Following the FBI’s release of its Clinton email investigation summary report, shark investor Mark Cuban claimed on Twitter that the document dump “clears [Hillary Clinton] 100pct.” It does nothing of the sort. In fact, it almost certainly implicates her beyond a shadow of a doubt as a willing and eager participant in a premeditated and serial criminal abuse of classified information.
This is not up for debate, any more than Bill Clinton’s extramarital sexual escapades are up for debate: only foolish people can deny it at this point.
Apparently there is simply a die-hard class of Americans, of which Cuban seems to be a member, who will remain convinced to the bitter end that Hillary Clinton is innocent of all criminal wrongdoing in this affair. The facts are there, they are homespun and uncomplicated, and they are undeniable. But that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to many folks.
If Hillary Clinton admitted on national television, cackling and wild-eyed as ever, that she sold American nuclear codes to Mohammad Bagheri for a few hundred bucks, a substantial number of the American people would still claim her direct admission exonerated her completely. This is American politics in 2016.
In reality, Clinton is not exonerated: she is wholly incriminated, and by the FBI’s own (albeit tacit and unenforced) admission. Nobody can really make an intellectually justifiable appeal to the contrary. It is simply jaw-dropping that anyone could believe Clinton “cleared” of anything at all. The FBI’s report is breathtaking in its summation of Clinton’s reckless abuse of her office and the classified material with which she was entrusted.
Let’s Run Down the Evidence
Clinton claims she had followed proper protocol regarding recordkeeping for her emails. The Department of State’s Office of Inspector General, on the other hand, determined that Clinton’s “method of preserving record e-mails” was “not appropriate.” OIG also determined that Clinton “should have surrendered all e-mails relating to state business” prior to her departure from State, something she plainly did not do.
According to multiple State Diplomatic Security Service agents, Clinton brought her personal mobile device into a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the State Department, even though it was illegal to do so.
According to multiple Clinton aides, Clinton had personal computers in the SCIFs at both her Chappaqua and Whitehaven residences. This was just as illegal as bringing a Blackberry into the SCIF at State.
On Clinton’s personal e-mail server were nearly 100 e-mail chains containing nearly 200 e-mails, ranging in classified status from Confidential to Top Secret, drafted on unclassified systems. She did not initially surrender 12 of the chains to the State Department and FBI even though Clinton insisted both that she had never transmitted classified information on her server and that she had surrendered all work-related e-mails to the proper authorities. The classified material in these chains concerned not just the State Department but the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the FBI.
In June 2011, Clinton explicitly requested that classified material be sent over non-secure fax; she directed an aide to remove any “identifying heading” to cover up this deception. (Fully one-third of the FBI’s investigation into this matter, on page 25 of the primary report, is redacted.)
Clear Examples of Gross Criminal Negligence
These violations are bad enough—they would surely be enough to land anybody else in prison for a long time—but the entire affair was overshadowed by a stunning level of criminal negligence by just about everyone involved, Clinton included.
The FBI was unable to “recover all server equipment.” Because of this and “the lack of complete sever log data for the relevant time period,” the FBI was only able to conduct a limited forensic analysis of Clinton’s systems. Consequently, the FBI had to piece together their investigation from “witness statements, e-mail correspondence, and related forensic content found on other devices.” Clinton covered her tracks so cleanly that the FBI was forced to assemble a slipshod, cobbled-together investigatory profile of her e-mail system.
The FBI believes Clinton’s e-mail may have been “potentially vulnerable to compromise” in the first three months of usage, from January to March 2009. It wasn’t until late March that year that her private domain received an SSL certificate (and even then the SSL only encrypted login credentials and not the actual server content).
At the beginning of Clinton’s tenure at State, her IT specialist, Bryan Pagliano, spoke with an unidentified official who advised that any e-mail from a state.gov account to Clinton’s private sever be transmitted via a Transport Layer Security tunnel for added security. Pagliano claims this protocol was never implemented (the FBI was not able to determine it one way or another).
To establish a secure server, Pagliano implemented a Remote Desktop Protocol; he eschewed a Virtual Private Network, which would have been more secure, and the FBI acknowledges that RDP has “known vulnerabilities” hackers could exploit.
There was at least one “successful compromise of an e-mail account on the server.” On January 5, 2013, multiple IP addresses “matching known Tor exit nodes” were able to access an e-mail account on the server belonging to a former staffer of Bill Clinton. The FBI has not yet been able to determine the responsible party in the successful hacking attempt.
The FBI candidly admits it does not have one single mobile device from the 13 Clinton used to send e-mail via her private server. “As a result,” the bureau concludes, “the FBI could not make a determination as to whether any of the devices were subject to compromise.” Any one of those dozen-plus devices could have been hacked, but nobody knows it for sure (on at least a few occasions, a Clinton aide destroyed the secretary’s used mobile devices with a hammer).
At one point Clinton received a phishing e-mail that contained a link she may or may not have clicked on. If she had, “[her] device may have been infected, and information would have been sent to at least three computers overseas, including one in Russia.” Much of this paragraph in the FBI’s report is also heavily redacted.
She’s a Great Big Liar, and She Knows It
A great many of these revelations prove Clinton lied, repeatedly and with intent, in previous public statements and official testimonies. Clinton even appears to lie within the context of the report herself: in the second document the FBI released, she claims she “would keep her BlackBerry outside of the SCIF.” The testimony of State Diplomatic Security Service agents directly contradicts this claim.
It is really quite obvious that Clinton is not “cleared” in any sense of the word. The FBI’s report is damning, and it underscores the howling absurdity of FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation not to indict. There is every reason to indict Clinton, to prosecute her, and probably to find her guilty of criminal negligence at the very least, if not outright willful violation of multiple critical federal statutes. How can any sane grown-up really conclude otherwise at this point?
We are, it is popularly held, a nation of laws, not men: in America, nobody is above the law, not even high-ranking federal officials. This is not a partisan matter; it is not an issue of squabbling sectarian politics. Hillary Clinton broke the law, demonstrably, repeatedly, and unquestionably.
In America, if you break the law, you see the inside of a courtroom; if you’re found guilty, you do jail time. Hillary Clinton assuredly deserves the former; she quite probably deserves the latter, as well. Clinton herself can deny this; reasonable, sensible people can no longer.