FBI director James Comey admitted to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had given classified information to her personal lawyers, among others, who lacked security clearance.
Comey was being questioned, late in the fifth hour of the hearing, by committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), after the FBI director had been pressed repeatedly about his claim that there was insufficient evidence of “intent” to prosecute Clinton.
Chaffetz zeroed in on the question of whether people without security clearance had access to her e-mails, which included not only her attorneys, but also the administrators of her private e-mail servers.
Chaffetz: Yes or no: were there, or were there not, classified emails that Hillary Clinton’s attorneys read?
Comey: I don’t know whether they read them at the time.
Chaffetz: Did Hillary Clinton give non-cleared people access to classified information?
Comey: Yes. Yes.
Chaffetz: What do you think her intent was?
Comey: I think then it was to get good legal representation and to make the production to the State Department. I think it would be a very tall order in that circumstance — I don’t see the evidence there to make a case that she was acting with criminal intent in her engagement with her lawyers.
Chaffetz: And I just — I guess I read, in criminal intent, as the idea that you allow somebody without a security clearance access to classified information. Everybody knows that, director. Everybody knows that.
Shortly beforehand, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) continued his attack on Comey’s use of “intent” as a legal standard, which Comey admitted was not in the federal statute, but was based on the past practice of the FBI and Department of Justice.
“You are reading a specific intent element into a gross negligence statute,” Gowdy said.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.