Clinton has been caught lying

23158392405_d3e3b60cb8_oIt seems that the most exciting possible development of the presidential election is now unlikely: 72 hours after interviewing her, the FBI has recommended against prosecuting Hillary Clinton.

But, let’s be clear, the FBI has not cleared her. This is not a statement that she did not break the law or that there is not enough evidence to convict. Anyone who reads past the headline is going have serious problems voting for this candidate. The FBI investigators have eviscerated her succession of false public statements about this issue. Lying to the FBI is a criminal offence, but lying to the American public is not, so, that’s alright, isn’t it?

  1. Clinton claimed that none of the emails stored on her server was classified. The Congressional investigation had already shown that this was untrue. The FBI has confirmed it.
  2. Clinton’s fallback position was that none of the emails was classified at the time but the FBI has confirmed what has long been alleged by her critics, that 110 of the emails contained information that is classified by definition. Seven email chains included information classified as “top secret”.
  3. Clinton has claimed that none of the emails was marked as classified. This is also not true. A few were marked as classified and the Director of the FBI, James Comey, stated that “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position” should have known that the information should not have been on an insecure system.
  4. Clinton claimed that she handed over [printouts of] all her work related emails and that those deleted concerned such things as birthday greetings to her husband and yoga classes. The FBI has recovered thousands of work related emails including some with classified information from among those deleted.
  5. Clinton has claimed there is no evidence that her server was hacked. The FBI was able to confirm that this statement is technically true, but Comey stressed that we cannot take this as an indication that it was not. He noted her habit of sending emails while traveling in countries with sophisticated surveillance technologies.

So the FBI has confirmed four very specific lies that she has told and added very significant context to another of her statements. Incidentally, she has consistently talked about her “server”. The FBI has revealed that she used multiple servers. And we still don’t know why she used private servers, except that she wanted to avoid multiple email accounts. If she can’t multi-task she should not have been Secretary of State.

Comey described her behavior as “extremely careless”. The legal standard for prosecution is “grossly negligent”. It is not clear that her behavior falls short of that, just that prosecution is not worthwhile in all the circumstances. Comey added that other officials in similar circumstances, would be subject to “security or administrative sanctions”. They might be disciplined or have security status revoked. It seems very unlikely that an official who erred in this way would be promoted.

Clinton is not currently in office. She cannot therefore be disciplined or dismissed. But she is applying for a promotion. Her conduct in office and the catalog of lies she has told about that conduct show she is unfit for that promotion.

Quentin Langley lives in New York and London and teaches at the University of Bedfordshire Business School

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