FBI Director Comey’s Decision: Justice Served or Justice Denied?
Let me start off by saying that I have always made it a practice to stay away from addressing political issues on this blog. However, after listening to FBI Director Comey make public his final decision regarding the Clinton emails, I couldn’t resist. Read the below, and ask yourself if the facts pertaining to the Clinton email investigation are worthy examples of justice served, or justice denied?
Furthermore, as a former employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Hoover years, it never entered my mind that I would someday be saying “A real blemish has been cast upon the integrity of today’s FBI!” Yes, those were my thoughts after FBI Director Comey finalized his July 5, 2016 update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system throughout her time as Secretary of State.
Most of you will remember that once he stood at the podium, FBI Director Comey started off by saying, “This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.”
The director increasingly held my attention as he outlined his investigative team’s point-by-point negative findings which included:  The physical location of Clinton’s server was in unauthorized location for the transmitting of private information;  110 emails in 52 email chains contained classified information at the time they were sent or received;  eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent;  36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and  eight contained Confidential information.
FBI Director Comey further stated, “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 continued,  “None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government — or even with a commercial service like Gmail.”
To me, as an experienced investigator who had prepared and presented numerous felony cases to the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution, Comey’s remarks left little doubt. He had laid-out a rock-solid case that should bring about a Grand Jury indictment. The facts were there, no question about proving intent…since I had always been taught that—intent is based upon actions—as no individual has the ability to read another’s mind as to what their actual thought process was. I must reiterate, actions are the determining factor to prove intent. FBI Director Comey put the “icing on the cake” when he said,  “There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
But wait…Comey’s next words were of utter disbelief. “As a result, although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.”
Based upon those facts previously presented, I had difficulty processing those last four powerful words I had just heard…no charges are appropriate! Why, I asked myself! What went wrong? Then I began to look back and ponder Comey’s use of those two words, extremely careless. What’s going on here? The correct legal definition should have been “grossly negligent.” Ah-ha, grossly negligent has criminal charge implications, and extremely careless…at least under FBI Director Comey’s definition appears not.
I would later learn that each of those FBI agents involved with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server were required to sign a “Case Briefing Acknowledgement” (non-disclosure agreement barring each signer from discussing the case with anyone else unless called to testify.) The FBI has confirmed to a senior Republican senator that agents were sworn to secrecy—and subject to lie detector tests—in the Hillary Clinton email probe; an extensive measure that could, as one retired agent put it, have a “chilling effect” on any agent’s career within the bureau. Furthermore, it is noteworthy to say that Attorney General Loretta Lynch repeatedly stone-walled questions about Comey’s decision during a July 12th House of Representatives hearing.
To me, the evidence was there! And contrary to FBI Director Comey’s statement, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case” causes my law enforcement experiences to kick-in. Having worked alongside several Assistant U.S. Attorneys, presented evidence, and testified in a variety of cases before criminal court judges and Grand Juries, I have a different perspective on the evidentiary requirements in this matter. Therefore, I would have argued profusely with any prosecutor who attempted to suggest to me that the evidence did not meet prosecutorial requirements.
Sure, one might argue that it’s easy to “Monday-morning quarterback” any situation…just as I am doing here. However at this point I believe that a travesty has occurred within our judicial system; one set of rules for common-folks and another for those so well connected that they are above the law and therefore untouchable.
Well, let’s not pass judgment too quickly. Recently, I received an email from an unknown source that is causing me to rethink both my position in this matter as well as Comey’s motivations regarding his actions. After initially reading and digesting the anonymous email’s contents, I was first inclined to “cherry-pick” and pass-along a few points the unidentified writer made. However after re-reading the email, I decided to provide its entire contents below. Perhaps it will help us to better understand the possible wisdom behind Director Comey’s decision…if there is any.
The anonymous writer’s message:
“Consider this: FBI Director Comey is not a stupid guy. He may have been directed to “take the fall” with his Hillary announcement (we know that Loretta didn’t want this thrown on her desk to preside over, even though the FBI has no authority to make decisions whether or not to prosecute crimes; they only investigate and Justice Dept decides that). However, he decided to do something out of the ordinary – lay out and disclose all of his evidence during his Press Conference. [Comey] knew what he was doing and he knew that it would create a “firestorm” of controversy. If he had just sent everything he had to AG Lynch, it might have all gotten buried or, at least, not disclosed until long after the election. Instead, [FBI Director Comey] threw it all out for the public to know.
He also knew that it would cause Congress to call for an investigation so, now, he will not just be able to go and answer their questions; he made himself available almost instantly [next morning at 10 AM] full well knowing that they will want to dig even deeper, hear about more evidence and have an open-ended Q&A for the entire day if they want to. If [Comey] wanted to, he could have stalled this for a month just by saying ‘he’s busy; send me a Subpoena or let’s schedule it for a convenient time.’
The writer went on to say, “I think Comey knew that this way the FBI’s entire case will get a full public airing (and, since there isn’t a prosecution pending, he can be candid and open about anything and everything). If it went to the Justice Dept’s hands, it would die a slow death there. Nothing will be kept secret now; we’ll learn about things (such as Hillary having 12 private servers) that no one even suspected existed. Comey can, literally, try this case before the public, just as he started to do laying out the key evidence just before “dropping the case”, when everyone thought he was heading toward a recommendation of prosecution.
The Public and Media will now get to know EVERYTHING that would or could have been presented in court if there was a prosecution (in fact, even more than what could be presented in court because there will be no rules of evidence holding him back). This hearing could be extremely eye-opening. Like I said, Comey isn’t a stupid guy and he might have just outsmarted Lynch and Obama when they told him to “kill this case”.
A Grand Jury might have taken 6 months or longer to accomplish, if playing “according to Hoyle”, plus it is secret, except for leaks. Now nothing will be secret. Again, Comey is not stupid and he might also prove that he is no one’s lackey; however, he will just “play it straight”; answer all of the questions and not have to volunteer anything. After all, Obama and Lynch can’t tell him to lie to Congress.
[FBI Director Comey] might look foolish laying out this case when not recommending prosecution but he might be wiser beyond our thinking because now he will just be responding to questions “under oath.”
That’s my take on this scenario. This could come out to be the biggest fake-out in American history and, possibly, the only way to take down a liar and dishonest government official who is being “protected”. It might, actually, be worse than anything Hillary and Bill ever imagined. Who knows; maybe this will also carry into the Foundation crap as well. We will see.
[End of anonymous email]
A lot of what is said in the above anonymous email makes sense. Now, with the Clinton email case disposed of, next on the FBI’s agenda in need of resolution are two ‘open’ investigations; Clinton Foundation and perjury before the U.S. Congress.
Just remember, when you are at the polls in November, no person – including a politician running for president – should be above the law!