If your name is Hillary Clinton and you mishandle classified information, you won’t be charged with a crime. But if you’re a 50-year-old Navy reservist named Brian Nishimura, who stored classified information on your personal computer, you’ll be prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to two years’ probation and a $7,500 fine. Do you think that’s fair? Me neither.
FBI Director James Comey last Tuesday did everything but indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accusing her and her State Department enablers of being “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” But Comey stopped short of an indictment, saying that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
Oh, yes they would, and they did against Brian Nishimura, of Folsom, Calif., who pled guilty to “unauthorized removal and storage of classified materials.” Nishimura, who worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, stored classified material on his personal email server — exactly what Mrs. Clinton did at the State Department.
FBI investigators found that Mrs. Clinton had lied about classified emails after discovering 110 emails that “were classified at the time they were sent or received,” 44 of which were classified Secret or Top Secret. “None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system,” Comey said, adding that “hostile actors” (think China and/or Russia) probably gained access to those secret emails. No wonder most American voters don’t trust Mrs. Clinton to tell the truth.
A similar FBI investigation found that Nishimura “removed and retained classified materials without malicious intent,” exactly what Mrs. Clinton did. He faced federal charges and punishment; she didn’t. Draw your own conclusions. You might also consider that Comey’s decision came a couple of days after Mrs. Clinton’s husband, disbarred and impeached former President Bill Clinton, met with Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, Comey’s boss, aboard her plane on the tarmac at a Phoenix, Ariz. airport and two hours before Mrs. Clinton campaigned with President Obama in North Carolina last Tuesday. Pure coincidence? Or business as usual among our political elite — people who play by their own rules?
Perhaps former Atty. Gen. Eric Holder explained how the system works two years ago when he said “some cases are too big to prosecute.” But House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said Comey’s decision “defies explanation (and) undermines the rule of law.” Does it ever!
Mrs. Clinton and her fervent supporters hope the email controversy will go away between now and November, but it won’t because most Americans still believe in fair play and equal justice for all.
Mrs. Clinton also faces a fire storm of criticism over her role in the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four American diplomats including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. Although House Democrats absolved Mrs. Clinton of blame in the Benghazi incident, House Republicans blamed Mrs. Clinton and politically motivated bureaucratic delays in Washington for the Benghazi debacle and debunked her false claim that the terrorist attack resulted from an obscure Internet video.
Undersecretary of State for Administration Patrick Kennedy and his staff fell on their swords for Mrs. Clinton and took the blame for a lack of adequate security in Benghazi. But the fact remains: Benghazi occurred on her watch and she’s ultimately responsible for what happened there.
One final question: What the hell was Ambassador Stevens doing in lightly guarded Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of 9/11? Even if he had a slight case of “clientitis,” an over-identification with the host country, ex-Secretary Clinton should have ordered him to stay away from such a dangerous place on 9/11. And she should have told the truth about those classified emails.
Guy W. Farmer is a retired diplomat.