In a scandalous announcement, FBI director James Comey moments ago said that “although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information” and he gave extensive evidence of just that, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
He added that “prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.”
What is shocking is that the FBI director was clearly ignoring the US code itself, where in Section 793, subsection (f),”Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information“, it makes it quite clear that intent is not a key consideration in a case like this when deciding to press charges, to wit:
Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
What is even more shocking is that according to Comey, “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”
Well, we did. Here is the FBI itself, less than a year ago, charging one Bryan H. Nishimura, 50, of Folsom, who pleaded guilty to “unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials” without malicious intent, in other words precisely what the FBI alleges Hillary did (h/t @DavidSirota):
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman immediately sentenced Nishimura to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine, and forfeiture of personal media containing classified materials. Nishimura was further ordered to surrender any currently held security clearance and to never again seek such a clearance.
According to court documents, Nishimura was a Naval reservist deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. In his role as a Regional Engineer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Nishimura had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers. Nishimura, however, caused the materials to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media. He carried such classified materials on his unauthorized media when he traveled off-base in Afghanistan and, ultimately, carried those materials back to the United States at the end of his deployment. In the United States, Nishimura continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations, and copied the materials onto at least one additional unauthorized and unclassified system.
Nishimura’s actions came to light in early 2012, when he admitted to Naval personnel that he had handled classified materials inappropriately. Nishimura later admitted that, following his statement to Naval personnel, he destroyed a large quantity of classified materials he had maintained in his home. Despite that, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Nishimura’s home in May 2012, agents recovered numerous classified materials in digital and hard copy forms. The investigation did not reveal evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jean M. Hobler prosecuted the case