I am still in a funk over the statement of FBI Director James Comey that Hillary Clinton will not be charged in the email scandal. In short, I have had my sense of trust in our justice system shattered, and I say this as a retired DEA agent and employee of the Dept. of Justice. I had believed that Comey was a straight shooter who would not bow to political pressure, but not anymore.
Comey, in his statement, actually effectively outlined the case for indicting Clinton. He showed where Clinton lied about not sending classified information over her email sender and how she lied about turning over all pertinent documents over to the State Department. That second lie was made under oath before Congress. Where is the indictment for perjury?
In spite of the above, Comey, after lining up the evidence, then said, “No harm-no foul” and no recommendation to the Justice Department for indictment. The very next day, Loretta Lynch announced that DOJ will accept the FBI finding and the case is closed.
Comey’s statement that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case” is laughable. This is the biggest miscarriage of justice since the OJ Simpson acquittal. Like the LAPD and prosecutors in the Simpson, case, the FBI had brought forth a mountain of evidence. At least the prosecutors in the Simpson case tried the case.
Comey talked about a “lack of intent” to put the national security in danger. Intent was not a requirement. He himself used the term, “extremely careless” to describe Clinton and her aides’ handling of classified information. The statute (one of many Clinton violated) does not require intent. According to 18 USC 793, “gross negligence” is what is required.
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Comey also stated that he knew of no similar case being brought forth for prosecution. Tell that to Bryan Nishimura. He was prosecuted (successfully) on similar charges-without malicious intent. And the investigating agency? The FBI.
As a DEA agent in the DOJ from 1973 to my retirement in 1995, I believed in our system of justice even when the guilty went free. I understood the system when we brought cases to the US Attorney’s Office, and they would decline prosecution because they felt the case was not strong enough – and make no mistake – prosecutors don’t like to lose cases in court.
What I would have expected here is that the FBI would present this case to the DOJ, a department that has been badly corrupted in the Obama administration, that DOJ would decline prosecution, and we would see an uproar within the FBI, ideally with Comey resigning in protest. Instead, Comey took the pressure off of DOJ and Loretta Lynch. He took a case with a mountain of evidence, laid it out in his press conference, then said there was no mountain of evidence. It all defies reason unless you come to the conclusion that there is no equal justice under the law. That is what this retired federal agent is feeling today.
Along those lines, I wonder what the rank and file of the FBI are feeling today. We are getting reports that they are shocked and outraged. Will there be resignations? Will we hear about them? Who knows?
Me? I don’t know anything anymore.
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