No Charges Against Clinton Despite ‘Extremely Careless’ Safeguarding of Classified Information
The presumptive Democratic nominee for president won't be going to jail. But we knew that.
The presumptive Democratic nominee for president won’t be going to jail. But we knew that.
NYT (“F.B.I. Recommends No Charges Against Hillary Clinton for Use of Personal Email“)
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Tuesday that the bureau would not recommend criminal charges in Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, lifting an enormous legal cloud from her presidential campaign, hours before her first joint campaign appearance with President Obama.
But Mr. Comey rebuked Mrs. Clinton as being “extremely careless” in using a personal email address and server for sensitive information, declaring that an ordinary government official could have faced administrative sanction for such conduct.
To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally sent or received classified information — something that the F.B.I. did not find. “Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he said at a news conference.
The Justice Department is highly likely to accept the F.B.I.’s instruction. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Friday that she would accept the recommendation of the F.B.I. and career prosecutors in the case, after questions were raised about an impromptu meeting between her and former President Bill Clinton at an airport in Phoenix.
Mr. Comey’s statement came three days after F.B.I. investigators interviewed Mrs. Clinton, a sign that the case was winding down. He described an elaborate yearlong investigation, in which the F.B.I. examined multiple servers, read 30,000 emails and interviewed dozens of people.
The Hill (“FBI recommends no charges against Clinton“):
The FBI will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her private email setup, Director James Comey said Tuesday in an announcement that immediately roiled the race for the White House.
Despite evidence that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and her senior aides were “extremely careless” with government secrets during her time as secretary of State, Comey said investigators had concluded there was not sufficient evidence to recommend an indictment against Clinton.
“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,” Comey said in dramatic comments from the FBI’s headquarters in downtown Washington.
“We are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.”
Comey dinged the former Secretary of State for careless handling of the information, noting that a person in her position “should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
“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,” Comey said. Read Comey’s statement here.
The decision all but clears Clinton of the federal investigation that has loomed over her presidential campaign for nearly a year, since Attorney General Loretta Lynch had pledged to accept the recommendation of the FBI and career prosecutors.
Comey’s announcement comes just three days after the former secretary of State sat for a 3.5-hour interview with the FBI on Saturday, and just a few hours before President Obama is set to campaign with Clinton in Charlotte, N.C. It also comes about a week after Lynch met on an Arizona tarmac with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.
The juxtaposition is likely to inflame White House critics, who have insisted that political pressures would prevent any chance of an indictment for Clinton, regardless of the damage to national security.
Comey’s full remarks are here.
It would have been highly unusual to bring criminal charges here. None were brought against Sandy Berger or John Deutsch for arguably more egregious violations. It’s true that David Petraeus did receive modest punishment for his transgressions, which in many ways are less severe, but at least specific intent to hand classified information to someone who had no Need to Know was provable in that case.
Clinton clearly intended to skirt both policy and law here and in doing so she exposed highly sensitive information to our enemies. But that was a byproduct of her reckless disregard for the rules that govern lesser people, not an intended outcome. We simply don’t prosecute former senior administration officials for that sort of thing.
As MSNBC notes, the findings are nonetheless fairly damning:
- 110 emails sent or received on Clinton server contained classified information. Eight of those were top secret, the highest level of classification.
- It’s possible that “hostile actors” gained access to Clinton’s personal email account. “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,” Comey said.
Clinton has repeatedly insisted that she never sent classified information on her private server. That’s simply not true. Her flouting of the rules here is in fact a big deal. Lesser mortals would indeed have been severely sanctioned for such conduct.
Still, there’s likely to be little political fallout from this. To her supporters, the fact that she didn’t commit a provable crime will be taken as an indication she did nothing wrong. To die-hard Trump supporter, that she wasn’t charged is just further evidence that the game is rigged.
As for me, the findings pretty much confirm what I already understood as the facts in the case. She remains someone that I believe not worthy of the role of Commander-in-Chief. Alas, she has the good fortune to have the only alternative being someone even less worthy of the role.
UPDATE: Benjamin Wittes, a legitimate expert on these issues and hardly a rabid partisan, does an excellent job going through the speech and pulling out the issues most likely to be political fodder. Most notably:
For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. 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. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).
None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because 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.
This will be a politically damaging finding—as well it should be. It’s not uncommon for high-ranking officials to treat classification rules with a lack of deference. That said, it’s upsetting every time it happens. And notably in this case, this is not—as some prior reporting suggested—merely a case of Clinton’s passively receiving New York Times articles that contained, in an unmarked fashion, classified material. Comey makes clear that she both sent and received classified material and that “any reasonable person” in her shoes would have known better than to have such conversations.
These are strong words. And this paragraph will make for a lot of Republican talking points over the next few months. In all honesty, Clinton deserves these talking points every time. She should have known better.
His ultimate conclusion strikes me as eminently fair:
Put it all together and you get a pretty damaging case in the political arena. Clinton behaved in a fashion a reasonable person would not have with respect to discussing highly sensitive material in a non-secure setting. We know that “hostile actors” gained access to the systems of her correspondents. And we can’t rule out that her own system was compromised. It’s not a pretty picture.
And that said, it’s very clearly not the sort of thing the Justice Department prosecutes either. For the last several months, people have been asking me what I thought the chances of an indictment were. I have said each time that there is no chance without evidence of bad faith action of some kind. People simply don’t get indictment for accidental, non-malicious mishandling of classified material. I have followed leak cases for a very long time, both at the Washington Post and since starting Lawfare. I have never seen a criminal matter proceed without even an allegation of something more than mere mishandling of senstive information. Hillary Clinton is not above the law, but to indict her on these facts, she’d have to be significantly below the law.
Comey’s recommendation in this regard is unambiguous: “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
His reasoning, at least in my judgment, is clearly correct: “In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”
Comey’s full statement is a peculiar document because it is simultaneously emphatic that Clinton and her staff behaved inappropriately and equally emphatic that no reasonable prosecutor would want to bring a case against them. His reputation for personal probity and apolitical behavior is such that both statements must be taken seriously. The former should be profoundly embarassing to Clinton. The latter should put to rest the notion that she should face charges. If she is to face accountability for her email server, that accountability will and should be in the political realm.
I concur in that judgment. And, as I’ve said earlier in the post and in previous mentions, her conduct here is disqualifying. Except that she’s running against someone who disqualifies himself for the office on a near-daily basis.
James, I notice that you didn’t comment on the fact that her predecessors as SoS also used private email accounts for official business. Is Colin Powel et al also “not worthy”?
Look. This was never going to go down any other way.
And here’s the thing. Absent the totally unacceptable candidate being put forward by the GOP (trump), the landslide against the clintons would have been laughable for the next several Generations. As it is, however, she’s still got a shot at this thing.
“The presumptive Democratic nominee for president won’t be going to jail. But we knew that.”
For definitions of “we” which do not include Jenos, Jack, Guaneri, etc.
What a terrible press conference. Clinton was never going to be prosecuted, but Comey is either clueless or eager to inflict a little punishment on her. There were 110 emails with classified information sent or received on the Clinton server. What information was sent, originally, by her?
A quick check of Comey’s bio indicates that he was special consul to the Senate Whitewater committee, which is pretty incredible.
The obvious take is that the email server was all her fault. The classified intel was baseless garbage that would have been laughed at in court, in the same way that all of the weird corrupt Republican hack obsessions are regarding the Clintons. Bottom line: she’s corrupt, but square white guys from law enforcement and defense communities loathe for completely different reasons, none of which are to their credit.
@MarkedMan: I answered that question back in May in a posting called “Clinton Email Scandal and The ‘Powell Did it Too’ Defense.”
@Modulo Myself: Comey was involved in the Whitewater coverup/investigation? Why did anyone think we could trust him? He’s been in the Clinton’s back pocket for years!
Oh, are we still flogging that line of baloney? You mean when Colin Powell:
a) did not create his own personal server but just had a line for his laptop.
b) used private e-mails because State didn’t have outside e-mail capacity, not because he as trying to avoid FOIA.
c) cleared what he was doing with State IT.
d) was doing this before the current rules were in place.
You mean this thing that the IG concluded was not even remotely comparable? That thing Politifact rated as Mostly False? Put down the Clinton campaign press release and pay attention.
I am not surprised by this at all. I suspect the same thing would happen to a GOPer as well. Rules are for plebs, not monarchs. It’s nice to see Comey talking about things like mens rea and whether a conviction could be obtained. I just wish they applied that same thinking to the thousands of people they indict every year on equally or more flimsy cases.
I’m not surprised. Wittes is right, absent firm evidence of intentional mishandling, these cases are never prosecuted.
I have direct personal knowledge of an incident that resulted in classified material falling into the hands of an unauthorized foreign entity, but since the disclosure was inadvertent, the people involved were not prosecuted. The same action, taken intentionally, would certainly have resulted in prosecution, and very likely a lengthy prison term.
I’ve spent the last 6 years in compliance and to me, the key phrase, that I haven’t seen pulled out anywhere, was the following:
Culture is everything.
“110 emails sent or received on Clinton server contained classified information. Eight of those were top secret, the highest level of classification.” Can’t the FBI break down the amount that were sent and received? Was it 1 sent and 109 received? can the elaborate?
the only person you’re fooling here is yourself. And it’s embarrassing.
This is a blog, not a newspaper. But if this were a newspaper headline, it would win an award. And not the kind of award you want to win.
It is true that there is a double standard for high ranking politicians. First of all, they don’t have to go through the same security investigations the rest of us do. And wait months and years for the results.
I often wonder if the same standards were enforced for someone like Trump with his multiple bankruptcies and foreign financial entanglements whether he would be eligible to receive any level clearance. And yet, we give these guys (candidates, congressmen, and others) access to all kinds of secrets. Mostly on trust.
As it is, she’s the favorite.
@Hal_10000: Don’t forget Rice. She never even used an account for email for 4 years. Powell also stated that neither he nor his representatives took any specific measures to preserve Federal records in his email account. So he basically made no effort at all towards retention of anything
Powell did do it too and Rice did it, or had to as how could you be SOS for 4 years and never send an email through a personal or departmental account? Rove did it (abused the system) and deleted a ton – They all do it. It’s a control thing. When Trump accidentally tweets classified information I am sure that will get glossed over as well. Trump, who is comparing this to a former general who lied to the FBI and knowingly gave someone classified info who had no right to the info and still essentially got off. (no pun intended)
Secretary Rice (January 26, 2005 – January 20, 2009): Secretary Rice and her representative advised the Department and OIG that the Secretary did not use either personal or Department email accounts for official business. OIG searched selected records and did not find any evidence to indicate that the Secretary used such accounts during her tenure. OIG received limited responses on questionnaires sent to former Secretary Rice’s staff. Two staff recalled printing and filing emails, and only one acknowledged the use of personal email accounts for official business. OIG reviewed hard-copy and electronic records of Secretary Rice’s immediate staff and discovered that other staff who did not reply to the questionnaire did use personal email accounts to conduct official business.
Remember, too, that Patraeus lied to the FBI when first contacted, which I believe is a felony. So Trump is dead wrong when he says Patraeus was a much smaller thing.
Re: Clinton…someone here was predicting that she was going to be charged in a matter of days, a while back.
Wish I could remember who that was.
Clinton had 30,000 emails on her server, of which 3 I believe contained actual classified markings. This is more s–t happens or a dumb mistake or, maybe, bs on the part of the FBI.
Right, because a guy like Petraeus had real respect for classified intel. I’m sure stealing it in order to get laid was his first offense and an investigation of the top brass in the Pentagon would not have yielded a far higher number.
I’d also like a clarification of how many were classified and how many were “classified” (forwarded news story).
Comey is a Republican Bush appointee — he tried to justify wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a (another) failed anti-Hillary witch hunt based on the big Rethuglican lie that she broke the law, a lie which they’ve been telling for years.
He undermined himself claiming she was careless in participating in seven email chains (out of thousands, pfft) on an unclassified system. Apparently failing to notice that the official State Department system is also an unclassified system. #whoopsydaisy
Still waiting for the investigation into Bush/Rove deleting millions of emails from their private server housed at RNC headquarters, or of Colin Powell, who used private email exclusively and deleted them all. *crickets*
Americans are sick of these stupid witch hunts. Hillary: cleared again. Rinse, wash, repeat. Now let’s see if Psycho Donald, the bigot, narcissist, and pathological liar, gets cleared in his child rape case and his Trump U racketeering fraud case.
@C. Clavin: Actually, Patreus’ big issue was being caught on tape tellng his mistress that he knew he wasn’t supposed to give her the information as it was classified but that he was going to do it anyway.
Not really. It was the act of setting up the server in the first place that was the problem. Rules and procedures didn’t matter because they were inconvenient. That may be understandable and non-criminal but it isn’t good or appropriate. And it continued the culture at State that preceded HRC.
And people here keep saying James Joyner is a different kind of Republican. The only difference I see between him and Jenos, JKB Jack, etc. is that he uses slightly bigger words. Scratch the surface and the same sexism and bigotry comes out.
I expect his “I’m voting for Trump because Hillary is an icky women” post any day.
@Modulo Myself @Gustopher @DK: Comey was appointed as the director of the FBI by President Barack Obama. He’s a career DC official who’s served both parties.
Avoiding a felony charge is vindication; proof of lying and carelessness with state secrets warrants a hardy shrug.
I agree she should not have set up the email server. But how bad and careless was the culture at State? A hundred emails find their way onto an unprotected server–most of them not having classified markings. Meanwhile, the culture of the NSA somehow gave Edward Snowden the ability to walk away with the motherlode.
I really don’t think much of Hillary Clinton and she owns her paranoia. Nevertheless, it’s basically a fact for both Clintons that they are considered beneath contempt by people who do exactly the same things they do. (Often worse). New money loathes new money, and the new money that hates the Clintons is filled with idiots desperate to prove their own moral rectitude and sobriety even as they steal, drink, and cheat on their spouses. Given that she’s constantly stuck dealing with these people, part of me gets why she’s not chilled out about the type of system that throws a Whitewater special prosecutor at you every twenty years, just to see if the charges stick.
@DK: One of my heroes when I was young was F.B.I. Director Hoover. I wonder how he would have handled this.
You’re getting down-voted (not by me) because you’re being a rude dick to our host. An unnecessarily rude dick.
Many of us have issues on which we disagree with James or Doug or Steven, and we all air those disagreements, often very forcefully. But we’re here to talk issues, this is not a YouTube comments section, and minimal rules of courtesy should apply. None of us is paying for this venue. We are guests, and guests who disagree with their hosts should find ways to discuss differences without personal attacks on the people who make this little space available.
@James Joyner: Yes, Comey, a Republican appointed by the man who he voted against in 2012. Donated to Romney’s campaign. Lauded by the GOP and GOP pundits. A well respected man. Prepare for him to be torn apart by Trump and company (you know, the new GOP or hidden GOP, whatever you want to call them) for basically telling us what all the other lawyers on this blog had been saying for months. Negligent, Yes. Criminal, No.
IIRC several years ago one of Ted Kennedy’s bodyguards got busted for carrying an Uzi or something like it into an airport. Condemnation was tempered by understanding that Ted Kennedy had good reason to be more concerned about assassination than most politicians. Do we understand that Hillary has reason to be more concerned about privacy than the average government official? Not saying it excuses using a private server, but it’s understandable why she wanted it under her control. There really is a “vast right wing conspiracy” out to get her.
As to the issue, I guarantee you, that given one percent of the resources brought against Hillary Clinton, I could investigate and jail every single person on this comment thread. Have you lied on your taxes? Take stuff from work? Use a bit of inside information when investing? Use illegal drugs? Drive when not entirely sober? Lie to a cop? Cover up one of your kid’s transgressions? Download bootleg movies?
At any time in the last 25 years?
If you investigate ANYONE you will find a crime. Anyone, ever. So in this hyper-partisan, revenge-investigation culture, this hypocritical, insufferably self-righteous culture, maybe we should see if we can’t prioritize a bit. There is no evidence of intent here, period. There is no evidence of harm done. Every single one of you who has downloaded a bootleg is guilty of a federal offense and subject to prison. I don’t personally think you (or I) should be in prison. I think that’d be stupid.
The difference here is between those willing to be hypocrites and those not willing. I’m not. This zero tolerance, laws were broken and must be prosecuted crap is politically motivated hypocrisy, pure and simple.
@James Joyner: Let’s be clear: Comey is a professional with job security (his appointment runs until September 2023) and a well deserved reputation for integrity.
He is also a Republican whose prior appointments until Obama selected him for FBI were all GOP political appointments. He developed a distaste and opinion of HRC while serving as Deputy Special Counsel for the Senate’s Whitewater investigation/witchhunt.
His decision today shows that he is a man of integrity and professionalism but some of his wording was a bit surprising. An example:
The choice of the word “extremely” seems misplaced and, imo, shows an intent to convey his personal view of her rather than what the evidence actually showed. He knew he couldn’t use “gross” or “willful” so he went as close as he could.
None of the findings he recited were at odds with the perception that she shouldn’t have set up the personal servers but had no intent on putting information at risk. Notice how Comey carefully states that the “e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff” but did not note that security measures were in place and security experts retained. The servers were “unclassified” but not “unsecure”.
Comey, like all of us, is human and he, very gently, put his finger on the scales just a bit.
It seems that some people (not James, at least not explicitly) view the main difference between what Powell/Rice et al did with their personal emails and what Hillary did with hers is that she set up a private email server as opposed to using Hi***@gm***.com or whatever equivalent the former SoS’s did. To the tech savvy, this would be a plus rather than a minus – or at least potentially a plus). Setting up your own email server is not that unusual and used to be done all the time by small businesses as they felt it was more secure and “professional” than using an AOL account. Which by the way, is the private email account that Colin Powell used. Even in 2009, that was just embarassing…
For those who want to understand why I feel this has always been a nothing-burger (TM Kevin Drum) this is a good article from Newsweek going into a fair amount of depth. It came out about the time that we found out Rice’s staff and Colin Powell himself (and, I presume, his staff too) were using private email accounts. It explains why what Powell, Rice and Clinton did was not a violation of the rules.
Pretty bad, IMO. Again, remember where I’m coming from – Compliance. Anytime your top officials/executives have one set of rules for themselves and another for everyone else, it is bad.
Rules are there for a reason. If the rule is bad, change it. Don’t ignore it.
Particularly in large organizations, the impact of people knowing that the rules don’t apply to the boss(es) is invariably toxic.
Yes, that’s true.
But that press conference was beyond the pale. And it may have been illegal, itself (DOJ rules on disclosing information about ongoing investigations).
Can anyone name another case when someone not being indicted was treated to that kind of public shaming?
Er, you honestly think that it’s better for national security, etc. if Colin Powell used a Hotmail account or whatever it was? You really want pimply guys who work for Bill Gates to have access to that stuff?
The only reason to get your knickers in a twist over Clinton using a server is if you’ve convinced yourself that she was using it to conceal nefarious purposes. I suppose that it’s possible that she was using email to trade nuclear weapons for Clinton Foundation donations or to carry on some sort of menage-a-trois with ISIS members, but forgive me if I have my doubts that the emails went much beyond the gefilte fish controversy and other normal parts of the job.
This just in, the FBI just cleared James Earl Ray as they reviewed and agreed with his
“I didn’t intend to kill the coon. I was just shooting at some pigeons and his head got in the way”.
The FBI admonished his careless insouciance of hunting restrictions in an urban environment
but came to the realization that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” in a rigged all white insider jury system in the beltway….er, Memphis.
Breaking news….Sirhan didn’t intend to kil RFK, he was merely cleaning his gun in the pantry when it slipped and hit the floor shooting 6 times….
Probably with blackmail. Hoover was corrupt and should have been dismissed in the 50s.
That’s part of how i know that Hillary Clinton is abnormally trustworthy. If you spend $100 million investigating someone and all you got is that a gramma ain’t ultra-robotically perfect when using email, which she doesn’t really understand, at the state department, where IT is so hopelessly under-resourced that nobody who needs to function in real life can do things “properly”, then you’ve basically approved them them for sainthood.
Just to add to my previous comment about the use of a private server being a reasonable choice, it has only really now hit me that Powell was using an AOL account. I would assume by the time Rice was there her staff were using gmail accounts. I can’t speak for AOL, but the explicit terms of service with gmail is that they can, and do, read your mail. In fact, that is why they give you a free account. They mine your mail, sent and received, for key words and phrases that will let them sell your info to third parties. Email back and forth about a new car, or joy that you are pregnant, or that you really don’t like Hillary Clinton, and they will sell someone lucrative popup adds when you start browsing. I assume this is true for Yahoo and everyone else in the free email business, excepting Apple. And all of these companies are notorious for leaking user information.
So the idea that setting up her own server makes this worse is just BS. At least it was under her control. As it says in the article I linked to above, anything that is classified is not supposed to be on any email, including state.gov email. But the use of private email is very common in the State department. That may be bad practice, but it is not unusual, and not just limited to SoS but to many many staff members.
@Jc: My post was in agreement with Comey. I agreed with Comey’s conclusions a year before he made them! I’m not criticizing Comey, merely defending him from the accusation that he issued a statement uncomplimentary of Clinton out of partisan malice.
He would have tried to blackmail Hillary.
@Tyrell: He’d have ignored and quashed the investigation if she had been a friend and framed her if an enemy.
Well, this certainly doesn’t put this issue to bed.
1. I confirms the “crooked” Hillary confirmation bias, because she not only woefully mishandled classified information, just not apparently will intent.
2. And that “intent”. Suddenly, for a member of the Combine, it is important whereas there have been many recent prosecutions of private citizens for regulation violations where intent was specifically not required. Hmmm?
3. Bill and Loretta decided to give the appearance of impropriety last week.
4. So right now, the blogs are full of discussions of equality before the law. Corruption of the law by high officials.
5. It is documented Clinton mishandled classified information. But no action is to be taken. I wouldn’t be surprised to see lots of stories of honorable people who accidentally mishandled classified information in situations where the risk of compromise was near non-existent, but still reported their error and had any chance at higher office destroyed by that notation in their file. But such doesn’t apply to Hillary who has spent months, with State Dept. help, trying to hid here actions.
6. Wildcard – one of the foreign governments or private hackers who have her emails decides to dribble them out as we approach the election
7. This further undermines the faith in government
Oh, and talk of fundamentally transformed. This erosion of equality before the law goes to the very heart of why the Industrial Revolution happened in NW Europe and was able to migrate to the US so easily. It is the reason so many have been raised out of extreme poverty and continue to be so.
But the notion that a private server is bad while some free email account is just AOK is a standard line in the right-wing blogosphere. You can find endless articles that go out of their way to “explain” this.
God forbid that these clowns figure out that it would actually be worse to conduct the affairs of state via a Yahoo account. Not only would you be subjecting the contents to data mining but the odds are higher that the account would be hacked.
James and Doug are the issue.
James is Jenos, Doug is JKB, there is no realistic difference between them. In fact I posit in terms of real damage caused, James and Doug are actually worse than Jenos or JKB. They are the reasonable face of the Republican party of the past 50+ years. The sexism, the bigotry, the racism, the hatred, that is James and Doug. When Doug provides legal justification for Jim Crow voting right laws, when James provides moral justification for sexist pay discrimination they are no different that Jenos shouting ni@@er or JKB shouting fa@@ot.
Why I do what I do?
1) When it comes to politics I focus on the people behind the policy and their followers, why would they do this, how come? When I asked those questions of James and Doug, I got the same answers as when I asked it of Jenos or JKB.
2) I went through all the reasonable reasons as to why James and Doug are still Republicans. They grew up in the party, there friends and family were, etc., but then I came to a point where I realized supporting Republicans means you’re supporting bigotry and hatred. It is their choice.
3) Too many slip away after the fact, I’m leaving a marker in my small way, James is Jenos and Doug is JKB.
My point in all of this is; James and Doug are the issue, otherwise would you and I be here commenting if Jenos or JKB were hosting this blog. They are the respectable face of an unrespectable party.
“Not a crime” certainly does not mean no wrongs were committed. Criminality is something completely out of bounds; it is possible to make many mistakes on the field inside the lines. The question is whether her behavior and actions will change in response to having been found to have made a serious unforced error.
It is my sense that she is more adaptable and tractable than her opponent who seems to dig in and fire back rather than make amendments.
I think that she committed wrongs short of actual crimes, but she is more likely to learn from a screwup than the other guy.
Because they used Commercial email….not private. There’s a difference. At least there is in the minds of non-partisans.
@SKI: Especially when the Culture is of ineptitude. DOS is an incompetent organization and one of the primary reasons our policy and execution of policy stinks. Even the good SOSs they’ve had couldn’t fix it. Its not much different than the VA in that regard.
@James Brown 32:
So you want AOL, the owner of the Huffington Post, to be able to access the secretary of state’s email.
It’s so easy to be a right-wing nutjob. Simply embrace crazy ideas such as the one above, while remaining completely oblivious of the obvious flaws.
1) Powell wasn’t routinely using his e-mail for classified information. It’s the kind of information being sent, not who has it, that’s the issue here.
2) I don’t think Clinton was doing anything nefarious. What has my knickers in a twist is that there is one law for the elites and one law for us. People are prosecuted and jailed every day for violating the law with no ill intent.
@James Joyner: That is interesting because I took Comey’s negative comments (that really were extraneous to the question) as having been stated entirely out of partisan animus. I also conclude that you don’t because you share the same animus, so it’s perfectly logical to you to include them.
@James Joyner: I agree. If it was flipped I know a Democrat would get a dig in as well. And people on here know that. I get SKI’s point, and Jeremy R commenting as well above, but it is to be expected and it was not that big a deal to me. I guess it is a big deal to others. The big deal to me is that this is done in my mind. I am ready to move on to more important discussions, like foreign policy, immigration, taxes, trade….not email handling, hand sizes, or Libertarian candidates…
You were the one who claimed that a private server was worse.
Are you now going to retract that statement or are you going to just pretend that AOL=better argument wasn’t very good after all?
I’m gonna laugh my nuts off ten years from now when it comes out that there was some super-unconstitutional terrible no-good Maximally-Impeachable thing that B-rock and Hillz schemed up, and which the GOP almost discovered several times, but were so idiotically distracted by BENGHAZIMAIL! that it never came to light until too late.
@SKI: Bingo–which is why Party sycophants like the ones constantly commenting on this blog are undermining the country. Anything THEIR team does is excusable because they can say: “Well so and so from the other Party did the same thing and got away with it”.
Boot licking Democrats and Republicans are destroying the political apparatus of this County…by only demanding accountability from the “other” party instead of their own.
Little known fact: Comey also wrote the headline on this page.
The jibe I’ve heard bouncing around is Obama plans to pardon Bryan Nishimura in the coming months.
Thankfully, we can just move on from this sordid episode.
@Pch101: Yes, it is better than private in many cases and especially in the case of a small operation like a server dedicated to HRC–one person. Commercial email has dedicated security staff that institute best practices…it’s “mid-shelf: security.
If you want a private server, you must hire your own security professionals to protect it. Its obviously Clinton left out that part. Quite a few companies have outsourced their email operations to commercial email like gmail, yahoo, etc. for this reason.
Secretary Powell, is that you? Who else would know the answer to this? Per the OIG:
Secretary Powell has publicly stated that, during his tenure as Secretary, he “installed a laptop computer on a private line” and that he used the laptop to send emails via his personal email account to his “principal assistants, individual ambassadors, and foreign minister colleagues.” Secretary Powell’s representative advised the Department in 2015 that he did not retain those emails or make printed copies.
At a minimum, Secretary Powell should have surrendered all emails sent from or received in his personal account that related to Department business. Because he did not do so at the time that he departed government service or at any time thereafter, Secretary Powell did not comply with Department policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act. In an attempt to address this deficiency, NARA requested that the Department inquire with Secretary Powell’s “internet service or email provider” to determine whether it is still possible to retrieve the email records that might remain on its servers. The Under Secretary for Management subsequently informed NARA that the Department sent a letter to Secretary Powell’s representative conveying this request. As of May 2016, the Department had not received a response from Secretary Powell or his representative.
I am sure that with all those emails, none of them would have been deemed classified had they ever been retained, or apparently known about. Yeah…..okay
@James Brown 32:
Right. Yahoo and other such accounts never get hacked. Oh, wait a minute…
I’m going to have to move over to the right wing. They obviously have better drugs over there.
Hey, I’m going to agree with Calvin! What Petraeus did was deliberate and, arguably worse. He fed classified information to his mistress on purpose so she could write a hagiography of him. Anyone making the “but Petraeus!” argument should realize that he got off easy too.
@Pch101: Frankly, you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you aren’t going to hire a cyber security professional to secure your private server–IT WILL GET HACKED—not an if–but WHEN.
At the very least, a commercial account gives one the ability to hide in plain sight with hundreds of millions of other email accounts. Commercial data mining is looking for commercial data and related search terms–not Geo Political related data and search terms–because the expectation is that it wont be there.
If ones account on commercial email is SPECIFICALLY targeted–that’s another story but even then…the commercial companies have “mall security” measures in place to slow down the non-sophisticated attacker. So given a choice between an unsecured private server and a commercial account…the commercial account is the better option in the short term. Long term, they both equally suck.
I don’t disagree in the slightest about the GOP. No one who’s read anything I’ve ever written over the course of the last decade has any doubt where I stand on the GOP.
That’s different than equating an empty-headed bigot like JKB/Jenos with James Joyner. JKB is not trying to be fair or just or honest; I believe James is. JKB/Jenos are indifferent to facts; James is not. I don’t see a lot of James defending the GOP lately, and I see no evidence at all of him defending Trump.
I viscerally dislike this culture of intolerance on the Left. I dislike this all-or-nothing, black-or-white, us-or-them mentality because I don’t see how we have a country if we take that approach. People have the right to be wrong, just as we have a right to argue with them. More to the point, if we try to excommunicate from the national discourse anyone who disagrees with us, we have no mechanism for uncovering our own errors.
For political dialog to work – indeed for the United States to work – we have to find a way to get past this insane level of polarization. Yes, I do think “they” are mostly responsible, but “we” are doing our part as well to demonize rather than disagree, to attack rather than challenge, to personalize rather than to examine facts and explore feelings.
And I’m not using the plural ‘we’ as a weasel word – I’m as guilty as anyone.
But regardless of who is at fault, we need to agree on a destination. I hope we all agree that in the end what we want is a free, strong and good United States. We don’t get to that goal by treating our political opposition as beyond the pale. Trump? Yes, he is beyond the pale, but if we insist on equating people like Joyner with Trump, we close off any possibility for some sort of national consensus.
Here’s my read on Joyner. Is he a sexist? To the degree that most men of his age are, probably. Is he a racist? No. Is he sufficiently alarmed by racism? In my opinion, no. But moderate cultural sexism and insufficient awareness of racism are not the makings of the next Hitler.
I have someone who I like and admire: my father’s wife. She is religious, conservative, likes guns, listens to Limbaugh, is no doubt less than pure on race or sexism. But she is, despite all of that, a good person. A kind and generous and forgiving person. We can condemn and attack her, we can try to excommunicate her from decent society, but she’ll still be around, she’ll still be kind and religious and all the rest, and I for one don’t want to crush her beneath the weight of my righteousness, I want to bring her over, at least as far as she can go.
Many people who are wrong (by our lights) are deliberately stupid, offensive and genuinely disgusting. I don’t think most are. And if we can’t find a way to some kind of peace with people like my dad’s wife, or people like Joyner, then we do not have a country. If we insist on treating all political opponents as equally at fault, define them solely by the worst elements on their side, we essentially strengthen the very people we both oppose.
Joyner et al provide us with a place where we can air disagreements, argue points, and do it all in a bipartisan venue. They could easily cut off comments. They don’t. That alone I think demands a degree of courtesy from us.
@Loviatar: Ohhh if only everyone else came to same conclusions about politics that you have we could all sing kummbaya. Go stand in a corner–dick.
No, it confirms that the folks who said that Hillary was going to jail were woefully misguided and misinformed and, worse, wrong on the merits. Their credibility is shot.
That’s really the only takeaway, dude. Given a pretty good issue and a built-in liability, Trump and his surrogates didn’t say, “In my administration, no one’s going to have a private e-mail server.”
Nah, that would be too reasonable. Instead, they went full Benghazi with pretty much the same result. Hillary was exonerated on the overcooked accusations, and left untouched on the legit ones. High five, guys.
@Pch101: Yes, because everyone that’s come to the same conclusion as you must be a right winger. You think like a light switch. And if you think commercial email companies are staffed to read emails–or even target whose email to read…you belong on the winger sites.
@James Brown 32:
I’m not sure why we even bother to have government IT departments when we could just move everyone over to Earthlink. Thanks for your fantastic insights.
@Pch101: Did I say they didn’t get hacked–dude give it up–you’re embarrassing yourself. No boot can taste that good.
@michael reynolds: Fancy that…an old ugly white guy with some sense. cheers.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: He’s in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position. Clinton violated protocols and not going hard after that would have smacked of cover-up. At the same time, she probably committed no crime, or at least one that we’d go after a senior official over. So he threaded the needle.
Ordinarily, I want my law enforcement people to STFU unless they’re charging somebody. I don’t care what they think, only what they can prove. But this is a highly public case involving the highest level public official. I didn’t listen to the speech, merely read through it. It struck me as reasonable given circumstances.
@SKI: Also worth noting that when Comey says the culture at State was less careful with classified material than other departments, he’s comparing State to departments that often lean strongly toward overclassification, restricting access to any material that might possibly become embarrassing.
Former DOJ spokesperson matt miller:
It’s so sad to see people succumb to mental illness.
For those who question whether or not Google reads your emails, this from 2 years ago:
Do people, as opposed to bots, read your email there? There is probably a vanishingly small chance of that, although not zero, as we know that they have turned over at least one person sending child pornogrphy to the FBI.
On a security level though, the more important thing is that there are people at Google who can initiate searches in email and there are people who can look at those emails. The system to do that is in place. And of course, it is a business decision as to whether they sell your actual name as part of the list or just provide a more private way to connect you with advertisers or others interested in someone with your interests and demographics.
I’m not saying they are the devil, I’m just pointing out that the system is very vulnerable to an agency that thought it was worth a few dollars to position someone on the inside as a gmail sysadmin.
This also doesn’t surprise me, considering that Hillary is a lawyer and I suspect most of the people she dealt with every day are lawyers, plus that this was the government. This was a combination of (incompetence by someone who probably didn’t know how to use computers very well ) x (incompetence at the agency at figuring out how to put an email system together that H. could use outside the building) x (clueless people.) Oh, and Hillary’s innate sloppiness. Had she not decided to run for POTUS this would have never turned into the hooraw’s nest that it has become.
….needless to say, the guys who are best at putting secure systems together are ex-hackers….
While your comment on not being close minded makes sense in the abstract, I can’t get beyond the fact that we no longer have an opposition party. We have a Republican party whose mission, and for some of its members, sole mission is to destroy the US government. James is a member of that party.
How do you converse with someone who does not see you as worthy of consideration and even when considered sees you as second class. The Republican party is determined to hurt me and those who look like me, they’ve hurt my sister who only wishes equality, they’ve hurt my friends, who want nothing other than to love who they want to love, they’ve hurt my coworkers who only wish to pray to their GOD in peace. Why is it incumbent upon me to cater to these bigots, what makes you think they are even open to being convinced?
You statement that moderate cultural sexism and insufficient awareness of racism are not the makings of the next Hitler tells me that you’ve never been at the end of either. To someone at the end of it, moderate cultural sexism is sexism and insufficient awareness of racism is racism. Additionally, while those things may not be the makings of the next Hitler, it will enable the next Hitler. Who do you think makes the Southern Strategy work? It sure the hell aren’t the Jenos and JKBs of the world
Here is my take on James Joyner; he is defined by his choices, his words and his actions. He is a very smart, sophisticated man, who has outgrown a lot of his cultural background. However, he has chosen to continue to be a Republican, which means he is supportive of a bigoted hateful agenda. James chooses not to participate in good government, he chooses to participate in misogynistic, racist, economic warfare governing. All I’ve done is call him out on those choices.
Finally, courtesy, like respect is a privilege, it is easily given and can just as easily be lost. James and Doug get no extra credit from me for having a comment section, it is to their benefit to have you and others like you support and contribute to their site. I am rarely discourteous, what I am is blunt and intolerant of sidestepping an issue. James chooses to continue to be a Republican, which means he is supportive of their bigoted, hateful agenda. #truth
When it comes to stealing; I’m afraid of the thug, but I fear the banker. Its usually the reasonable, respectable banker who actually does the worst damage.
@James Joyner: All I’m noting is that he couldn’t give his
what it wanted–an indictment, so he gave them what he could–a statement from the highest law enforcement official in the land that “Crooked Hillary” is also “Careless about National Security Hillary.”
Since it’s your party, too I’m not surprised at all that you have no problem with it. Stands like this one are why you keep getting hammered by some of the people on the thread who are neither as nice or as courteous as Mr. Reynolds. I admire his ability to take the higher road and seek the advice of his better angels. I have neither quality in abundance.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: But Clinton was in fact incredibly careless about national security (or, at least, Top Secret information). Even she admits that. As noted upthread, I didn’t listen to the speech so maybe there was something in the tone that was over the top. In written form, it struck me as perfectly reasonable and certainly nonpartisan.
@Loviatar: I’ve repeatedly denounced Trump and the growing strain of the Republican Party that supports him. I don’t know whether you’ve seen my May posting “The Republican Party Jumps the Shark” but I’ve concluded that there are so few of the Jon Huntsman and Brent Scowcroft types left in the party that I can no longer pretend that it’s my party. If Joe Biden—or virtually anyone other than Hillary Clinton—were the Democratic nominee, I’d have endorsed him/her. As it is, I’ve said that I’ll vote for her as the lesser of evils if I think Virginia is in danger of going Trump; otherwise, I’ll likely vote for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, the nominal Libertarians who were Republican governors in the not so distant past.
James, if you think Hillary’s violation of email protocols disqualifies her from being President, what do you think of Presidents Ronald Reagan and GHWB, who were up to their necks in a scandal in which the US government engaged in a conspiracy with a hostile foreign power to send arms to a right wing terrorist group in violation of federal law?
I guess all that’s gone down the memory hole, right? Or maybe IOKIYAR.
Clinton was raked over the coals for this and admitted she was wrong. Nothing else can be done to her and she has promised to do better. Why cant we just move on, the way we moved on after Reagan and Bush committed offences that not only directly violated the letter of the law, but even violated constiutional separation of powers? All the other conservatives can chime on this if they can.
To all the people still talking about Powell and Rice as some kind of justification, the FBI investigation was narrow in that it only looked at the unauthorized disclosure of classified information to determine if a crime had been committed under two federal statutes.
All their investigative efforts were toward that end, and so they did not investigate if using private email is wise or legal. They did not investigate whether Clinton violated the records act or other requirements to preserve government business.
The mere fact that Powell and Rice had private email accounts is irrelevant because they weren’t the subject of criminal investigations about mishandling classified information on their private email.
@MatttT: that’s a fair point.
@James Brown 32:
Here’s a direct quote from Comey’s press conference:
You might want to read the last sentence a couple of times. It is a little hard to reconcile with your assertion that commercial accounts are somehow automagically “better”, wouldn’t you agree?
On to the next inevitable Hillary scandal that you will all no doubt sweep under the rug.
The CGI? Well all politicians are greedy duplicitous snakes. Why must we always single out her?
I guess the cigar up the vag in the Oval Office wasn’t enough for you boomers. Another round of the hillbilly grifter neocons please.
It would be wise to ask why there is this pattern of State Department heads resorting to AOL, private servers, smoke signals and the like.
Some possible answers:
-They are nefarious evildoers using the US as their fascist playpens!
-They are terrorist agents seeking to use email to spread communist Muslim terrorism to American schoolchildren!
-State Department IT and some of the protocols kind of suck for those who want to be productive and do their jobs
I’m going for the latter. Figure out why the foreign ministry of the most powerful country in the world couldn’t figure out how to allow its top official to use a Blackberry in the office or to set her up with a mobile device with two email accounts (which were not exactly ridiculous requests), and you’ll know what to do next (i.e. give them better gear.)
If you were helping to run said powerful country, would you want the procedures manual and some IT geeks to keep you from being productive? I’d sure as hell hope not.
Unless you have actually changed your party affiliation, it is, in fact, your party. You are trying to have it both ways.
I switched from Republican to independent in ’92, because I felt like the GOP had morphed into something I did not want to be a part of anymore. What are you waiting for?
But that’s the point exactly: we don’t and can’t ever know whether Powell, who erased all his e-mails, shared or received classified information, simply because there was no criminal investigation of the matter, and there was not criminal investigation of the matter, because he was not a political football.
Well, all government employees have private email. Including me! There’s nothing unusual about that – the problems come when one uses that email for government business and it’s even worse if you use private email exclusively for government business which is what Clinton and her team chose to do.
Everyone I know who has a government-issued PED cannot use personal email on it (I work for the DoD). Carrying two devices is not a big deal and most people prefer it to keep the private separate from the government (not to mention that all government IT equipment is subject to monitoring and people naturally don’t want the government monitoring their private communications). That’s why everyone uses AT LEAST two devices unless you happen to be the President.
Secondly, her office is a secure facility and, for obvious reasons, PED’s are not allowed in secured areas regardless of agency. Most people simply use a regular unclassified desktop computer in secured facilities, but Clinton never uses computers.
We know Republicans will keep throwing mud – it’s what they do, it’s all they’ve got.
Thing is, you guys have spent 25 years throwing mud and none of it has stuck. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Right?
A reasonable interpretation would be that Clinton is not exactly a techie and her people, knowing that about her, chose not to burden her with switching emails and a second device. No, that doesn’t explain the server, but it is a rational explanation for her single device approach.
My wife is a bit younger than Hillary but is obsessive about cutting weight from her purse since her back tends to go out. She would never voluntarily carry a second device. Neither would I, incidentally – I have one pocket devoted to one iPhone.
I do not now nor have I ever lived in a state—and I’ve lived in more than most—where one registers by party. I’ve been a Republican in the sense that, with very few exceptions, I’ve voted Republican come election day. I live in Virginia, which has become a relatively purple state. It’s possible that there will be a Republican candidate for something that I might vote for here. But I won’t vote for Trump.
@MatttT: heck, they over classify because when was anyone ever punished for that?
She’s definitely not a techie but having two devices is not a matter of technical expertise and (presumably) unlike your wife Clinton had a sizable staff, so carrying another phone is not a big deal. Plus Clinton herself suggested getting a second device in one of the released emails.
I don’t think anything explains the server, it never made sense to me.
Politics is all about choices…sometimes it’s even about picking the lesser of two evils…by the way, pointing out hypocrisy is hardly licking anyone’s footwear…and, actually, the biggest things that are destroying the political apparatus of this country include the lack of compromise, the lack of working across the aisle, the idea that one’s own political base is all that should be listened to, and talk of making sure that presidents only serve one term…these are the problems with our government…and it doesn’t help anyone’s problems with this issue to compare it to political assassinations…oh please…it’s amazing how this issue is causing some people, who might otherwise be rational, to write all manner of irrational things…
What she did was dumb, but not criminal–just like the Ambassador profiled in the Politico piece from last week, who left top secret briefing materials open, on his desk, during a photo shoot–for a picture that was then used on the cover of a magazine. I’m pretty sure that members of Congress privy to security briefings on both sides of the aisle have let information slip unwittingly. (I’m also reminded that during one of the Bengahzi! hearings, Jason Chaffetz blurted out something like “you can’t have that picture up there, that’s classified!” during a televised hearing (it wasn’t).) The tricky thing with letting people know about secret stuff is that sometimes they aren’t careful with it. Intent does actually matter a lot. Petraeus trying to help his girlfriend write her book by knowingly and intentionally handing over information…Edward Snowden walking out with tons of classified information…these things are actually different when prosecuting.
That Speaker Ryan and others have turned their fire on Comey is actually pretty disgusting.
@NW-Steve: Actually, you might want to read the middle sentences where he admitted that the FBI was unlikely to find the tracks of a sophisticated attacker–who would be there to spy and not be discovered.
The best assumption, upon learning that there were no security professionals tending the server, is that both were hacked. The small fish, who typically go after commercial accounts are not sophisticated and therefore are more easily discoverable. The big fish, state-sponsored hackers, easily erase there tracks…If you don’t catch them on the system….they’ll vanish without a trace after they’ve got what they came for.
Of course, blind partisans will go straight for the parts of Comeys speech they want to latch onto though.
Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s say the Democrats win back one or both Houses of Congress next election and the congressional Democrats form a Select Committee to get to the truth about the causes and course of the Iraq War. Would James and the various conservative types here be OK with the committee hauling in Colin Powell and having the Inspector General and the FBI go over his email practices? I’m pretty sure the answer would be No and it would be labeled a partisan witch hunt.
Now the Democrats don’t usually do this kind of thing but the Republicans have certainly set the bar here and I have a feeling that the Republicans could be dreading a time when the Democrats regain the majority in either House. Just sayin’.
@Jim Brown 32:
Actually, that is a horrible assumption. It is stupid to presume that there wasn’t security on the server given that if that where true, Comey would have said so. What he said was there wasn’t a full-time Information security employee whose sole job was to monitor the server. That implies that there were security guys retained but that they weren’t full time. It would be
ludicrous to have a full tine ISO for a single server.
The Secretary of State is fourth in the line of the order of presidential succession. It’s not exactly a low level gig that doesn’t involve much travel.
If I was the Secretary of State and was given the sort of response that you provided, then I would be inclined to go around you, too. I would want solutions to my problem, not excuses (even if the excuses are polite.)
Mind you, I would agree that it’s poor protocol to use personal email accounts for business. (That’s a practice that I generally to try to avoid with my own small business; I can’t imagine that I would be less stringent about it if I was running State.) But it is completely understandable that someone who is constantly on the road would want to be provided with decent mobile tech instead of a bunch of rationalizations as to why it can’t be done.
Heh, the last sentence of your post reminds me of this comment on an earlier thread:
Just about everyone who followed up on that got the right answer. James Comey is now being vilified as incompetent or compromised on right wing websites every where and Trump is saying that Bill Clinton bribed the Attorney General. All of that was as predictable as tomorrow’s sunrise.
@Jim Brown 32:
You’ve Got Fail!
So should the next Secretary of State get Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo? We could all benefit from your guidance here.
@Jim Brown 32:
Actually, I did read the middle sentences, amazingly enough, since I included them in my original quote.
Still haven’t heard a cogent argument as to why the private server, that might well be compromised, is clearly inappropriate compared to a commercial service that definitely has been compromised.
If I might make a suggestion try arguing rather than insulting (e.g. “blind partisan”). For starters, you know literally nothing about me or my views, so your characterization is not supportable.
People here may well find it more persuasive.
@Hal_10000: But wait, Mark Levin on today’s show was saying that the treatment of Petraeus was unjust because his mistress did have clearance. Was Levin lying? Would a conservative who loves the country more than Barack and Hillary do such a thing? Loyal American that Levin is?
There are some legitimate questions on the email controversy. Like was Hillary’s server as ineffectual as the DOS server? If so, an it appears as this is the case, then this case is about nothing. What’s more telling is Comey inserting his opinion on the manner. As TOP COP his job was to decide his course of action and explaining this reasoning. Comey has no business in opining on the nature of Hillary’s conduct except as it relates to his finding. Did he he exceed this and inserted himself in the political realm? If so then this may lead to his resignation if his statements are found to be unethical.
@James Joyner: And we disagree. That’s all there is. And I don’t actually give a rat flock about which one wins. I find it interesting that you are trying to convince me–or are you trying to convince you?
@Andy: I never understood the server either. On the other hand, I also didn’t care and still don’t.
Without in any way defending HRC’s mishandling of classified emails, I have to call bull sh!t on this. There is no comparison — Petraeus deliberately and willingly transmitted Top Secret information to someone he knew did not have either the clearance for it or a need to know. That’s not inept, it’s not careless — it’s spitting on the rules.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
I don’t think the email server is difficult to understand at all. Combination of several factors: non-techie person wants single device that is easy to use for email, as well as keeping her personal emails private. Combine that with the general disaster that is the IT Dept at State, and this is kind of the obvious outcome.
It was 2009(!), and no Secretary of State had ever used their own (state.gov) email system. WTF?
@SKI: Have you been following this case? Obviously not because the part time network administrator was interviewed about the steps he took to secure the server. No professional would say his tasks were anything remotely close to best practices for server security. He even admitted such.
I mean… people come here and spout off and haven’t read a lick of information outside of partisan punditry. These are 101 level computer security questions. The answers dont change because you don’t like the scrutiny it brings to your preferred candidate.
So carrying two phones, or having a minion (being 4th in line to the Presidency, you get minions, natch) carry one or both your phones is a problem you want a solution to and no excuses! Ok then, it’s pretty clear where you put your priorities.
It all depends on how it’s compromised. Accounts on commercial services are usually compromised because of users do something dumb, but the compromise is limited to those user accounts. The gmail backbone is still secure.
Secondly, running an email server competently requires a lot of specialized skills. For more, see this.
Coming from the private sector, I tend to have the expectation that the response to a reasonable request should be to set a timetable for getting it done, rather than tolerating a lengthy explanation for why nothing can possibly be done.
Ha…Republican congress-critters are calling for an investigation of the investigation!!!
Because, as with the 9 investigations of Benghazi, there are unanswered questions……
@Hal_10000: @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: @DrDaveT: Paula Broadwell was an Army Intelligence officer, so she certainly had a TS/SCI. But a clearance isn’t a library card. Petraeus could have shared the information with her if she had an operational Need to Know. He did it so that she could write an open source book. That’s not official business.
Both Petraeus and Clinton deliberately violated the rules and their duty to safeguard highly classified information. He intentionally gave it to one trusted individual with a clearance. She carelessly gave it to an unknown number of untrusted people who are enemies of the country. I could argue it either way as to which transgression was worse. I don’t think either of them ought to be in jail.
How do we know that? He deleted all the emails no? There is no way to know what you say it true. Maybe we should launch a 100 million dollar investigation to be sure, becase … national security, rule of law, blagh blagh.
According to Comey, she “used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain.” As NPR noticed, her campaign issued a statement less than a year ago implying that the total number of devices she used was only two. NPR also said this:
Good point. But if the “numerous” devices were used serially, not in parallel, then I think it’s hard to understand how the total would add up to “numerous” in a period of just four years. Most people use the same phone for two years or more.
Maybe she actually carried zero devices, and the total added up to “numerous” because her habit was to spontaneously grab the personal device of any nearby staffer. Who knows?
Comey opened the door to a lot of new questions, and ‘I haven’t been indicted so it’s time to move on’ is not going to be a strong answer.
The Benghazi balloon eventually collapsed because no one with the stature of Comey was calling her a liar. Comey really did raise new questions, and he is giving the GOP a lot to work with. This happened because she gave Comey a lot to work with.
My personal theory about the whole thing is that Bill has been unconsciously trying to sabotage her (this idea came up in 2008 and now it’s coming up again). I see too many past and current acts that look politically stupid.
I have to say this is all kind of amazing to me.
Compared to the admitted war crimes of Bush and Co., the treasonous economic suppression by Congressional Republicans, the blatant voter suppression and the abridging of women’s rights going on in Red States…this current Clinton faux scandal is nothing. And yet the right wing echo chamber has the bandwidth swallowed up with it.
This country has become retarded at the hands of the GOP.
Too many of the wounds are self-inflicted. I am not happy when leaders in my party do things that are politically stupid.
The problem I have with your take on this is your obvious attempt to stretch the meaning of the word “carelessly” when referring to Hillary. Deliberate does mean intentional, which is exactly what Petraeus was pinned on. However, reaching for “careless” kind of exposes your bias against Hillary Clinton. And that’s ok – just don’t try to make more out of what is actually there. This is likely a careless mistake, nothing more or less! But no! I have to read/listen to you and other conservatives give credence to this “rigged system”, as Trump would put it, rather than focus on rigged systems most people actually care about (i.e. those pertaining to the economy).
I’m sorry James but this dog won’t hunt! And if it were not for the total disdain you and conservatives in general have for the Clintons, this would have been treated the same way Powell’s and Rice’s private emails were treat.
Republican politics is indeed making the country dumber! I really can not see how anyone can explain it any different. Conservatives understand the nature of the media’s drive for controversy. So they pretty much use it to stir crap so much that the stink gets on everyone. Conservatives love the expression “both sides do it” because if voters actually believe that, they don’t stand much of a chance of being held solely accountable for the brain dead things they are doing (like going down in history as being the most do-nothing Congress ever!).
And Trump, with his typical pigheaded short-sightedness, isn’t taking advantage of it. Instead of focusing on the valuable (to the GOP) pieces of Comey’s statement, he’s attacking Comey’s credibility.
Any candidate who actually knew what he’s doing would have issued a statement of disappointment in the decision but trust in the FBI and the Director, then seized on every bit of the Director’s statement that could be used against Clinton.
A couple of observations:
(1) Yesterday Trump accused Hillary Clinton of trying to “bribe” Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Trump can’t stand good news, he can’t resist making himself the issue.
(2) Also, imagine this oh-so-farfetched scenario: Hillary is elected, and shortly thereafter the Republican House initiates impeachment proceedings
This campaign season just can’t be beat.
Yes. A good article exploring this point is here.
The comparison is weak because they never ran for president. Maybe concern about this subject is part of the reason why.
JJ said “She carelessly gave it to an unknown number of untrusted people who are enemies of the country. ” Is this true?
There is no evidence of this actually happening.
The FBI believes it is possible that during her trips overseas, some of her emails may have been “snooped” in transit but made no assertions that any of the emails that may have been hacked in this way had any classified info. Remember that there were only 110 emails, either to or from her, that had any type of classified info at all (and only 3 that were supposedly marked classified). This 110 maximum count is out of a pool of more than 30,000 emails reviewed or about 0.3% of all her email.
I believe the fact that Powell and Rice isn’t running for President is exactly my point. I personally believe that no one would really care about their use of private emails if they did run. This is a high profile “scandal” solely because of the conservatives disdain for the Clintons dating back over 20 years. Now you can argue whether Hillary should have known better. But you cannot argue, with a straight face, that this would be a “scandal” of this magnitude if it were anyone else not named Clinton..
“You can argue in the abstract that this was politically stupid behavior, but you can’t argue that anyone would care about it.”
I agree that the scandal is inflated because ‘Clinton.’ Nevertheless, the fact that Powell never ran weakens the comparison. There are other important differences that also weaken the comparison, and there is a tendency to ignore these differences.
I don’t like it when people on my side do things that are politically stupid, and I also don’t like it when people on my side use weak arguments.
I’m late here, but I just had to call this out:
It would have been highly unusual to bring criminal charges here. None were brought against Sandy Berger or John Deutsch for arguably more egregious violations.
So, it’s not unusual because Bill Clinton’s CIA director and the Clinton’s long-term lackey who stole documents from the National Archives in an attempt to protect the Clintons didn’t get prosecuted?
Dr. Joyner, you’re doing a great job making the case that the laws don’t apply to the Clintons and their cronies the way they do to other people.
We will agree to disagree on the strength of the argument comparing the two. I’m arguing to the point of looking at this with some proper perspective given the similarities – the wild card is Clinton running for President – perhaps that’s the only wildcard. My argument is not a means for deflection…
@James Joyner: Thank you for the explanation. It certainly is difficult to keep track of all the details, as I can see now. I assume that you can prove “[s]he carelessly gave it to an unknown number of untrusted people who are enemies of the country.”
That’s an important difference, but it’s not the only important difference. Here’s another one: Powell has not been caught (at least regarding his email) making statements that look dishonest. You know the old saying, it’s not the crime (or wrongdoing) that gets you, it’s the coverup.
I have spent countless hours arguing with conservatives about torture, and when I showed evidence that Bush tortured, the response often took this form: ‘but what about President X who allegedly tortured.’ I viewed that as deflection. Was I wrong? Because I see that argument as being essentially the same as your argument.
@Mikey: In fairness to Trump (and how ironic it THAT?), Ryan is doing the same thing.
@Jenos Idanian: Wow! Not even Jenos thinks it’s non-partisan.
Really? He never said anything like I used an AOL account because State Department IT said it was OK? I think Powelll is a fairly honorable guy, but that was atotal BS. 100% CYA
An accusation like that coming from you does not have the same impact as an accusation like that coming from Comey. That’s what I’m talking about when I say that the Powell situation and the Clinton situation are quite different.
@jukeboxgrad: Fair enough. I accept that you are sincere in your judgement and that you really do find big differences. I don’t. I look at it as – SoS since the begining of the email era have used private email. I can pick nits and say that AOL is worse than a private server – and you may pick nits the other way. But neither of them is good. Both are bad policy. And both served to reinforce the message down the line that the rules don’t apply to the big boss. But I wouldn’t throw Powell on the ash heap of history for it, nor would I for Clinton. I really and sincerely don’t see that there is much difference there.
Mistakenly posted same message – disregard…
Colin never made any statements because a fuax scandal regarding his use of private emails never got to a place where he felt the need to address it!
I have found that when most conservatives use deflection as a response in a debate, rarely do that deflection provide perspective on the central argument of the debate. It doesn’t add in any way and leaves open the initial argument. On the other hand, I am using the Powell and Rice comparison to highlight my central argument. That is, because of the disdain conservatives have for the Clintons, they were being completely disingenuous and hypocritical from the very start. If memory serves me correct, the faux scandal was initiated when conservatives realized Hillary was using private emails during the Benghazi investigation. I don’t even believe it was clear at the time that Hillary was using a separate server. When Republicans realized this “scandal” had legs they didn’t care that other SOS’s did the same in the past. In fact, I’d argue no one really cared at the time, and rightfully so within context, until conservatives pushed the issue. This is the apples to apples comparison I am making to highlight my argument. This was during a time when there were virtually no noticeable difference between what Hillary did and what Colin and Condaleeza did – well before it got to a place that Hillary felt the need to address the issue.
@James Pearce: When I was in school I read everything I could find on Mr. Hoover and the F.B.I. He destroyed the gangsters and personally directed some of the investigations and arrests. Director Hoover also was instrumental in stopping Communist activity and spying in this country.
Read “Masters of Deceit ”
Of course he did some good things. He also did a lot of things that would have gotten him fired today!