When I ended my July 4, 2016 column with “Happy 240th America. And here’s to your 250th….if you can make it.” I had no idea that barely 24 hours later I would be thinking to myself “forget 250, at this rate we’ll be lucky to make 241.”
Thanks to 21st century technology I was able to listen live to FBI Director James Comey’s press conference regarding the agency’s investigation into the email practices of one 18th century Marie Antoinette act alike Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As I listened, my mind was comparing Hillary’s past statements with Comey’s facts being presented:
“Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain” (So much for that “single device for convenience” claim.)
Clinton’s claim to have never “sent or received” classified information? Countered with the fact of “110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains” being discovered with “Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret”.
Oh and that insistence that only personal emails about yoga and wedding plans were deleted and that she provided all possible work-related emails? “The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014…..The lawyers doing the sorting for Secretary Clinton in 2014 did not individually read the content of all of her e-mails,”
For a brief, (very brief) few moments I found myself actually believing that after all the abuses it has taken the past few years, the rule of law was finally going to get its day in court.
But then Comey took it upon himself to ignore his own words “In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate” and assumed the role of both judge and jury to declare that no charges would be recommended.
Using the reasoning that the “extreme carelessness” of Hillary’s actions did not rise to “gross negligence” (I’ll take Word Gymnastics for $1,000 Alex) and that there was no sign of “intent” (I’ll take Mind Reading for another $1,000 Alex) James Comey not only handed Hillary Clinton the ultimate “get out of jail free” card, he turned the concept of “equal justice under the law” on its head and put every future prosecution for mishandling of classified information in jeopardy.
US News is already reporting that Michael Bowe, attorney for Marine Reserves Maj. Jason Brezler, will “cite the treatment of Secretary Clinton as one of the many” reasons why his client’s punishment was the “very definition of an arbitrary and capricious double standard,”.
And then there’s the case of Bryan Nishimura. A Naval reservist stationed in Afghanistan in 2007-2008 whom according to the July 29, 2015 FBI sentencing statement on its website: “caused the materials (classified information) to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media” and also “continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations”.
But here’s the money quote: “The investigation did not reveal evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel.”
Now, for having no “intent” and for doing far less than what the FBI discovered Hillary & Co. did, Bryan H. Nishimura got two years of probation, was fined $7500 and “ordered to surrender any currently held security clearance and to never again seek such a clearance.”
His life is ruined while Hillary’s free to resume her heroine of history tour.
That folks is the difference between being just another random American having to live under the law and being a Clinton allowed to skate above it.
PUBLISHER’s NOTE: A version of this column first appeared in the July 10, 2016 print edition of the Joplin Globe.