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.