Bryan Nishimura must have been shocked to learn about Hillary Clinton’s “great escape” from an indictment for her “extremely careless” handling of classified material on her private email servers.
A year ago, the FBI helped convict Nishimura — a U.S. Navy reservist and Afghan war veteran — of committing the same crime for which Hillary will not be indicted. The FBI criminally prosecuted Nishmura for having classified material on at least one personal electronic device — its use unauthorized by the U.S. government.
Specifically, Nishmura’s charge was having “handled classified materials inappropriately” — to which he pled guilty. The FBI recommended prosecution without any evidence he intended to distribute the information. Nishmura’s crime, just like that of Clinton and her aides, was extreme carelessness in using an unauthorized electronic device for transmitting classified material.
Comey made a patently false representation during his Hillary-not-to-be-indicted statement — one a review of his own FBI files would have reflected. He asserted of other cases where the FBI opted to prosecute:
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.
Apparently, Comey’s files do not go back twelve months to the Nishmura case.
Another person undoubtedly surprised by the FBI’s decision is former CIA spy-turned-traitor Edward Snowden, who tweeted: “Break classification rules for the public’s benefit, and you could be exiled. Do it for personal benefit, and you could be president.”
While opting not to prosecute, Comey also did not give Hillary a free pass. He left no doubt her actions were inexcusable. As one critic summed up Comey’s fifteen minute drubbing of the former Secretary of State’s conduct: “…Here, in detail, is how Hillary Clinton spilled state secrets and lied about it non-stop since March 2015. Regardless, she should walk away scot-free.”
Just as in the Nishmura case, intent was not a requirement for prosecution in Hillary’s case. Many legal scholars make clear Comey’s reliance upon intent is simply unfounded. One of them, long-time Comey friend and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, noted: “There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey…Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18).”
McCarthy stated Comey’s assertion intent is required is a complete misinterpretation of the law.
Perhaps to toss a crumb to those suffering distress over his decision, 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.
Yet why, then, were such sanctions—rather than persecution—not sought for Nishmura?
House Speaker Paul Ryan has suggested Comey’s condemnation of Hillary should result in her being denied access to classified information as a presidential candidate.
While all of this leaves many wondering whether the word “Equal” in the creed appearing above the main portico of the U.S. Supreme Court building, “Equal Justice Under Law,” should be deleted, the FBI announcement is accompanied by two examples reflecting further bad judgment by Hillary and/or the Obama Administration.
The first involved Bill Clinton’s private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac at a Phoenix, Arizona, airport, days before the FBI’s decision. It was irresponsible on the part of both participants to engage in conduct suggesting impropriety. Furthermore, the Secret Service ordering a press blackout on the meeting only added to perceptions something just did not smell right.
The second involved Hillary’s location at the time Comey issued his statement. She was about to board Air Force One with President Barack Obama to go to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a campaign rally.
While the President obviously would have been briefed on the FBI’s decision beforehand, nonetheless, it gives the outward appearance of inappropriateness and possible conspiracy that Obama would have made prior arrangements to travel with Hillary at such a time.
The conspiracy theory is also supported by Hillary’s confident assurances, given a month earlier, she would not be indicted despite conduct clearly violating Section 793(f)’s specific standard of “gross negligence” (i.e., extremely careless) in the handling of classified information.
At Hillary’s rally, Obama said: “I’m here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton. There has never been a man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton. Ever. And that’s the truth.”
It was an oddly-timed observation by Obama after Comey had provided a litany of reasons why Hillary was unqualified to hold the office. Is Obama suggesting we accept Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary but ignore all else he said about her?
Of course, Obama did leave himself an out, claiming, “And that’s the truth.” We now know, based on disclosures by Obama’s own foreign policy guru, Ben Rhodes, the administration’s standard for truth is non-existent. This was evidenced by Rhodes’ boast the administration lied to the media to help move the nuclear deal with Iran forward.
Telling the truth about U.S. national security has never been a requirement for Obama. Such an unequivocal statement about Hillary’s qualifications should be taken in that vein.
Nor should it be ignored a criminal investigation into Hillary’s conduct is still ongoing as to allegations Clinton Foundation donors paid-to-play. Hillary’s actions concerning foundation donors, while possibly criminal, has prompted a separate investigation of conduct which—at a minimum—reflects further bad judgment by her.
Such judgment endangers our national security, tying up dozens of FBI investigators who could better focus their attention on identifying potential security threats, such as that presented by Orlando mass killer Omar Mateen.
As one pundit suggests, Hillary has made the FBI’s Least-Wanted List.
Hillary managed a great escape once; will she do so again?
Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.