Comey on Clinton email: The highlights

WASHINGTON – In announcing that the FBI would not recommend criminal charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Director James Comey nevertheless strongly criticized the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s use of a private email server. Highlights of his statement :


Though Comey said his agents did not find clear evidence that Clinton or her aides intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, he said there was evidence that they were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Of the roughly 30,000 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department in 2014, he said 110 contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. Another 2,000 emails were “up-classified,” or reclassified to a higher level of secrecy, after they were later reviewed, but were not classified at the time they were sent.



The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related emails that were not among those Clinton turned over. Some were recovered from data remaining on Clinton’s old servers, while others were found by reviewing the archived government email accounts of people who traded emails with Clinton. Three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received. Clinton has repeatedly said her lawyers reviewed and deleted only emails that were clearly personal, such as wedding plans and birthday-party invitations. Comey said the FBI found no evidence that any of the additional work-related emails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.



Comey said the FBI did not find direct evidence that Clinton’s personal email was successfully hacked. But if sophisticated hackers, such as those working for a foreign intelligence agency, had breached Clinton’s server, Comey said they would likely have left no trace. At least one person with whom Clinton regularly communicated was hacked, and the FBI director said Clinton’s use of a personal email was “both known by a large number of people and readily apparent.” Clinton also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails, in “the territory of sophisticated adversaries.” Comey said it was therefore possible that “hostile actors” gained access to Clinton’s email account.



Although Comey said there is evidence of potential violations regarding Clinton’s handling of classified information, he said “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a criminal case based on that evidence. Comey said the FBI’s probe turned up no evidence that Clinton intentionally and wilfully mishandled classified information or attempted to obstruct justice. It will be up to career prosecutors at the Justice Department to make a final determination on whether to pursue criminal charges. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that she would follow the recommendations of the FBI and of her senior staff.


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Comey’s statement: