Two days ago, FBI Director James Comey’s statement on the findings of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails seemed to lead to a recommendation for indictment. According to Section 793(f) of the Espionage Act, if you are lawfully entrusted with any information that is related to national defense and allow it to be removed or destroyed through gross negligence (or have knowledge of it being illegally removed), you face a fine and/or up to ten years in prison. Gross negligence is a legal term that means serious carelessness. FBI Director James Comey presented several facts that prove Clinton is indeed guilty of gross negligence:

-”From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined, by the owning agency, to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.”

-”None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff…”

-”We assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”

The facts presented by Comey made many believe that he had proven gross negligence and that Clinton was going to be recommended for indictment. However, he stopped short:

We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

Comey decided not to bring a case against Hillary because she did not have the intent to harm the country; however, the law does not require intent. It only requires gross negligence. It is grossly negligent to have several private servers that aren’t protected from foreign hackers. It is grossly negligent to delete emails that contain classified information. Finally, although it doesn’t play a factor in the legality of the case, it is grossly negligent to lie to the American people (on several accounts) by repeatedly asserting that she did not send classified information when, in fact, she did.

Intent should not have been a factor in this case. Anyone with top secret security clearance should never intend to hurt the United States or its people. If we apply this logic in a broad fashion, people who drive drunk don’t intend to cause irreparable damage, yet they still have to live with the legal consequences. Students who sign up for a class in the fall don’t intend to fail it, yet the failing grade remains on their transcript. The consequences of these mistakes teach hard and valuable lessons to the individuals involved and allow opportunities for growth.

Hillary admitted that she made a mistake by having a private server. In her own words, “no individual should be too big to jail.” No individual should be exempt from dealing with the consequences because of their status or political leaning. In normal circumstances, one would be jailed or fined for this mistake. However, the only lesson Hillary learned from her mistake is that she is, indeed, too big to jail.

Hillary Clinton didn’t have to learn a lesson the hard way from this ordeal, but the American people did. We learned that the Clintons, a part of the political elite, are too big to jail. We learned that, once again, Hillary is not afraid to lie to the American people. Hopefully, come November, the American people will apply the principles of the lessons the Clintons have taught us to the ballot box.

Reagan R
FFL Contributor