The Flimsy Stance of FBI Director ComeyPosted: September 30, 2016
The Flimsy Stance of FBI Director Comey
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private servers for transmitting official State Department business came to light in May 2015. Since then, much has been said and written about her “carelessness,” even to the point of claims being raised that her loose handling of sensitive information endangered the lives and well-being of U.S. military personnel and members of the diplomatic corps.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent a year investigating Clinton’s email activity and made several damning conclusions. But on July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President. In his remarks announcing the decision reached by his bureau, Comey said Mrs. Clinton was “extremely careless.”
Other comments made by Comey, during that highly anticipated press conference, included his finding that her judgment was questionable; she had contradicted statements previously made about her use of email; the possibility existed that hostile foreign governments had gained access to her transmissions; and had she still been a government employee, she could have faced disciplinary action. His recommendation that no charges be filed also included a similar refusal to issue charges against Clinton’s top aides who had been granted immunity.
Comey then explained his controversial recommendation saying that there needed to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s cavalier use of unsecured computers was intentional, or that she had willfully broken State Department rules. A drunk driver who causes injuries to others doesn’t intend the harm that he causes. But his carelessness still earns him prosecution. Former Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus was charged and punished for his misuse of classified material that was far less serious an offense than the former Secretary of State admitted to.
In his July 5, 2016 press conference, the FBI Director agreed that more than 100 emails containing classified markings had been sent via non-secure methods; that Mrs. Clinton had not turned over all of the requested emails; that potentially hostile foreign governments had possibly gained access to her transmissions; and that she had used several private servers at her home in addition to those she used while travelling on official business.
Prior to the FBI Director’s announcement of an unwillingness to recommend charges, Mrs. Clinton faced questioning from a congressional panel examining the Benghazi debacle that cost the lives of four Americans. She survived grueling questioning, but skepticism about her casual use of unsecured computers has remained.
On September 28, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee listened to Director Comey as he continued to defend his decision not to recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton. Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) insisted that his unwillingness to recommend charges “defies [both] logic and the law that she faces no consequences for jeopardizing national security.” Committee members also questioned the grant of immunity to five Clinton aides. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) claimed a fix to exonerate Mrs. Clinton was in from the start.
But Comey remained adamant while continuing to defend his recommendation of no charges being made against the Democrat nominee. For his stand, members of the congressional panel called him and his underlings “weasels.” Defending himself and his FBI subordinates, he responded with: “You can call us wrong. You can call me a fool. You cannot call us weasels.” The congressmen before him wondered, “Why not?”
Mrs. Clinton casually admits to having made a “mistake,” something she pledged she would never do again. The drunk driver who injured several innocent people with his recklessness would love to plead that he, too, made a mistake and wouldn’t drive drunk again. He went to prison. Why is that not the case with Hillary Clinton?
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.