Anyone either watching or reading FBI Director James Comey's press conference announcing that the Bureau has submitted a "no prosectution" recommendation to the Department of Justice concerning Hillary Clinton's private email server should have been left with a sinking feeling in their stomach.  Comey spent the better part of the conference itemizing all of the violations of felony provisions of Federal Codes that Hillary was guilty of.  He freely admitted that "110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received."  He further itemized: "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."  Comey noted that, while the FBI did not uncover "clear evidence" of intentional violation of the laws "governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."


Specifically, Comey reported  that "seven email chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received.  These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending emails about those matters and receiving emails from others about the same matters."  He even concluded that "There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation… 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."


Comey went on to report that Secretary Clinton exclusively used her private server when she was traveling, including when she was traveling in countries with a history of hacking into sensitive government data.


At the end of the day, Comey fell back on a simple excuse for the "no prosecution" recommendation:  Hillary Clinton was not behaving like a classic spy out to do damage to the national security of the United States on behalf of a foreign power or for personal motives.  Just because the FBI attorneys could not find case precedent for Secretary Clinton's behavior is not the same thing as saying she is not worthy of felony prosecution.  Indeed, people with far more background in national security law than I can claim, have made clear to me that the mishandling of Top Secret/Special Access Program material is a serious felony–slam dunk, no ifs ands or buts.


Comey has done what FBI Directors have done far too often in the past:  He has passed the buck to the Department of Justice.  The FBI recommendation of "no prosecution" is not the final word–and Director Comey made that point on several occasions throughout his uncomfortable appearance before the press.  It is the Justice Department that makes that call, so in a technical sense, Hillary Clinton is still not out of the woods.


Just prior to the Comey announcement and the scandalous encounter at Phoenix Airport between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, some news organizations reported that Hillary Clinton had also been suspected of sharing classified information with her son-in-law Mark Mezvinsky, a hedge fund manager married to Chelsea Clinton.  I was told that some of that information may have constituted insider trading, because she was sharing information about the ongoing Greek debt negotiations with the Troika.  Some of that information may have come, according to one of my sources, from communication intercepts of German government officials.


That issue never came up in Comey's presentation of the FBI's effort at "transparency."


This story is not over, by a long shot.  In addition to the predictable Republican Party outcries, serious students of national security law will be digging deeper into the case, based on Director Comey's public pronouncements alone.  The 2016 Presidential campaign, already one for the record books, has just taken on a new dimension altogether.  Stay tuned…  

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  1. Eric Newhill says:

    Harper, I think Comey didn’t pass any bucks. Lynch soiled herself by being caught meeting with Big Bill. So she couldn’t be the one to cleanly kill this thing. Comey very nicely volunteered to do the dead. End of story. End of investigation and onto Hillary’s coronation. Full stop.

  2. r whitman says:

    This is all over. Two weeks from now the only person mentioning it will be Trump and no one will listen. Any votes that can be changed are already switched. We will be on to new scandals.

  3. J says:

    It’s just like an old friend told me early on how it would turn out — Teflon Hillary.

  4. robt willmann says:

    In the transcript of the “prepared statement” by FBI Director James Comey of today, and linked to by Col. Lang in his earlier post of today, we find the following–
    “In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”
    Mr. Comey, you say that “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts”. It will be assumed that by “we” you mean the FBI and its multi-billion dollar budget. However, “we” might mean both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, which of course also has a multi-billion dollar budget, which might include the FBI’s multi-billion dollar budget.
    In just a few minutes of looking, the following press release was found on the FBI website for the Sacramento Division, dated 29 July 2015, which is less than a year ago. It includes the following–
    “According to court documents, Nishimura was a Naval reservist deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. In his role as a Regional Engineer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Nishimura had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers. Nishimura, however, caused the materials to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media. He carried such classified materials on his unauthorized media when he traveled off-base in Afghanistan and, ultimately, carried those materials back to the United States at the end of his deployment. In the United States, Nishimura continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations, and copied the materials onto at least one additional unauthorized and unclassified system.”
    “Nishimura’s actions came to light in early 2012, when he admitted to Naval personnel that he had handled classified materials inappropriately. Nishimura later admitted that, following his statement to Naval personnel, he destroyed a large quantity of classified materials he had maintained in his home. Despite that, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Nishimura’s home in May 2012, agents recovered numerous classified materials in digital and hard copy forms. The investigation did not reveal evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel.”
    “This case was the product of an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jean M. Hobler prosecuted the case.”
    As further helpful information, here is the website of the FBI office in Sacramento, California, which includes its telephone number. And the press release cited above has what appears to be the phone number of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, which seems to have found — along with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI — evidence that “would support bringing criminal charges”.

  5. ToivoS says:

    This story is not over, by a long shot.
    In terms of prosecution it most certainly is. Politically it will go on for years. However it does mean Hillary will be the next president with full control over the justice department.
    Obama obviously knew what was coming down the pike when he endorsed Hillary. Game over I am afraid, unless the Republicans can pursue impeachment.

  6. jim jordan says:

    So even with “insider information” on Greece the schmendrick son-in-law still manages to lose 90% of his investors money?

  7. Dabbler says:

    “I am not a crook. Comey said so.”

  8. Balint Somkuti says:

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal.” Orwell
    But in the United States of America?
    Oswald Spengler was right. He only erred almost exactly 102 years.

  9. Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to a position of high trust and responsibility she [HRC] gave away the nation’s secrets.

  10. Max says:

    I don’t know why you thought this Linda Grahamish-looking Comey was going to give us a profile in courage. You saw how principled he was when he left the Catholic Church for the Methodist church. Really? Really?? Maybe he just couldn’t bring himself to push for indictment of his co-religionist?
    We are a banana republic with nukes. We are Brazil in 1976 heading for Brazil of today. Just ask this guy: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a3/c2/f9/a3c2f93401d303e9f4e1eec5040ec684.jpg

  11. Nancy K says:

    If you think we are a banana republic with nukes, visit a true banana republic sometime, perhaps a vacation to Venezuela. I think the USA is a great country. You don’t like Comey because he left the Catholic Church? It isn’t like he became a Muslim or Hindu or even an Atheist. Catholics and Methodists or both Christian, people are allowed in the USA to change their religions.
    If he had charged her with criminal activity you would be praising him for being principled.

  12. “At the end of the day, Comey fell back on a simple excuse for the “no prosecution” recommendation: Hillary Clinton was not behaving like a classic spy out to do damage to the national security of the United States on behalf of a foreign power or for personal motives.”
    Comey is confusing motive with intent. For most classes of crimes (e.g., not ‘hate’ crimes), all a prosecutor needs to establish is that the defendant willfully and intentionally violated the law. Nobody stuck a gun to Hellary’s head; she willfully and intentionally had this illegal server set up in contravention of federal law. It would be interesting to speculate on her motives (Clinton Foundation maybe?), but in this case it is unnecessary.

  13. Fred says:

    Venezuela is a socialist paradise. The banana republic of choice to visit is Cuba. Neither one is particularly concerned with individual liberty or the rule of law.

  14. Margaret Steinfels says:

    End of FBI story, and the Justice Department story. Not the end of Trump and/or fodder for the campaign. As careless as Clinton was, not so much in handling of the “classified” material, but in the original decision to by-pass the workplace security system, she is very unlikely to be as careless as a President Trump would be. She is very much the lesser of two evils for those of us who plan to vote.

  15. J says:

    It appears that Comey didn’t/doesn’t want to become an Ashe footnote, and that Comey fears Arkancide, with good reason.
    I fear for AG Lynch as she knows too much and if not careful will be considered a loose end by the Clinton syndicate.

  16. turcopolier says:

    Margaret Steinfels
    “End of FBI story, and the Justice Department story.” I think not. pl

  17. Carl Lazlo says:

    Hi Mr. Jordan:
    First of all, with respect to insider trading, there is no “may” here; this is what insider trading is. And it’s not just illegal for Mezvinsky to trade on the “material, non-public information”, it’s illegal for that vile, detestable woman to give the inside information to him.
    In fact, the first insider trading case in this country happened all the way back in 1792. William Duer was the country’s first Assistant Treasury Secretary. Duer used his position to obtain inside information which he then used to speculate on US government debt to France. This helped trigger the Panic of 1792, and, like Mr. Mezvinsky, Duer lost all of his money. Unlike Mr. Mezvinsky, Duer received what amounted to a LWOP sentence in debtor’s prison, where he died.
    That Marc Mezvinsky is involved in criminal activity shouldn’t surprise anyone. Criminal activity runs in both families. (I think of them as the “Clinton-Mezvinsky crime family”). Marc Mezvinsky’s father is Ed Mezvinsky, who served two terms in Congress as a Democrat from Iowa. He lost to Jim Leach, of GLB fame, in 1976. He then moved to Pennsylvania, where he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and served as the Chairman of the state Democratic Party.
    During this time, Mezvinsky was involved in various “business activities”. Let’s let Wiki, and a federal prosecutor, describe his “businesses”:
    “Beginning in the early 1990s, Mezvinsky used a wide variety of 419 scams. According to a federal prosecutor, Mezvinsky conned using “just about every different kind of African-based scam we’ve ever seen.”[11] The scams promise that the victim will receive large profits, but first a small down payment is required. To raise the funds needed to front the money for the fraudulent investment schemes he was being offered, Mezvinsky tapped his network of former political contacts and dropping the name of the Clinton family to convince unwitting marks to give him money.[12]
    In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.[13] Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after his indictment, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense.[5] He entered prison in February 2003, and served his time at Federal Prison Camp, Eglin.[14] Mezvinsky, Federal Bureau of Prisons # 55040-066, was released in April 2008, after 5 years.[15] He remained on federal probation until 2011, and as of 2010 still owed $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.[16]”
    I’m thinking that in the Clinton administration, both Mezvinskys will have jobs either at the Treasury or at the Federal Reserve. They’ve obviously got talent.
    Carl Lazlo

  18. johnA says:

    What is most shocking ….
    In the major corp world one would be sacked and at certain levels would be facing civil prosecution , at a minimum, for the acts detailed in Comey’s statement.
    The fact , if true, that no case with an exact match had come up before would not matter as to the possible course of actions.
    It’s stunning that the standard at the level of SECoState is this much lower.

  19. Cee says:

    I’ve been digging into how this happened
    The FBI Re-Wrote 6 Criminal Laws to Let Clinton Off the Hook
    Former FBI director Chris Swecker said Comey should have brought charges against Clinton:
    He seemed to be building a case for that and he laid out what I thought were the elements under the gross negligence aspect of it, so I was very surprised at the end when he said that there was a recommendation of no prosecution and also given the fact-based nature of this and the statement that no reasonable prosecutor would entertain prosecution, I don’t think that’s the standard.
    Andrew McCarthy – former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others, obtaining convictions for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing – notes:
    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. It is a common tactic of defense lawyers in criminal trials to set up a straw-man for the jury: a crime the defendant has not committed. The idea is that by knocking down a crime the prosecution does not allege and cannot prove, the defense may confuse the jury into believing the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Judges generally do not allow such sleight-of-hand because innocence on an uncharged crime is irrelevant to the consideration of the crimes that actually have been charged. It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today. It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information. I think highly of Jim Comey personally and professionally, but this makes no sense to me. 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.

  20. Jack says:

    In retrospect the fix was in when Obama endorsed the Borg Queen. Yesterday was remarkable. There’s no way Obama would have given her a ride on Airforce One to campaign with her unless he was assured of Comey’s presentation. FBI Director Comey laid out in clear terms the evidence that the Borg Queen violated the law. He chose not to recommend an indictment while noting that the same choice would not apply to the little people as was the case with Nishimura and Sterling. In making that choice not only did Comey disgrace himself and all the conscientious FBI officers but more importantly he indicted the system. Trump’s message that the system is rigged will now get reinforced. He can use Comey’s evidence to strike at the heart of the Borg Queen’s candidacy, her lack of judgment and her incompetence putting America’s security at risk due to her hubris. This will have an impact on the few who sympathize with Trump’s message but are concerned about his personality that the corporate media and the big money and duopoly establishment are continually hammering with all their resources. Larry Johnson notes the situation very well.
    As I have noted previously on other threads, IMO, if the Borg Queen is elected it will usher in a triumphalism of the Borg and they will unleash a social engineering project that we’ve never seen before. But, just like in the UK it is quite conceivable that the Left and Right paradigm will not hold in our election. Instead it could be one where the working class decide to take a stand and vote for Trump across partisan loyalties. As many social historians have noted in the past, this phenomenon of the elites becoming above the law is a sign of a society in decline and if peaceful means of change are rejected then demagogues who favor violence will gain ascendancy. In any case, there are enough signs that we are approaching the terminal stages both economically and politically. The deceit of the rationales and theories are becoming more apparent. Something will have to give in the next decades.
    Pravda on the Hudson had an opinion piece on the conceit of the elites, so you know even their wall of denial is being impinged.

  21. ISL says:

    Apologies in advance for being harsh, but since you have a crystal ball that sees the future, mind sharing when to short the FTSE with SST?
    So lets consider, Trump has the support of evangelicals despite changing wives every few years? Why? Clinton is, no matter how much lipstick she puts on, The Borg Queen. Despite Brexit calling the remain voters morons, racists and nazis, how did that work out? Yet, apparently, despite somewhere about half indicating they would vote for Trump, the strategy is the same name calling.
    IMO nothing is clear about the future.

  22. Jack says:

    Nancy, Fred
    The socialist paradise of Venezuela is what we’re heading towards as our Borg gets more out of control. Big and bigger government that use force to reinforce cartels that lay costs on ordinary people while generating outsized profits for the elites slowly erode trust in the rigged system. While theories of free lunches through untrameled government spending seduce, reality always intrude at the most inopportune moment. As we’ll see in Venezuela soon enough it never ends well.

  23. turcopolier says:

    Just to be clear. Nancy K and her husband are elderly pensioners (kinda like me!) They moved to one of the big cities in NC from CA in order to be near their adult children who evidently fled the golden paradise of the Left Coast. I wonder if they actually know anyone outside the big cities of NC. pl

  24. Thomas says:

    King B moved his B Queen out of check. while knight announces that other Game Players may have tapped into B Queen’s comms.
    Will next move be a player with an axe to grind (or national interests to protect) takes a whack by dropping the dime?

  25. scott s. says:

    I guess my question is, the person or persons who transmitted classified information to Clinton without proper markings and via systems not cleared for that classification level would seem to be in for a world of hurt. That there were “chains” of emails suggests that Clinton included parts of the improperly marked information in out-going email. Clinton would be in a position to know, and IMHO had a duty, to question the improper classification and take affirmative action to apply the correct markings and remove it from any system not cleared for the appropriate classification. My wife, in a prior life, ran the internal network systems and external record message systems for the Joint Staff for a couple of years and just laughs at the pathetic explanations given in this case. But then again, we have the history of the White House Comm office losing emails during BJ Clinton’s administration with no repercussions.

  26. J says:

    Something oozing out of Hillary’s ‘carelessness’ is the vapor of hostile Israeli espionage against US, and that is what Comey was referring to with his ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would bring charges against Hillary is it would have allowed the Israeli espionage against US vapor out of the bottle and would be ‘career enders’ for both FBI Agents and DOJ Prosecutors who dared to put the Israeli Espionage against US into the US public limelight.
    Three monitored and gleaned critical US Classified info from Hillary’s carelessness – Russia, China, Israel.

  27. Harper says:

    I am certain that this story is not over, either in the political or legal domain. The comments by Comey and the FBI investigation centered on the mishandling of classified email as per the referral from the USIC. The insider trading issue is separate and apart, and remains unresolved. Comey, having gone through his detailed accounting of the investigation into the email abuses, will not revisit this issue of insider trading until after the elections take place. If Hillary is elected, she will be facing the insider trading issue and the “sleaze” assault starting in November. I am told it will be an unrelenting attack and will be fully underway before she is inaugurated. The Democratic Party platform contains so far an open call to reinstate Glass Steagall full bank separation (commercial banks fully separated from investment, insurance). The final ratification vote will take place this weekend in Orlando, Fla. when the full platform committee meets. The Glass Steagall resolution is backed by both Sanders and Clinton reps on the platform drafting committee, and it will remain in the final platform. Wall Street is very unhappy about this. Hillary does not even control her own delegates on this issue.
    Wall Street will use any possible leverage to stop Glass Steagall. Pulling Hillary’s chain on the son-in-law corruption is right up their alley.

  28. Nancy K says:

    My grandchildren are 7th generation North Carolinians. Granted Wilkesboro, where they live, is not in the hollers, but neither is it cosmopolitan. I admit my husband and I wanted to be closer to more upscale shopping and medical facilities and RDU, because being “elderly pensioners” those things are important to us.
    I do however know people from outside the big cities. Most of our neighbors however are from somewhere else like we are, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Florida being the most common.

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