Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Non-Indictment of Hillary

Of course it's not quite that simple. The prosecutors that will review the information developed by the FBI could still choose to bring indictments against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her illegal activities as Secretary of State.

Of course, FBI Director James Comey said that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case." That caused me to wonder just what he meant. Did he mean that the evidence didn't support criminal charges — the impression Comey worked terribly hard to convey? Or did he mean that no "reasonable prosecutor" would proceed with such a case because they would know they would be cashiered by DOJ political appointees if they did?

Actually, Comey said more. He said that

To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information. The F.B.I. found neither, and as a result, he said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
This is wrong in multiple respects. Here are two:
  1. There are two statutes that apply to the mishandling of classified information as occurred in this case. One of them requires intent, either intentionally transmission or willfully mishandling of classified information. The other just requires the perpetrator be "extremely careless" — i.e., negligent or reckless — in the handling of classified information. And Comey demonstrated that Hillary had been "extremely careless" (his words).
  2. Reasonable prosecutors have brought such charges in the past, including the charges against a former director of the CIA who was indicted for having classified material on his home computer, and was only spared a trial by being pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001. And just last year the Obama Administration prosecuted and convicted a naval reservist who downloaded some classified to a personal electronic device but never made it available to anyone else.
There's also the fact that Hillary deliberately had her private server set up, in part to avoid the State Department's security systems.

So Hillary talks about how reckless Donald Trump might be, while she is the one who has demonstrated her recklessness — either deliberate intent or gross negligence — in handling national security information, as shown by FBI Director Comey.

And of course General Petraeus was cashiered for far lesser transgressions.

There are a couple of "take-aways" from this situation. One is part of what else the FBI director said.

After announcing his no-charge recommendation, Comey added:
To be clear, 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.
In other words, laws are for little people.
Another likely inference is this:
which translates roughly as "the fix is in."

Clearly "All men are created equal", but some are more equal than others.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day!

How often have you heard it said "Freedom isn't free!"? Here's something of a meditation on the Fourth of July and the Declaration of Independence, from the late Paul Harvey, that gives additional meaning to this phrase. Early on, he notes that "All others of the world's revolutions, before and since, were initiated by men who had nothing to lose. ... Our founders had everything to lose, and nothing to gain. Except one thing." The video is at Paul Harvey: Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor. It's ten minutes long, but that's a really worthwhile ten minutes. Go spend the time. You'll be glad you did.

Happy Fourth of July!
Happy Independence Day!