Tags: Hillary Clinton | Ronald Kessler | FBI | Rarely | Prosecutes | Mishandling | Classified

Ronald Kessler: FBI Rarely Prosecutes Mishandling Classified Information

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By    |   Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 10:56 AM

The FBI rarely prosecute officials for mishandling classified information, according to former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Ronald Kessler.

Writing in The Washington Times, Kessler notes the U.S. criminal code is clear: Treating information related to national defense with "gross negligence" is punishable with up to 10 years in prison.

FBI Director James Comey did not explain his decision not to charge Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, Kessler said, noting as an example, a former Justice Department official John L. Martin, who supervised the prosecution of 76 spies, "with only one of the prosecutions resulting in an acquittal."

When cases involved mishandling classified information, Martin sent the case back to the agency of the employee in question, which usually resulted in lifting of security clearance or firing, Kessler said. The law does not require criminal intent, but usually the Justice Department combines the charge with other violations, in an attempt to ensure a conviction.

Comey had to consider whether prosecuting Clinton would cause chaos in the presidential election process, writes Kessler, and Martin, who retired in August 1997, approved Comey's decision not to prosecute Clinton.

"Taking on an unwinnable case which cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt against a high-profile defendant makes you look like you are not motivated by examining the facts and the law," Martin told Kessler.

The former Justice Department official also said that prosecuting Clinton in such an "unwinnable" case would have been detrimental to the public interest.

"You lose credibility with the courts, Congress and the public. It undercuts the entire government and the way it treats its citizens," Martin said.

Comey proved his own integrity by not prosecuting Clinton, Kessler writes.

Former FBI investigator Bill Daly agreed, telling Fox Business he believed Comey "did the right thing."

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The FBI rarely prosecute officials for mishandling classified information, according to former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Ronald Kessler.
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Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 10:56 AM
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