Hillary’s Judgement censured by FBI

Kuala Lumpur

July 7, 2016

Unclassified E-mails- FBI censures Hilary Clinton

The New York Times Editorial

James Comey (above), the Director of the F.B.I., may have relieved Hillary Clinton of a legal burden on Tuesday, but he left her with a substantial political one. While announcing that the bureau would not recommend criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton for her handling of classified material on nonsecure personal email servers, Mr. Comey issued a strong rebuke of her practices, which he called “extremely careless” — and for which she has never given the public a full explanation. He was right on both points.

Mr. Comey explained that there was no clear evidence Mrs. Clinton or her colleagues had intentionally broken any federal laws on classified information, and he said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would pursue an indictment in the case.

This legal decision is undoubtedly correct. The F.B.I. investigation, which began a year ago, examined tens of thousands of emails sent to and from Mrs. Clinton during her leadership of the State Department. It found that eight email threads contained information that was classified “top secret” at the time, the highest classification level. Several dozen more contained information that was either “secret” or “confidential,” the lowest level.

For at least two reasons, Mr. Comey said, this did not amount to criminal wrongdoing. First was the lack of evidence that Mrs. Clinton or her colleagues had intended to break any laws. Second, prosecutions of similar cases in the past have relied on some combination of elements that were missing in this case: the intentional mishandling of classified information, indications of disloyalty to the United States, and efforts to obstruct justice.

But Mr. Comey was clear that while these email habits weren’t criminal, Mrs. Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” He added that “any reasonable person” in Mrs. Clinton’s position should have known that she was playing with fire.

Mr. Comey’s remarks also contradicted Mrs. Clinton’s repeated assertion that she didn’t send or receive material that was “marked classified” at the time. She did.

He went on to say, “None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff.”

Perhaps more troubling was the F.B.I.’s finding that Mrs. Clinton “also used her personal email extensively while abroad, including sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries,” adding that “it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.”

Mr. Comey’s conclusions — legal recommendation aside — can be seen as nothing less than a censure of Mrs. Clinton’s judgment. Of course, his recommendation was met with howls from the right, and particularly from Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, who wasted no time trying to delegitimize the F.B.I.’s work by claiming it was only more proof that “the system is rigged.” But to assume that the F.B.I. somehow worked on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf betrays a basic misunderstanding of the way the agency functions, and views its own mission. Led by Mr. Comey, who also served as deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush, the F.B.I. appears to have worked as comprehensively and expediently as it could to investigate a problem that is entirely of Mrs. Clinton’s making.

Mrs. Clinton’s desire to shield her private communications from public scrutiny may be understandable to supporters of her presidential campaign. But in leading one of the most sensitive departments in the federal government, she did little to improve what Mr. Comey called “the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified email systems in particular,” that “was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.”

As Mrs. Clinton said in the past, and her campaign reiterated on Tuesday, her decision to use private email was a mistake. She remains, far and away, the most experienced and knowledgeable candidate for the presidency, particularly when compared with Mr. Trump. But she has done damage to her reputation by failing to conform to the established security policies of the department she ran and by giving evasive or misleading answers about her actions and motivations. If there was ever a time that Mrs. Clinton needed to demonstrate that she understands the forthrightness demanded of those who hold the nation’s highest office, this is that moment.

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A version of this editorial appears in print on July 6, 2016, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Legal, Not Political, Clarity on Emails. Today’s Paper|Subscribe



10 thoughts on “Hillary’s Judgement censured by FBI

  1. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that Hillary should not have used her private e-mail to deal with her official business. Okay, call it an error judgement, but that does not make her unsuitable for high office as POTUS. Move on and get into the serious business of presidential politics. Hillary is better qualified to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as POTUS than her Republican rival.

    As I said before, Mrs. Clinton has the experience, knowledge, temperament, and wisdom to be the next President of the most powerful nation in the world and can be trusted to hold the keys and the code to America’s nuclear arsenal.

  2. Pingback: Hillary’s Judgement censured by FBI — Din Merican: the Malaysian DJ Blogger – Factfromfiction

  3. ini berbau cover-up dari atas leh…same shit different country i guess dato…..good ole U.S of A aint much better from Msia

    selamat hari raya aidilfitri to you and better half

  4. It is all about judgment. She has many bags in the public domain and they are all loaded and waiting to be picked up by DJT. Once all the bags are cleared then Para 2 applies.

  5. Let us pray Mrs Clinton can ‘ trump’ her adversary, who seemed to be a potential of great indiscretion and unsuitable to lead America. Uncouth and a loud-mouth , what else to expect from a clown in his debut of the film industry, he’s merely suitable to be a jester to gain popularity ….. Mrs Clinton would definitely be a great power for America , she’s made of sterner stuff , and able to command the respect of world leaders everywhere.

    A word of caution though. Being ‘tough’ is indeed the hall-mark of success in such leadership position, but I would commend that Mrs Clinton would also abide by the Wisdom of Pope Francis of the Vatican who brilliantly beckoned to the world at large to the effect : ‘ USE THE WEAPON OF LOVE TO DEFEAT EXTREMISM ” instead of WMD…..

    An adorable Pope Francis , the world should emulate such Humanism

  6. Just how is possible for a woman who was married to a politician who became a governor for two terms and then President for two terms could be ignorant of the these simple rules which every government official is aware of? And she was no ordinary wife. An accomplished lawyer in her own right and then moving on to Senate for two terms. The FBI director has diminished himself and the agency with this finding. and so too the US Attorney General. Methinks the real reason for her private email server was to keep reports for later use, on the multi million dollar talk circuits or for her books .
    Either way the elections goes, Americans are the losers. One an arrogant racist and religious bigot and another as Trump describes her, a crock. Osama bin Laden must be laughing in his watery grave.

  7. Bernard,

    You are absolutely right. Even I, a lowly employee of a SME in a small country has two emails, one for work, one for social interaction.

    What is also surprising is that those State Department officials, (where keeping State secrets secret is their daily bread), who received and sent emails to her found nothing wrong, or did not even warn her, or at least made some inquiries?

    It is as unbelievable as someone saying I really have no idea whatsoever why anyone would transfer RM42m into his private banking account which being private no one should know unless specifically allowed to? And according to our AG, it is perfectly believable and acceptable.

    So looks like all AGs think alike, even though one has some decency to say, “extremely careless”, meaning “carelessness” is not an indictable crime, however extreme, if we leave out carelessness in driving a motor vehicle.

    BTW, our AG now has some handy legal phrases to exonerate those he has some compulsion to exonerate.

    Coming back to the common standards of the corporate world, would you as a boss put such a person in charge of protecting your company’s corporate / trade secrets?

  8. It does tell me one thing looking at bill clinton dalliances, hillary email and bengazi caper, donald trump numeros extreme statements and acts all fore runners in presidential campaign – america thrives best in greater and maybe even fool hardy risks. Even when faced with hard facts they defend their choices. God bless america and i mean in in exasperation! Do not forget all main camdidates have many skeletons in their contest. Its down to what we can live with.

  9. I always felt that Hillary showed remarkably bad judgment on this. I also didn’t understand why the State Department lawyers allowed her to use a private, unprotected server. (They are very strict.) And as many of you have pointed out, we all try to have separate emails for business and personal matters; so her desire to just use one email seems very strange.

    I watched the FBI Director James Comey testify yesterday before Congress, and I learned something that might help explain her lack of judgment. Comey said that his impression was that Hillary really didn’t understand the whole security classification system. Some of the (Republican) Congressmen said that she was a US Senator for eight years, so she should have understood. Then I learned something new, thanks to other (Democratic) Congressmen. The Congress has totally exempted itself from the security requirements that it has imposed on the executive branch. Congressmen are allowed to keep multiple private servers, computers, and personal devices. The Congressmen’s computer systems are not security-protected. So maybe when Hillary joined the State Department, she thought she was just doing what she did for eight years in the US Senate — and which all the grandstanding Congressmen on that committee are still doing today. There are many examples, in my experience, where the US Congress has exempted itself from the very same rules it imposes on the Executive Branch. Hypocrisy runs amuck on Capitol Hill.
    Ambassador Malott,

    Ignorance is a convenient excuse. But that said, she is still a good candidate for being elected to the post of POTUS. She understands Asia.

    I am back in Phnom Penh. Kamsiah and I enjoyed the pleasure of your company and Max. Thanks again for your hospitality and generosity and the trips to Mount Vernon to pay our respects to George and Martha and Hanover. Va..–Din Merican

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