How will FBI Findings impact the Clinton Email FOIA Lawsuits?

Update

I had to link to the piece covering the interview between Andrea Mitchell and former DOJ Matt Miller.

Appreciations to Mr. Miller for calling out Director Comey’s behavior as inappropriate. It was.

Earler

In reading FBI Director’s Comey’s statement I was pleased that the investigation is ended and the FBI has recommended no criminal sanctions. The administrative sanctions he mentioned could consist of demotions, suspensions, or other employment impact, but since Hillary Clinton is no longer a Secretary of State, it doesn’t matter.

It’s likely the DOJ will go along with the FBI finding. So, for those who have stated they know for a fact Hillary Clinton is going to jail, sorry to disappoint, but it isn’t going to happen.

I expected this investigation to focus on the State Department’s handling of email as an agency, but instead, it focused on Hillary Clinton and excluded previous Secretaries of State who also didn’t use State email. Director Comey neglected to mention the fact that a private server doesn’t matter if he is concerned about email being transmitted via mobile devices—security would be compromised just as much if the server was State’s.

He also neglected to separate out those emails that originated with Clinton and those that originated with others. Remember that some of the emails actually contained excerpts from articles at the time, and the article contents were deemed classified or top secret.

As for Director Comey’s chastisement of Hillary Clinton, she’s already accepted that she screwed up with the personal server. I can guarantee you that she’ll not make this mistake, again. But I didn’t like Comey’s tone in his statement. Unless he was willing to broaden his criticism to include Colin Powell, as well as various other cabinet members that have used private email accounts, than his chastisement rings hollow. And more than a little patronizing.

But it’s over and done. Trump will excerpt the bad bits, and mangle them as only he knows how, and we’ll hear about them forever and a day. But I think the majority of Americans are just sick and tired of the topic, so Trump will only hurt himself…something he’s very good at.

The FBI Director’s statement also has, in my opinion, an impact on the FOIA lawsuits. If additional emails were found, they were most likely turned over to State and will be released. But Comey also went into a great deal of explanation as to why they weren’t discovered, and most of that has to do with incorrect searches, and technology. He very carefully noted that the FBI found no evidence of emails being deleted in order to hide their contents.

I should add here that we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed. Because she was not using a government account—or even a commercial account like Gmail—there was no archiving at all of her e-mails, so it is not surprising that we discovered e-mails that were not on Secretary Clinton’s system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 e-mails to the State Department.

It could also be that some of the additional work-related e-mails we recovered were among those deleted as “personal” by Secretary Clinton’s lawyers when they reviewed and sorted her e-mails for production in 2014.

The lawyers doing the sorting for Secretary Clinton in 2014 did not individually read the content of all of her e-mails, as we did for those available to us; instead, they relied on header information and used search terms to try to find all work-related e-mails among the reportedly more than 60,000 total e-mails remaining on Secretary Clinton’s personal system in 2014. It is highly likely their search terms missed some work-related e-mails, and that we later found them, for example, in the mailboxes of other officials or in the slack space of a server.

It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.

We have conducted interviews and done technical examination to attempt to understand how that sorting was done by her attorneys. Although we do not have complete visibility because we are not able to fully reconstruct the electronic record of that sorting, we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.

The FOIA lawsuits imply that material was held back deliberately, and the FBI has basically cleared all personnel of deliberate malfeasance when it comes to document discovery. The department doesn’t think highly of Clinton’s use of a private email server, State’s email systems and handling of classified information, but that’s not a surprise. State itself has noted that it has problems, as evidenced by the OIG report.

My hope is that the FBI Director’s statement will end these absurd FOIA discovery efforts. Unless Judicial Watch, the instigator of most, wants to depose Director Comey or his agents. In which case all I can say is good luck with that one.

The problem of too many requests for information, the State being badly backlogged on FOIA requests, the large number of lawsuits, and the intolerant arrogance of some of the Judges involved in the lawsuits is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and needs to end.

This all needs to end.

If people don’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton because she used a private email server, fine. I’m glad they found the issue that’s of most importance to them. But large chunks of our federal government are being used by Republicans to attack Clinton rather than focusing on the tasks they should be focused on. And there’s better use for the taxpayer money being spent than to fund Judicial Watch and other conservative organizations’ continuous and never-ending FOIA demands.

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