Speaking earlier Tuesday, FBI Director Jim Comey outlined his agency’s recommendation that Hillary Clinton not be indicted over her mishandling of classified materials. But while the Clinton campaign is celebrating and conservatives are fulminating, Hillary Clinton has not been vindicated. Comey — America’s highest ranking law enforcement officer — explicitly described how the presumptive Democratic nominee willfully and repeatedly failed in her responsibilities to the people.
Here, from my perspective, are the five most damaging takeaways.
1. Hillary Clinton Lied About Her Handling of Classified Materials
Comey explained that “110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the [State Department] to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time…” This proves Clinton lied in her many media denials that she shared classified material.
2. Hillary Clinton Deleted Thousands of Work-Related Emails
Clinton insists that she handed over all her work emails to the State Department. Comey disagrees: “The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional emails in a variety of ways.” Clinton had a responsibility to retain all work-related emails for purposes of federal archiving. That she did not do so in thousands of cases represents an unenviable truth to the American people: Clinton doesn’t simply have disdain for the principle of transparency in government. She actively and unapologetically opposes that principle.
3. Hillary Clinton and/or Her Lawyers Likely Concealed Something
According to Comey, Clinton’s lawyers “cleaned their devices [cell phones etc.] in such a way as to preclude complete forensic investigation.” Those words suggest the FBI has good reason to believe that Clinton or her lawyers took active measures to prevent emails from being recoverable. Why would they do such a thing? We do not know for certain. But we do know that as secretary of state, Clinton gave favors to Clinton Foundation donors. We also have good reason to suspect that the deleted emails were cleaned for less-than-proper reasons. Still, ponder something else: even if the deleted emails are currently unrecoverable, a foreign government (or governments) may have stolen them while Clinton was in office.
4. Hillary Clinton Betrayed Her Responsibility to U.S. National Security
Comey stated, “there is evidence that [Clinton and her staff] were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” And while the FBI did not find direct evidence that Clinton’s server was penetrated by a foreign intelligence service, Comey affirmed that a competent actor would likely avoid leaving evidence of its intrusion.
Additionally, the FBI assessed “that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account.” Comey also outlined how Clinton sent and received personal emails while abroad in Russia and other countries. The evidence therefore makes clear that Clinton showed utter contempt for critical national security concerns. Consider, for example, that when U.S. officials travel to nations like China, France, Israel and Russia — which have highly advanced cyber-espionage abilities and seek to steal U.S. secrets — they are expected to leave their phones in protected facilities. It’s a rule that has widespread acceptance: British government officials are provided temporary phones for use when in nations like China and Russia. Regardless, intelligence work is very dangerous and very important, and Clinton carelessly jeopardized hard-won secrets. Still, the scandal might not be over. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claims he has emails from Clinton’s server. I believe he does. And if he does, where did he get those emails? I think the Russians.
5. Hillary Clinton Would Lose Her Clearance If Her Name Wasn’t Hillary Clinton
“To be clear,” Comey said in his closing remarks, “this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.” Those words are a deliberate and harsh rebuke to Hillary Clinton. Comey wants us to understand that government employees who do what Clinton did would lose their security clearances and careers. And the tenor of Comey’s words suggests that he is personally disgusted by Clinton’s conduct. Leaders are supposed to set an example. Hillary Clinton has immolated that principle.
Ultimately, the men and women of the FBI are individuals of patriotism and integrity — James Comey included. But the job of the FBI is to ensure fidelity to the law. And in that regard, the FBI has concluded that judicial precedence and the evidence in this case would not motivate a criminal indictment. Nevertheless, today’s events should give Americans even greater pause about another Clinton presidency. It is now clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the former Secretary of State is a deeply arrogant and pathological liar.
Tom Rogan is a Senior Contributor for Opportunity Lives and writes for National Review. He is a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a senior fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Follow him on Twitter @TomRtweets.