FBI Director James Comey said this morning that his agency is not recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for using a personal email server as secretary of state to store classified information, although he acknowledged Clinton was “extremely careless” in handing top-secret information.
Out of about 30,000 emails, 110 contained classified data, Comey said.
The Department of Justice will make the final decision.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges,” Comey said.
Comey added that Clinton and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
“For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received,” he said. “These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters.”
“None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails 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 said.
Comey said the FBI did not find evidence that Clinton’s personal email was “successfully hacked,” but “given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved,” the FBI believes it would be “unlikely to see such direct evidence.”
“We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account,” Comey said. “We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump immediately blasted the FBI’s decision, writing in two Tweets: “The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment. … FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem.”