Free Markets, Free People

Cowardice

What happened today, with the FBI Director folding like a wet paper box and recommending Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted, has to go down in the annals of the history of the United States as the day respect for the law in this country died.

Andrew McCarthy outlines the irrefutable facts in the case:

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

So what shouldn’t be something that anyone could get around, assuming every box was checked as Comey says, is the consequences of their felony violations.

But … when it comes to the elite (politicians and various media types), there’s always a “but” … then Comey says:

Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

Intent or lack of intent really doesn’t repair the damage her gross negligence cost us, does it? In fact, that’s the point – “intent” is irrelevant.  Damage to our national security is relevant.  Comey is arguing that opposite – that if we mishandle classified material in such a way that it causes damage to the United States and its national security, but we do it  with “no intent to harm”, why we’re good to go. As long as we intended no harm, well, in “otherworld” apparently “no harm was then done” and we should be left to do it again when occupying an even higher office.  One can come up with endless variations on the “no intent to harm” nonsense when applied to other crimes.  And guess what – it doesn’t do any better when used in those sorts of context either.

I have to wonder where James Comey will go to get his integrity back, because with that bit of nonsense he lost it.  As did the organization he heads.

I wonder if he even thought about that.  Apparently this whitewash was worth his honor and reputation, including that of the former proud organization he leads.  Disgraceful doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Intent?  In a gross negligence case?  It isn’t even relevant.  As McCarthy points out:

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed.

 

One doesn’t need to be a Supreme Court Justice much less even have a law degree to understand these points.  So how in the world did Comey justify this to himself to the point that he actually made this pitiful argument?  How?  How does a man who is qualified enough to be selected to lead one of the most elite law enforcement agencies in the world – one more time … law enforcement agency – just trade in his honor, integrity and reputation that quickly for … what?!

Finally, I thought McCarthy’s conclusion was spot on:

Finally, I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence? The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.

Comey’s job is not to decide whether to prosecute or not.  His job is to gather the evidence and let those who do that job make that decision.  And he clearly gathered enough evidence, according to himself, to make the case.

And then threw out an irrelevant excuse as justification for not doing so.

No penalty for Clinton’s obvious gross negligence and the harm she did to national security.  No accountability.

And the same can be said for Comey.  Oh he won’t be reprimanded, you can count on that.  No, the only way he’d have gotten in trouble with the administration is to recommend indictment.  Nope, he’ll likely be able to keep his job in the next Clinton administration – at least until Hillary finds someone more suitable and amenable to her priorities.  Yup, no accountability for Comey either.

Well, except to be seen by those who know better as a honorless political hack who traded his integrity and reputation, and that of the FBI, for a pat on the head from his masters.

Remember, folks … laws are for the little people.

~McQ

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47 Responses to Cowardice

  • Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

    —-so that’s the new standard now? intent to harm?

    A hypothetical- HYPOTHETICAL: suppose someone in flyover country took a potshot at Hillary, on the grounds that she’s a felon who can’t be trusted with ultimate power. There’s obviously no intent to harm the US there. So no charges? Of course I don’t endorse or condone anyone doing that sort of thing)

    (Now reverse it and use Trump instead of Hillary)

    • Of course, as you said, I would never endorse or condone anyone doing that sort of thing, but they could try firing blanks.

      I’m sure the Secret Service would find the joke very entertaining and all, and the miscreant, clearly extremely careless with his fire arm and his blanks, would be released with a stern taking at, but the ultimate observation that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case before a jury knowing that the blank firing moron had no intention to cause any actual harm, even to Hillary, let alone the country.

      Yes, I’m sure it would play out that way, because LAW.

    • Yep all the drunk driving charges where someone didn’t intend to murder someone need to be dismissed. ASAP.

      • Apparently the “Hillary” defense is already being discussed by lawyers of people being prosecuted for violation of ‘secret’ statutes.

        I wager that the judges will, as a rule, not find in favor of the accused with that defense. Two wrongs not making a right would continue to be my mantra if I was sitting on the bench, or in a military court.

  • We’re supposed to take solace from great thinkers in the fact that Comey gave us all the ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ speech on her guilt before recommending that she not be prosecuted.
    “Oh she’s guilty my friends, but we’re not going to prosecute, we need you to do the appropriate thing in November because we no longer have the honor, integrity or the balls to do it ourselves.”

    ‘nudge nudge, wink wink, grin grin’ and emphatically “SAY NO MORE, SAY NO MORE, SAY NO MORE!”

    Banana Republic? Yes, I suspected, no, I think I knew…. now we KNOW don’t we. Readers of the New York Times, and the editorial board thereof, will no doubt disagree.
    I am certainly not surprised by this decision, and anyone who is surprised can you please tell me why we should have been?

    But I am disappointed, much in the same way a kid who knows there’s no Santa Claus is when Santa’s Non-existence is finally confirmed by reliable authority.
    Quite deflating and sad. No doubt today, there ain’t no Santa Claus.

    So we’ll just have to sit back and see what the revelation of our Banana Republic status has on the mass of people who have no love for two systems of law and/or Hillary Clinton.
    Too soon to tell still I think.

    Let’s see if there’s any anger, and how much.

    • It won’t be anger so much as a low-level lawlessness will soon kick off in the general populace.

      At least I hope so. Why should Hillary have all the fun?

      • I expect most of us will continue to obey the law, certainly at state and local levels.

        All of this is only going to strengthen the resolve of people who already think the BLM/EPA/IRS/OSHA/TSA/DHS/Washington DC are out of control.
        And I don’t expect any of that is going to take us to a good place.

        • We will obey where we have to.

          The amount of “getting away with what we can” will increase though

  • Deft!

  • Pontius Comey washes his hands. This time he excuses someone he thinks is guilty.

    Well, SOMEBODY intentionally or with gross negligence took the classified information from its secured site, removed the classification markings, and placed it on Hillary’s network.

    Why did they give Bryan Pagliano immunity?

  • I think it very strange that an investigative organization would take the role of investigator and prosecutor. I was cautioned some time ago to watch closely who makes what determination in this case. Especially if a decision is made outside normal jurisdiction. This would be the strategy to use in order to minimize the political fallout. Investigators determine the facts of a case. Was the statute broken and details to support that determination is the role of the investigator. It is the role of the prosecutor to determine intent. And in this case, intent should not be an issue for the statute covers even the unintentional release of classified materials. The FBI Director inserted himself into that role, exceeding his jurisdiction. What prosecutor would argue with the FBI Director? Especially a Democratic appointed prosecutor.

    As an aside, I have a good friend who is in the FBI and I called him to get his take on this subject. First, he would not speak to me regarding this situation over the phone, even his home phone. “I am not at liberty to speak on this matter” was all he would say at the time. I cannot be wonder at the pressure currently being brought to bear on him and the rest of the organization to “comply” with the current “powers that be.”

  • The left is winning the battles but losing the war. Each time they get an unconstitutional law protected by the supreme court, each time a corrupt government official is let off the hook despite breaking the law, the peoples’ faith in, and respect for, government authority decreases further. We now (if we haven’t already) cross the FBI off our list of institutions we trust. We pretty much crossed the Supreme court off the list after the ACA rulings (if we hadn’t done so earlier).

    • Confidence is nice, but thugs don’t care if you like them or not.

      • Good point. Many of the government programs the left advocates, however, require a basic level of cooperation and trust from the american people in order to function. Lack in confidence in government, and lack of respect for government, can lead to mass civil disobedience. The distrust in government that the people currently in power are creating and enhancing will make it more difficult for them to get people to go along with their more ambitious ideas. They can of course force them on us, but I don’t see that working out very well for them.

        {For example, some people have advocated making people get licenses for using guns as we now get drivers’ licenses for using cars. If people trusted the government to handle this honestly, the idea might be more popular. If today’s government tried it in today’s climate, we’d probably have violent resistance to it.}

  • Even thought there is no need to show intent to demonstrate gross negligence, there’s a reasonable inference of intent in the setting up of a non-secure server. That comes first. Then come the email transactions, each one involving classified material constituting a separate act of gross negligence and a separate act of failing to report a non-secure exposure of such material.

    But if the setting up of the server is understood as the underlying act, there’s the reasonable inference of intent.

    • The intent is not in hurting the US, the relevant intent is creating & using a mail system whose security is potentially vulnerable and keeping items that are suppose to be documented, private. Just like the intent in drinking and driving is the convenience of not sobering up or hiring someone to go home.

    • She openly admitted intent, to avoid FOIA requests, yet another criminal act.
      Electing an openly criminal president can NOT end well.

  • I lost all confidenece in the FBI when they had the huge issues with the Crim Lab doctoring (?) evidence some years back. In That caae,no one got jail time and no one was proseuted, either.

    Under Hoover, the FBI was a bunch of statist thugs, and nothing much has changed since then.

  • All the ‘opposition’ will focus on here is “no prosecution = innocent”.

    So, if Comey thought he was setting her up for trial in the court of public opinion, it won’t work out that way from now till November.
    And very shortly here it will be time to Just Move On in a grand case of at this point in time what difference does it make!

    Since she lied to Congress during the Benghazi hearing, maybe they’ll do something, but I’m fairly sure that’s not going to happen either because there’s no more intestinal fortitude in the Republican Congress than there is in the FBI.

    • A meme I saw today compared Hillary to W. Said Hillary was careless with emails, but didn’t do anything wrong; by contrast, W deleted 5 million emails.

      I was going to debunk that, but just didn’t feel like arguing with the person who posted it. It would have been a waste of my time and several bytes of data.

  • At this point, does Hillary’s experience at being “extremely careless” bring anything useful to the American people to the position of President ?

  • Oh please. It shows only that Clinton and many of her staffers – much like Powell, Rice and other agencies – need to be more diligent in using new technology, as the issues are complex and most people haven’t worked through them. There is no scandal here. Clinton committed no crimes, and the FBI clarified that it would be wrong to prosecute her. The GOP has been all about trying to manufacture scandals. Benghazi (nothing there), ‘Fast and furious’ (laughable), the IRS (more liberal groups were targeted), … and on and on. Since they’re failed effort to oust Bill Clinton, they’ve had scandlemania, to the point that they don’t get that only those already agreeing with them focus on that, and the rest of the country is more focused on the issues. Face it, Clinton is probably more honest than most politicians and just the victim of on going efforts at character assassination. Now the GOP is angry that the FBI won’t join their little witch hunt. And they’ll whine that the media is letting her off the hook. *chuckle* But you’ve drunk the kool aid. You believe the silliness.

    • You don’t know anything about this. You’re spouting old talking points like the Party line hack you are.

    • Keep running up the bill….

    • Which would be and is exactly the response I expected from you, you clueless hairball.
      That wasn’t what Comey said, so, you’re either talking out your butt, on a subject you haven’t bothered to get educated on or you know that’s not what he said, and pretending otherwise makes you a liar too.
      Take your pick Skippy.

    • Associated press fact check. Now shut up

      • Well, he didn’t read or watch Comey’s presentation and will never be prepared to discuss its implications. And he ignored the lengthy quotes McQ provided from McCarthy’s brief analysis at National Review. (McCarthy is a former colleague and a friend of Comey’s who has defended him all along as a straight shooter. Giuliani, for whom Comey worked when Rudy was the U.S Attorney in the Southern District of New York, was even more critical of Comey.) Nor does Scott understand legal issues at all, they confuse him. The more confused he is, the more he refuses to swallow his peas and just sits there holding them in his mouth. So, he’s not going to read the AP fact check, either.

        Scott is a Mr. Goofyballs and very much an insult to any kind of manliness. He’s also a pathological liar, and a lot of other things downhill from that.

        • Twenty years ago, I worked for a narcissist. I learned what a pathological liar is like to have around, but I also learned that he never thought he was lying.

          Such people are experts at rearranging reality in their heads, and they genuinely believe that they are telling the truth every time they speak. It’s just amazingly convenient that the “truth” happens to be exactly what they need it to be at the time. A narcissist can never be wrong in their own mind about anything important. They can dismiss anything that contradicts their current “truth” without conscious effort.

          We’ve seen plenty of examples of that from Professor Polywobble over the years. But he’s found a way to function with it. A professor gets to preen in front of a class all he wants, feeding his inner narcissist while thinking he’s doing something valuable. Working at what’s basically the community college level, no one will ever call him on failure to teach anything of value.

    • Clinton and many of her staffers – much like Powell, Rice and other agencies – need to be more diligent in using new technology

      Because the first thing a technically challenged and confused granny does when appointed as SoS of the USA is setup a private email server in her bathroom? Was the one IT guy employed by the State Department on vacation that week and she just couldn’t wait to get proper advice? Pffft. Pull the other one Scott, it’s got bells on.

      • He’s employing a combination of the “stupid geniuses” and a three year old’s “everybody does it” defense.

        Throws Collin Powell in there for a little extra smoke despite not being mentioned by Comey, and never setting up his own server.

        I’m no more surprised by that than I was the corrupted Alphabet soup agencies doing the bidding of a corrupt President.

    • So screw the law? Lets have a free-for-all? Your house first…

      • Ah, deep down inside he expects us to continue to do as we’re told. He expects that lawlessness and certainly any government lawlessness will absolutely not occur at the level where it will affect him.

        This is akin to the speeder on the highway who whips in and out of lanes, too close, at high speeds, crossing three lanes of traffic from one side to the other to gain that extra minute to park his car and dash into the office.
        Because he thinks of himself as a superb driver, entitled and special. Sierra Hotel! Wow! How cool is me!

        What he depends on is that everyone</em> around him is going to behave precisely as they are supposed to behave, no un-signaled lane changes, no speeding up or slowing down, and certainly NO response to his reckless behaviors on the road.
        They operate outside the rules precisely because others are adhering to them.
        As children, we referred to that as cheating, as adults, politics and power.

        Not only is Scott depending on that, so is Hillary, and Nancy, and Barack (and the list is lengthy, and goes on).

        They are collectively the people in every movie that have that look of “whaaaaaaa!!!! Do you know who I am!” on their faces just before something dramatic and often well deserved happens to them.

    • “Clinton is probably more honest than most politicians” – Erb, that statement right there just shows how much of a fool and an apologist for the Left you truly are. Please stay in Mooseville and stop trolling. Better yet, please, please please see a psychiatrist so you can get treated for the insanity and delusions that you clearly suffer from.

    • Have to say though – he wins the internet for brainless brass with “Face it, Clinton is probably more honest than most politicians and just the victim of on going efforts at character assassination.”

    • Scott,

      Have you ever considered what it would be like to engage in a discussion and say what you honestly believe to be true? To simply speak your mind and advocate directly for that which you want?

      All these many years of posing, distorting, spinning, and pretense…that has to drain you. If you have a conscience, it must tax your ego.

      All that effort and foolishness and you never fool anyone here. You never accomplish anything through honest effort. All you get is the sick satisfaction of trolling and wasting the time of others. Meanwhile, people you despise have enjoyed the contentment of speaking frankly, of believing what they write.

      And, after all that, everyone here regards you as a clown and laughs at the parody of you.

  • Every society eventually develops an elite or noble class. I can accept that. What really pisses me off about ours is that we get the noblesse without the oblige. We get Marie Antoinette rather than Elizabeth.

    • I don’t know, I had about enough Yalie noblesse and oblige from the Bushes. Hillary is a very eager gangster. Not much noblesse or oblige.

      • I do not consider holding appointed positions that pay extremely well (present and future) with lots of perks and prestige, which are stepping stones to other such positions, to fulfill any sort of “oblige”. I had in mind something like Prince Harry decoying Exocet missiles in the Falklands or Lt. Wales dodging snipers in Afghanistan.

        They all talk about wanting to “give back”. What they actually do is take more.

  • Comey’s traitorous inaction has paved the way for the first openly criminal president. What could possibly go wrong?
    If our allies and enemies thought Barry Mom-Jeans was a joke, what will they think of Shillery?
    We are soooo fucked.

  • And given that Hillary’s mail was hacked, and given that we were running guns out of Benghazi and our ambassador was there, I wonder what chance there is that the 9/11 attack was just a celebration of the 9/11 anniversary.

    We already know it wasn’t random, it’s quite possible it was even less just an anniversary reminder.

    but, of course, no harm, no intent, blah, blah, blah.

    • Except the guy who made the Youtube video who now has to hide in a hole the rest of his life.

    • And given that Hillary’s mail was hacked, and given that we were running guns out of Benghazi and our ambassador was there, I wonder what chance there is that the 9/11 attack was just a celebration of the 9/11 anniversary.

      Ohhh you naughty boy, you should not be connecting the dots like that. Or drawing any sort of logical inference.

  • Perhaps now that we know that nobody is going to be prosecuted we can get to hear from Bryan Pagliano, who no longer seems to need the 5th Amendment.

  • To all of this I will have only one question and I think the answer is obvious. The FBI serves at the discretion of what branch of government headed by whom at the moment?

  • There is a certain economy to justice, and it is intimately entwined with Americans sense of fairness. As Michael Wade pointed out, the INTEL community is pissed at Hillary, but they were holding back to allow the FBI to do the job they were charged with. Now that the FBI has been shown to be derelict in their duty, there will be a lot of people looking for justice (or at least revenge) be visited upon Hillary. I will not be the least bit surprised it some of the aggrieved within the INTEL community start to leak damning information about Hillary, Bill, or anyone close to them, in order to cause some damage. I hope she gets everything she deserves.