were taken out of service, stored, and decommissioned in various ways.”
‐ Lie No. 2: Clinton: “I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department.” (March 10, 2015)
Comey: “The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014.”
‐ Lie No. 3: Clinton: “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material.” (March 10, 2015)
Comey: “From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were ‘up-classified’ to make them Confidential.”
‐ Lie No. 4: Clinton: “I never sent or received any classified material. They are retroactively classifying it.” (February 4, 2016)
Comey: As detailed above, 110 e-mails on Clinton’s servers were classified “at the time they were sent or received.” In addition to those above, among the “several thousand” work e-mails recovered from the roughly 30,000 deleted “personal” e-mails, Comey found that “three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level.”
So, rather than just the 110 “born classified” e-mails on which the news media have focused, Clinton’s epic national-security disaster was nearly 20 times worse. Among both the 30,000 e-mails that Clinton surrendered and the “several thousand” recovered from the roughly 30,000 that she deleted, these totals arise:
‐ Lie No. 5: Clinton: “It was my practice to communicate with State Department and other government officials on their .gov accounts, so those e-mails would be automatically saved in the State Department system to meet recordkeeping requirements.” (March 10, 2015)
Comey: “Because she was not using a government account — or even a commercial account like Gmail — there was no archiving at all of her e-mails.”
‐ Lie No. 6: Clinton: “Nothing that I sent or received was marked ‘classified,’ and nothing has been demonstrated to contradict that.” (June 8, 2016)
Comey: “Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”
‐ Lie No. 7: Clinton: “The system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. It had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service, and there were no security breaches.” (March 10, 2015)
Comey: “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.”
‐ Lie No. 8: Clinton: “I take classified information seriously.” (February 1, 2016)
Comey: “Seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. . . . There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. . . . All of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government — or even with a commercial service like Gmail.”
The Federal Espionage Act — 18 U.S. Code § 793 — does not require intent. All that is necessary is proof of ‘gross negligence.’
Despite Comey’s Nagasaki-like obliteration of Clinton’s fortress of lies, he nevertheless concluded that “we are expressing to [the Department of] Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.”
Comey asserted that prosecution would have required “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.”
However, Comey knows damn well that conviction under the Federal Espionage Act — 18 U.S. Code § 793 — does not require intent. All that is necessary is proof of “gross negligence.”
How does one define “gross negligence”?
Several legal authorities equate negligence and carelessness, as does Black’s Law Dictionary. And several law firms’ websites go even further, as did one in North Carolina:
“Gross negligence: Gross negligence is extreme carelessness with a disregard to the safety of other people.”
As luck would have it, Comey said yesterday: “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.”
So, to be logical, Clinton and her associates were “extremely careless.” Extremely careless = grossly negligent. Grossly negligent = sufficient proof for conviction under the Federal Espionage Act — 18 U.S. Code § 793.
Given the extensive evidence of criminality that Comey outlined, the crystal-clear applicability of this statute, and Clinton’s crossing of its evidentiary threshold, the question occurs:
What the hell is James Comey thinking?
#related#Perhaps the House Government Oversight Committees can get Comey to answer that simple question when he testifies under oath on Thursday. Committee members should ask Comey under penalty of perjury if he felt any pressure — direct (“It would be kinda sad if something happened to one of your five kids”) or indirect (seeing Bill Clinton chat for half an hour with his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, on her government jet; or seeing Lynch’s boss, Barack Obama, endorse Clinton for president and announce plans to campaign with her in North Carolina the very day of Comey’s announcement). Maybe Comey inappropriately fretted that recommending Hillary’s prosecution just 20 days before the start of the Democratic National Convention would be too politically disruptive. That is not his concern.
For now, James Comey has bequeathed the American people three key things:
First, a giant, smoking pile of fresh questions.
Second, confirmation that equality before the law is a dead letter in this country. The system truly is rigged. As one online observer put it:
It’s simple, really:
“Gross Negligence” is for poor people and means criminal charges.
“Extreme Carelessness” is for rich people and means no charges.
Third, a brand-new nickname for the presumptive Democratic nominee:
Hillary Rodham Careless.