No, She’s NOT “Too Big to Indict.” Grow Up.

For months, I have said that Hillary Clinton would not be indicted for her emails and after the professional left’s collective orgasm over the past 24 hours, I wish I had explained why I knew that before. Despite the pro left losing their collective shit and shouting that “the system is rigged” and trotting out the old saw, “too big to (indict),” what happened here is justice.

That is not to say the system isn’t rigged. In some ways, it is, especially if you’re a Person of Color, and/or you’re poor and/or you are LGBT. And it can be said that it is rigged in favor of politicians in general, especially since Congress has a habit of exempting itself from most of the laws it passes. But in this case, what happened with Hillary Clinton is actual justice. No, she should not be above the law, but she also shouldn’t be below it.

Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey took the relatively unusual step of holding a news conference announcing that they were not recommending that the Attorney General indict Hillary Clinton for actions related to her emails. (Source) Now, think about that. If Clinton was “above the law,” as one prominent pro left site put it, or “too big to indict,” as another stated as if it was fact, then why hold the news conference at all? The FBI never holds a press conference to announce that it’s NOT recommending indictment of someone. And it wasn’t like Comey said nothing was wrong; he went on national TV to say that Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in using confidential information. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement; in fact, it put the lie to the assertion that she was given some sort of preferential treatment. It’s much the opposite of that.

It’s understandable, given the tenor of press coverage of the email “scandal.” Look at the big deal they made of the fact that Hillary Clinton was “questioned” by the FBI last Saturday. Do you know what word is missing from most professional left coverage of that meeting? They failed to mention that it was voluntary. Yes, that’s what I said; it was a voluntary meeting. She didn’t have to attend if she didn’t want to. Then, there is the chance meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch, who have known each other for more than 20 years. Apparently, because a few immature morons think the only thing the two of them possibly could have talked about what the case against Hillary. As if Bill walked up to Loretta and asked about Hillary’s investigation and Loretta just spilled. Worse, according to some people, she apparently agreed to drop it because Bill asked. No one gets to rise in the ranks of the legal profession by answering every question asked of them. Therefore, talking about grandchildren is far more plausible. (Congratulations to Chelsea on the birth of her new baby, by the way!)

The professional left is breathlessly declaring that Hillary Clinton is receiving favorable treatment when it’s more likely that the opposite is happening. A case can be made that she’s being treated differently, but not in a favorable way. No one gets indicted for these types of offenses, but they also never have to endure their name being dragged through the mud. For example, you may recall that, in the wake of the theft of documents by Edward Snowden, the NSA conducted an audit and found that several employees had compromised data to spy on cheating spouses or to do personal background checks that were not authorized. According to the audit report, those employees were disciplined, but there were no indictments. We know this because the indictments would have been public. By law, they have to be.

Government employees often do stupid shit with classified information. They get fired, they get demoted and they sometimes lose their pensions or pay administrative fines. But to be indicted for a crime, someone has to establish intent to do something bad. That is the norm. There is no rash of criminal complaints every year in which government employees who mishandle classified information are hauled into court and put on trial. It just doesn’t happen. Therefore, if you’re demanding that Hillary be frog-marched and hauled off to federal prison because she replied to a few email chains without checking to make sure there wasn’t classified information attached, you’re actually asking that she be made the exception. That’s not justice.

Justice is about making sure the punishment fits the “crime.” And demanding that a presidential candidate be put on trial for a technical infraction is demanding that she be given special treatment, just in a negative way. Using a private server is not ideal, but she did ask for permission and the GOP had blocked IT upgrades at the State Department for years. That means the State Department had no classified internal server, anyway, so it was either that or use a Yahoo or Gmail account. Is that better? You might want to ask Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell, who also sent and received classified information on a private account. (Source)  And no, I’m not calling for their indictments, either.

Let’s face it; if being careless was a crime, there wouldn’t be enough prisons in the universe. There isn’t a single person whining on social media about how Hillary is getting away with something, or writing on a professional left blog about how Hillary is “too big to be indicted” who could pass that level of scrutiny.

And before you start with, “Yeah, well… she’s running for president!” let me remind you that even the Sanders campaign cheated with the DNC database and Jane Sanders hasn’t been indicted for her mishandling of funds at Burlington College. Not every mistake we make is an indictable criminal offense. In fact, when it comes to mishandling classified information, it is required that prosecutors prove both “bad faith” and “intent.” It’s the same for you as it is for Hillary Clinton.

Thank goodness, right?

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  1. A nit but since you seem to hold a high standard of probity I will suggest you fix this:

    “The FBI never holds a press conference to announce that it’s NOT indicting someone.”

    This is because the FBI never indicts anyone, or decides not to. The DoJ does that. The press conference said that the FBI was not going to recommend indictment because they could not find any precedent to do so given the facts. I think it is unusual to make such an announcement any way. So your overall point is valid.

  2. I agree, mostly. But did she actually ask permission? The IG report said she did not. What source says she did? Just trying to get my facts straight.

    1. I doubt if she formally asked for permission. I don’t know. I’m just putting a reasonable common sense interpretation of what we do know. She merely followed the precedent. Whether she used the State department system – a system that is apparently a mess – or her own, the system was not secure. Classified information was not supposed to be on or transmitted through either system. There is a separate system for transmitting classified information. Mostly hard copy or face to face as far as Clinton is concerned. This is just email eventually accessible to the public anyway. Of all the decisions she faced as incoming SecState, this was a no-brainer. She was thoughtless about it, but I think that is very understandable.

      When she made her choice, it was for convenience. She did not see it as a security issue. As long as the system at State was set up to capture her emails, the record-keeping requirement was met. That her system was not really secure was not relevant because State’s computer was not secure. No email system is secure. This is why classified info should not be transmitted via email.

      Hillary was completely oblivious to the technological issues. She didn’t even have a computer in her office. Security people at State knew about her server and knew it was not kosher, but they also knew the State system was hacked all the time, and it was email. Powell and Rice did something similar. Nobody deliberately sends anything classified via email. Security surely had much bigger fish to fry, bigger issues to pursue. Why wouldn’t they have correctly assessed this as a minor issue? It was a minor issue.

      Staff inadvertently transmit “classified” material via email because different agencies have different classifications. Seven of the eight “breaches” in the Clinton case involved newspaper stories that contained classified information about drones. The eighth one was actually a staff error. Somebody forwarded a report to Clinton about a foreign leader (all files on foreign leaders are classified.) When the staffer extracted the data, he or she is supposed to remove all classification markings before forwarding the report to Clinton. He or she missed three small tags buried in the body of the report. If they had been properly removed, the FBI could not say that Clinton sent or received emails that were marked classified.

      Another Clinton mountain made out of a molehill. A nothing burger.

      1. I tend to agree with just about everything you said. But according to the IG report, she did not ask permission to use her own email server. That’s the only problem I had with Milt’s piece above since he specifically said she asked for permission.

  3. The entire story is nonsense. It drives me crazy to see the American discourse go careening out of control as it clearly has here.

    First, the entire Clinton server could be turned over to Putin and it would not amount to a hill of beans. American security was never compromised. Real secrets are not shared via email.

    Second, the classification kerfuffle is the usual turf war between State and the Intelligence services (including the FBI). The latter groups always think the diplomats are lax about security and State always think the classification system is stupid. For example, a leaked Clinton transgression occurred when a staffer sent her a NYT story about the drone program. Drones are still classified big time. To State – and everyone else with common sense – that is stupid. Everybody knows about the program and diplomats can’t do their jobs if they pretend it does not exist.

    Clinton’s emails are about as trivial as mine.

    Finally, even if there was something terrible about the use of a private server, it is dumb to blame Hillary Clinton for it. I would blame the IT team at State. Hillary Clinton did not know how to attach a file to an email. She doesn’t know what a server does. She is not qualified to decide anything about computer security. Since she didn’t expect that anything classified would be on her email, she didn’t give ten seconds thought to the issue. “Powell and Rice used their own email account?” said Aunt Hillary. “I can keep the device I know how to use? Oh, goody.”

    That’s a crime? Its a joke. It isn’t worth ten minutes of anybody’s time.

  4. Amusing, no? The same people, who applauded Traitor Eddie when he dumped a “Civil Liberties” smokescreen while running off to Russian with two million Top Secret documents, are now posturing as the most rigorous Information Security Fundamentalists ever. No wonder everyone is sick of their crap.

  5. I’m certainly glad we still have a few, admittedly very few, bloggers with such common sense as you to tell it like it really is, even when it’s not exactly what I wanted to hear.

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