The FBI has ruled, and Hillary Clinton will not be charged with the crime of "mishandling classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way," or of acting to "knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities."
Don't take this wrong. FBI Director James B. Comey says Clinton committed both of these crimes, and he presents evidence to support as much. His blistering assessment says Clinton and her colleagues "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."
The investigation turned up eight email chains that contained "Top Secret" information at the time they were sent. Investigators determined Clinton "deleted emails or emails were purged from the system when devices were changed. Because she was not using a government account — or even a commercial account like Gmail — there was no archiving at all of her emails, so it is not surprising that we discovered emails that were not on Secretary Clinton's system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 emails to the State Department.
"It could also be that some of the additional work-related emails we recovered were among those deleted as 'personal' by Secretary Clinton's lawyers when they reviewed and sorted her emails for production in 2014."
OK, so what. If it didn't hurt anything, what difference does it make? Alas, that is not in the cards. Comey and his team suspect Clinton's negligence and deception undermined our national interests.
"Hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account," Comey said. "We also assess that Secretary Clinton's use of a personal email domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails 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 email account."
Throughout his report, Comey reveals evidence that reveals Clinton's "mishandling classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way," and of "acting to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems."
Clinton's private-servers maneuver exempted her from a secure system of checks and balances designed to keep our secrets from enemies and to ensure accountability among top government officials. Her ploy was in keeping with the actions of a politician deemed "honest and trustworthy" by only 37 percent in a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Comey's report implores us to avoid thinking "in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences." He or she likely would, Comey explained.
The entire report smacks of an FBI director who received quiet marching orders to recommend no charges to President Barack Obama's attorney general, Loretta Lynch, regardless of evidence. And who can forget that "accidental meeting" between Hillary's husband, former President Bill Clinton, and Lynch last week at the Phoenix airport? The governing class is practically flaunting corruption.
Comey's explanation for the no-charges recommendation falls flat: "Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."
In other words, the ruling class has so much authority it is now "reasonable" to look the other way when a ranking federal official tries to escape accountability, carelessly hands over national secrets, and tries to conceal the whole thing. Don't use the evidence. Just follow the presumed actions of imaginary prosecutors with "reasonable" judgment.
After detailing the damning evidence, and justifying the recommendation to do nothing, Comey assures us "this investigation was done competently, honestly, and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear."
That's hard to believe, as the closing argument in a report that otherwise reads like a scathing indictment involving breaches of our country's "Top Secret" information.
If Americans want more corruption of our national security, and systems designed to ensure accountability, they will make Obama's former secretary of state the next president. They will support the closest allies of Obama and Clinton — such as Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who appears first on a New York Times assessment of "contenders most frequently mentioned" as a Clinton running mate by her advisers.
If Americans want a system designed to protect their sovereignty, and keep public servants accountable, they will replace Obama's dynasty this fall.
The gazette editorial board