Hillary Clinton's email scandal teaches a lesson

August 30, 2016

 

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced earlier this July that she is not filing charges against

Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information using a private

email server during her time as Secretary of State. This came after FBI Director James Comey

argued that her actions do not warrant criminal charges.

 

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of

classified information,” Comey said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring

such a case.” Comey added that, in reviewing past cases involving mishandled classified

information, he could not find any instance like Clinton’s that led to criminal charges.

 

The primary difference for Comey was that Clinton did not send classified information

intentionally. All prior cases in which the accused had been charged involved some proof of

“intentional and willful mishandling of classified information” or evidence of treason. Clinton

was simply careless.

 

Nearly 2,100 emails were marked “secret” or “top secret” after Clinton had already sent or

received them. Clinton’s defense centered on the fact that the state department labeled these

emails retroactively. However, this defense holds little water given that 113 of the emails were

labeled as such even before she sent them.

 

Clinton’s defendants also argued that prior Secretaries of State had acted similarly, pointing to

Colin Powell who also used a personal email account during his time in office. However,

PolitiFact found that Powell did not use this account for government communication, nor did he

use a private home server. Clinton’s actions set her apart.

 

Furthermore, even if all of the emails had been marked retroactively and Powell had acted

similarly during his time in office, Clinton’s actions are still not justifiable.

 

Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement upon assuming the office of Secretary of State. The

agreement stated that all sensitive material must be treated as classified, even if it has not been

explicitly labeled as such. Clinton clearly violated that agreement.

 

Any information sent through an unsecured server could have gotten into the wrong hands.

Acting as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton could not afford to be so careless. The NSA

suggested that Clinton set up a secure desktop computer rather than sending classified emails

through her home server via a Blackberry cellphone. The fact that Clinton blatantly ignored this

suggestion is evidence as to why there needs to be more oversight in how classified emails are

sent.

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