In a statement by FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, the FBI publicly revealed that it is not recommending that the Department of Justice seek criminal charges in the case of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server.
This decision comes after a year of extensive work on behalf of the FBI to come to a conclusion regarding whether or not Clinton has violated any laws in using a personal e-mail server for professional correspondence. Comey stated that the FBI is now completing their investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a final prosecutive decision.
Comey went to great lengths to explain, in detail, the way that by which FBI came to this decision. He mentioned that the statement would be “unusual in at least a couple ways,” namely by the fact that he “[included] more detail about [their] process than [he] ordinarily would.” Furthermore, he reassured the public that no other governmental agency had any knowledge of the contents of the statement. Both of these statements are, without a doubt, a direct response to the amount of criticism that the bureau has received regarding the investigation into Clinton’s personal e-mail use.
The FBI read through all 30,000 of Clinton’s e-mails that were returned to the State Department and found no evidence that any e-mails had been intentionally deleted or otherwise destroyed. Of those 30,000 e-mails,
“110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain 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, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were ‘up-classified’ to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.”
Due to the lack of evidence that Clinton intentionally sent or received classified information on her private e-mail server, criminal charges, the FBI has concluded, are not warranted. Comey stated at a news conference that, “[their] judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
However, according to the New York Times, Comey said there was “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”
While the FBI director explained that the bureau would not be recommending criminal charges in this case, he did describe Clinton as being “extremely careless” in using her personal e-mail address and server to transmit sensitive and classified information. Comey referenced specific incidents where Clinton spoke of Top Secret information in e-mails and went on to state 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.”
Though the FBI may be publicly releasing their recommendation — a practice that they do not normally partake in, but have done so in this case where “unusual transparency is in order” — the ultimate decision comes down to the prosecutors.