The Law That Should Have Applied to Hillary Clinton

by Diane Dimond on July 11, 2016

Old Saying: A Prosecutor Can Indict a Ham Sandwich

What’s that old axiom? A prosecutor has so much power they could indict a ham sandwich? Apparently that does not apply when it comes to career politicians who are seeking the highest office in the land.

Minutes after FBI Director James Comey’s news conference at which he outlined the bureau’s yearlong investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of her top secret and classified emails (“extremely careless,” he said) my email blew up with reaction from within the Department of Justice.

“I am, literally, embarrassed to be a DOJ attorney,” one federal prosecutor wrote me. “I used to be so proud but not anymore.”

For days after Comey’s announcement that, “no reasonable prosecutor,” would take the case against Clinton to court because her intent to break the law could not be proven, my on-line conversations with insiders continued.

All of them said the law does not require a prosecutor to prove intent and they couldn’t figure out why Comey even mentioned that. Several said after hearing the evidence that the FBI gathered they would be happy to take the Clinton case to court.

FBI Director Comey's Conclusions Disputed By DOJ Insiders

FBI Director Comey’s Conclusions Disputed By DOJ Insiders

“I’ve held people accountable for 20 years with the full force of federal law behind me and they stood no chance most of the time,” one career federal prosecutor wrote. “But for HRC the rules simply do not matter. This is a devastating message to us on the front lines, a truly terrible feeling.”

Even if you’ve had it up to here with news about the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information while she was Secretary of State, be sure you understand the law that applies to those who mishandle secret government documents. It’s Title 18 of the U.S. Code, section 793(f). Edited here for space. 

“Whoever, being entrusted with …. information, relating to the national defense…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, … Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.” 

You decide if you think Clinton committed gross negligence by allowing sensitive national security documents to be removed from the, “proper place of custody…lost, stolen…or destroyed.”

You decide whether Clinton’s repeated claims that she had, “never sent or received classified material” via her unsecured email were true. The FBI Director said that’s exactly what she did.

You decide whether Clinton told the truth when she repeatedly claimed she had turned over all her work related emails to the State Department. The FBI Director said his agents found “several thousand” such emails that were lost in the so-called slack space of the multiple private servers Clinton used over the years.

Secretary of State Clinton Sent and Received Tens of Thousands of Emails

Secretary of State Clinton Sent and Received Tens of Thousands of Emails – Some Classified

And you decide whether Clinton was truthful when she stated, “There were no security breaches.” The FBI Director said Clinton had used her email extensively while travelling abroad where we have “sophisticated adversaries” and, “We assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”

When do we hold our politicians accountable for what they do as public servants? What do we do when they look right at us and lie?

Secrecy is a revered trait among those who populate official Washington. And the Obama administration has displayed an iron fist when it comes to enforcing punishment for those who mishandled and revealed classified documents. It has ferreted out and prosecuted more low-level government workers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all the previous administrations combined. But if the accused is in the top political echelon in Washington they seem to get a pass.

Panetta: Not Punished For Revealing Classified Information

Panetta: Not Punished For Revealing Classified Information

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta spoke about classified “top secrets” at an awards ceremony in 2013 and revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that captured and killed Osama bin Laden. He faced no repercussions. General David Petreaus, another former head of the CIA, shared classified information with his biographer/mistress. He reached an agreement to plead guilty to a simple misdemeanor and was sentenced to a fine and two years of probation. Today, Petreaus continues to advise the White House on the fight against ISIS.

One federal prosecutor I spoke with was particularly irked by what Director Comey said at the end of his news conference. “He said, in effect, ‘Oh, and by the way, you other government people out there you better not think this is a free ride for you … just because were not prosecuting her doesn’t mean we won’t prosecute you!’”

Rack up another one for the idea that in America if you’re rich and politically connected the law doesn’t necessarily apply to you.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Franklin Andazola writes:

“Dear Ms. Dimond:
If Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” as secretary of state she more than probably be careless as president.
What two terrific candidates we have. If we’re lucky the world will come to an end before the election.
God help us. We need a miracle!”

Sincerely yours,
Franklin Andazola

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Facebook Friend Drew Rutberg writes:

“It is the first time I’ve ever heard of not having intent apply to national security. Let the chips fall where they may from this statement but she belongs in prison the same way you or I would be if we did half of what she did and she should be barred from ever holding office. The extant of the damage she did with her server will probably never be known in our lifetime.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Facebook Friend Kathy Deaton writes:

” Yes having a private server in her basement that’s a travesty in itself.// If I had a private server in my house passing information the was classified they would put me under the jail.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Facebook Friend Donald Wilbert writes:

“You have it right, Diane. Indicted, put on trial and some Federal prison time. If it was anyone else, that is how it would work.

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Facebook Friend Joya Colucci Lord writes:

“Excellent article, Diane. As usual! I had a high level security clearance (Top Secret with additional special accesses) for many years, in the military and before and after my service as a contractor, I have personally observed a number of situations where folks have been reprimanded, admonished, or punished for unintentional security breaches. One, for example, was for a soldier crumpling up a single page of classified material and throwing it in the unclassified trash by mistake, rather than throwing it in the burn bag (for disposing of classified material) which was right next to the trash. You’d have thought the kid gave away national secrets to the Russians! This whole thing is a travesty.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Facebook Friend Dawn Dix writes:

“I’m telling you Diane, I’m incredibly afraid that our country is in serious trouble. I’m noticing censorship of people speaking out online about things like this and the Dallas incident…we are two steps away from communism. I don’t want to be labeled as a paranoid nutjob, but I’ve been paying attention, and some of the things I’m seeing are scary and out of control.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Facebook Friend Roy Merritt writes:

“We know HRC won’t go to prison. But she and the DNC should not put us in the position to choose her, a self described klutz, who can’t handle government business.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Drew Rutberg replies: “Well Roy I’ll have agree with you . I don’t think she was a klutz as,you phrase it. I believe she intermingled private business with the people’s business and profited from both. She tried to hide her dirty dealings in my opinion.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Twitter Pal Rev. Love@JB101 writes:

“@DiDimond He (AG Comey) was absolutely right. There was no intent and neither did she lie about classified emails! Unfortunately it didn’t suit some?

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Noozhawk Reader AN50 writes:

“She was never going to be indicted, ever. The Clinton machine is really good and they got the goods on the Justice department, I mean, you really don’t believe Billy was talking about his family on that plane do you? Comey had a gun to his head, that was plain for all to see. He also made it clear that the only way we would have real justice is at the ballot box.

That means those who vote for HRC, vote for unequal justice, favors for the powerful, the whip for the rest of us.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Noozhawk Reader robo sm writes:

“Absolutely right on! To give a ‘pass’ therefore furthering a political agenda in disregard of the law is criminal in itself. Obviously the ‘fix was in. If Trump wasn’t such a blowhard this would never have happened. DC want’s business as usual so they can all continue to be parasites on the backs of Americans. Please let’s do the right thing- at some point corruption needs exposure or it will take over.”

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