James Comey’s Error: ‘Double Standard’ to Prosecute Hillary Clinton

Comey (Yuri Gripas / AFP / Getty)
Yuri Gripas / AFP / Getty

You don’t have to believe that FBI director James Comey was influenced or intimidated by political pressure when he decided not to recommend that Hillary Clinton be prosecuted for mis-handling classified information.

You don’t even have to believe he was wrong about the law (which only requires “gross negligence,” not “intent,” as Comey argues).

Comey’s fundamental error was revealed in his statement Thursday that prosecuting her would be a “double standard,” based on the rarity of similar prosecutions.*

Most of America believes the opposite — i.e. that not prosecuting Clinton reveals a double standard. People have been fired or jailed for less egregious offenses than Clinton — including, and especially, people who were honest about their errors, instead of hiding the evidence and lying to Congress and the public, as Clinton did. Anyone who works with national security secrets has, until now, believed and been told that if they accidentally expose classified information, they can be prosecuted.

But something else is wrong with what Comey said. Of course Clinton should be held to a different standard when it comes to “gross negligence.”

She was the Secretary of State, one of the highest officials in the government, and a key member of the president’s national security team. She had also been First Lady, and U.S. Senator from New York during 9/11. She knew about the sensitivity of the information in her department, and even enforced restrictive rules against personal email for others.

In his statement on Tuesday, Comey said “the context of a person’s actions” mattered in deciding to prosecute. Here, the context was Clinton’s position.

Justice is supposed to be no respecter of persons, but as Luke 12:48 says, “to whom much has been given, much will be required.”

No, we should not indulge what Comey called “celebrity hunting,” But as standards for “negligence” change with expertise, so, too, Clinton should have been held to a standard commensurate with her office.

On Tuesday, Comey said “we cannot find a case” for prosecution for “gross negligence” in mis-handling classified information; on Thursday he conceded to Congress that there had been one.

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.


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