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Chicago Tribune: FBI’s Damning Non-Indictment Shows ‘Extremely Careless’ Clinton

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Editorial Board
Chicago Tribune

Here’s the campaign bumper sticker you won’t see: “Clinton in ’16 — Because No Charges Were Recommended.”

FBI Director James Comey announced Tuesday that, having completed its investigation, his agency will not recommend to the U.S. Department of Justice that Hillary Clinton face criminal prosecution for mishandling sensitive emails when she was secretary of state. No reasonable prosecutor would take up this case, Comey said.

That decision is an enormous relief to Clinton, and an artful escape. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president no longer has to worry about the presumptive part. It looks like she’ll get the nod at the National Democratic Convention. If the FBI had concluded that Clinton likely broke the law, the bumper sticker of the day would have nixed her name and instead featured Joe Biden’s.

Let’s leave the cheerleading to her campaign staffers, though. This is a political disaster for Clinton. Relying exclusively on a private email server to do the public’s work as America’s top diplomat was foolish and reckless. Comey, in a surprise televised statement, rendered a two-word judgment that may never be forgotten: “extremely careless.” As that behavior applies to classified government information, it’s not what many people are looking for in a president.

Specifically, Comey said: “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

He continued: “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.”

Parsing that statement, the phrase that sticks out is “any reasonable person,” as in: You’d think the barest qualification for being secretary of state — or becoming president — is the ability to use reasonable judgment. Clinton, the FBI director asserted, failed that test. It’s not going too far to say that what she did could be a firing offense, if she were still on the job. Getting the ax would be the likely fate of any high federal official who showed a willful lack of respect for handling U.S. secrets. But set aside government protocols and politics. Imagine the phrase “extremely careless” stamped on your own performance evaluation by the boss. What might the consequences be?

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