Clinton « Press Release from FBI
July 5, 2016
Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail SystemRemarks prepared for delivery at press briefing.
Good morning. I’m here to give you an update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State.
After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.
This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.
I want to start by thanking the FBI employees who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts.
So, first, what we have done:
The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server during her time as Secretary of State. The referral focused on whether classified information was transmitted on that personal system.
Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.
Consistent with our counterintelligence responsibilities, we have also investigated to determine whether there is evidence of computer intrusion in connection with the personal e-mail server by any foreign power, or other hostile actors.
I have so far used the singular term, “e-mail server,” in describing the referral that began our investigation. It turns out to have been more complicated than that. Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain. As new servers and equipment were employed, older servers were taken out of service, stored, and decommissioned in various ways. Piecing all of that back together—to gain as full an understanding as possible of the ways in which personal e-mail was used for government work—has been a painstaking undertaking, requiring thousands of hours of effort.
For example, when one of Secretary Clinton’s original personal servers was decommissioned in 2013, the e-mail software was removed. Doing that didn’t remove the e-mail content, but it was like removing the frame from a huge finished jigsaw puzzle and dumping the pieces on the floor. The effect was that millions of e-mail fragments end up unsorted in the server’s unused—or “slack”—space. We searched through all of it to see what was there, and what parts of the puzzle could be put back together.
FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014. Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the e-mail now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”).
From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.
The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton, including high-ranking officials at other agencies, people with whom a Secretary of State might naturally correspond.
This helped us recover work-related e-mails that were not among the 30,000 produced to State. Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of e-mail fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.
With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. There were no additional Top Secret e-mails found. Finally, none of those we found have since been “up-classified.”
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.
And, of course, in addition to our technical work, we interviewed many people, from those involved in setting up and maintaining the various iterations of Secretary Clinton’s personal server, to staff members with whom she corresponded on e-mail, to those involved in the e-mail production to State, and finally, Secretary Clinton herself.
Last, we have done extensive work to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.
That’s what we have done. Now let me tell you what we found:
Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).
None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.
Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.
While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.
With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.
So that’s what we found. Finally, with respect to our recommendation to the Department of Justice:
In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate based on evidence the FBI has helped collect. Although we don’t normally make public our recommendations to the prosecutors, we frequently make recommendations and engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate, given the evidence. In this case, given the importance of the matter, I think unusual transparency is in order.
Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.
In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.
As a result, although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.
I know there will be intense public debate in the wake of this recommendation, as there was throughout this investigation. What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done competently, honestly, and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.
I know there were many opinions expressed by people who were not part of the investigation—including people in government—but none of that mattered to us. Opinions are irrelevant, and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation, because we did the investigation the right way. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this organization.
Donald J. Trump Statement on Hillary Clinton's Bad Judgment and the Rigged System
today a detailed case of how Hillary Clinton
compromised the safety of the American people by storing highly
classified information on a private email server with no security. He
confirmed that her email could easily have been hacked by hostile
actors, and confirmed that those she emailed with were hacked.
Our adversaries almost certainly have a blackmail file on Hillary Clinton, and this fact alone disqualifies her from service.
It has also been revealed that Hillary Clinton lied when she said that she did not send classified information. The FBI Director confirmed that over 100 emails were deemed classified at the time they were sent, including emails classified as top secret.
On top of it all, Hillary Clinton’s lawyers wiped the servers clean to delete another 30,000 emails – hiding her corrupt dealings from investigators. She used the State Department for her personal gain, trading favors for cash, and tried to conceal the records. Also, she didn’t want people to know the details about her botched decisions in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Egypt that destabilized the Middle East.
But because of our rigged system that holds the American people to one standard and people like Hillary Clinton to another, it does not look like she will be facing the criminal charges that she deserves.
Bill Clinton didn’t accidentally run into the Attorney General on the airport tarmac last week in Phoenix. Hillary Clinton didn’t accidentally sneak into the FBI during one of the country’s biggest holiday weekends to testify on her illegal activities, something that wouldn’t be afforded to others under investigation (and on a Saturday of all days). It was no accident that charges were not recommended against Hillary the exact same day as President Obama campaigns with her for the first time.
Folks – the system is rigged. The normal punishment, in this case, would include losing authority to handle classified information, and that too disqualifies Hillary Clinton from being President.
The final jury will be the American people, and they will issue the verdict on her corruption, incompetence, and bad judgment on November 8th.
What Is Hillary Clinton Hiding?
WHAT WE KNOW
Bill Clinton's Speaking Fees Went Up As Clinton Was Secretary Of State
After Hillary Became Secretary Of State, Bill Clinton "Began To Collect Speaking Fees That Often Doubled Or Tripled What He Had Been Charging Earlier In His Post White House Years." "After his wife became Secretary of State, former President Bill Clinton began to collect speaking fees that often doubled or tripled what he had been charging earlier in his post White House years, bringing in millions of dollars from groups that included several with interests pending before the State Department, an ABC News review of financial disclosure records shows." (Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross, "Bill Clinton Cashed In When Hillary Became Secretary Of State," ABC News, 4/23/15)
- "Where He Once Had Drawn $150,000 For A Typical Address In The Years Following His Presidency, Clinton Saw A Succession Of Staggering Paydays For Speeches In 2010 And 2011, Including $500,000 Paid By A Russian Investment Bank And $750,000 To Address A Telecom Conference In China." (Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross, "Bill Clinton Cashed In When Hillary Became Secretary Of State," ABC News, 4/23/15)
"At Least 60 Companies That Lobbied The State Department During Her Tenure Donated A Total Of More Than $26 Million To The Clinton Foundation…" "At least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public and foundation disclosures." (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, "Hillary Clinton's Complex Corporate Ties," The Wall Street Journal, 2/19/15)
- "At Least 44 Of Those 60 Companies Also Participated In Philanthropic Projects Valued At $3.2 Billion That Were Set Up Though A Wing Of The Foundation Called The Clinton Global Initiative…" "At least 44 of those 60 companies also participated in philanthropic projects valued at $3.2 billion that were set up though a wing of the foundation called the Clinton Global Initiative, which coordinates the projects but receives no cash for them." (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, "Hillary Clinton's Complex Corporate Ties," The Wall Street Journal, 2/19/15)
Foreign Hackers May Know More About Clinton's Emails Than We Do
Clinton Can't Name Any Safeguards From Her Secret Server. THE BOSTON GLOBE'S JAMES PINDELL: "One question about your email server, what safeguards did you put in place to make sure that you weren't hacked?" CLINTON: "Well, I can only tell you there is no evidence that I'm aware of that I ever was." ( Interview With The Boston Globe , Keene, NH 10/16/15)
Clinton's Secret Server Experienced Hacking "Scans" From An Unknown Foreign Computer. "Clinton's email server permitted 'remote-access connections directly over the Internet,' a practice banned by the State Department since 2012. This type of software 'allows users to control another computer from afar,' and although these 'programs are usually operated through an encrypted connection … Clinton's system appeared to accept commands directly from the internet without such protections.' Clinton's private server has proved vulnerable to attacks and hacking attempts. Two such hacking 'scans' occurred in 2012 from a Serbian computer looking for accessible doors or 'ports' into the server." (Jack Gillum and Stephen Braun, "Clinton Server's Software Had Hacking Risk," The Associated Press , 10/13/15)
WHAT WE MAY NEVER KNOW
Emails From First Eight Weeks Of Clinton's Tenure As Secretary Of State "Are Missing And Have Been Lost.""Mrs. Clinton's representatives have said she didn't set up her personal server until March 2009. She took office as secretary of state in late January 2009. Before that, she used an AT&T BlackBerry account as well as an account on her personal domain run off an unknown server. As a result of the migration, emails from the first eight weeks of her tenure are missing and have been lost, her representatives acknowledge." (Byron Tau, "Bid To Find Early Clinton State Department Emails Unsuccessful, Lawyer Says," The Wall Street Journal , 10/22/15)
Clinton Was "Unable To Obtain" Emails From First Two Months Of Her Tenure As Secretary Of State."[Clinton] has been 'unable to obtain' some emails from early in her tenure as secretary of state, according to a newly-released letter." (Josh Gerstein, "Lawyer: Clinton 'Unable To Obtain' Emails From First Week As Secretary," Politico , 10/22/15)
22 Emails Deemed "Top Secret," Are Being "Withheld In Full" And Will Never Be Released To The Public Due To Their Classified Nature. "A second source not authorized to speak on the record said the number of accounts involved could be as high as 30 and reflects how the intelligence was broadly shared, replied to, and copied to individuals using the unsecured server. The State Department recently confirmed that the messages in question include the most sensitive kind of intelligence. On Jan. 29, Fox News first reported that some emails on Clinton's server were too damaging to release in any form. The State Department subsequently announced that 22 'top secret' emails were being withheld in full; these were the messages being handled by more than a dozen accounts." (Catherine Herridge And Pamela Browne, "Official: Top Clinton Aides Also Handled 'Top Secret' Intel On Server," Fox News , 2/10/16)
Over 30,000 Of Clinton's Emails From Her Secret Server Were Deemed To Be Private And Personal."A Time magazine cover story about the email scandal released last week reported: 'This review did not involve opening and reading each email. Instead, Clinton's lawyers created a list of names and keywords related to her work and searched for those. Slightly more than half the total cache -- 31,830 emails -- did not contain any of the search terms, according to Clinton's staff, so they were deemed to be 'private, personal records.'' (Shushannah Walshe and Liz Kreutz, "Hillary Clinton's Deleted Emails Were Individually Reviewed After All, Spokesman Says," ABC News, 3/15/15)
- Clinton Deleted These Personal Emails. "Clinton said on Tuesday she deleted all of the personal emails because she thought she 'had no reason to save them.'"
Emails That Won't Be Released Until 2018
Recently Said That They Can't Turn Over Some Of
Clinton's Aides' Emails Until 2018.
"Justice Department lawyers are asking for a two-year extension to
process emails from Hillary Clinton's aides in order to produce
by a conservative advocacy organization. Lawyers this week said they
were unable to satisfy a Freedom of Information Act request -- the
deadline for which
is later this month -- as quickly as once anticipated and now need
until October 2018 to produce the records for Citizens
United."(Theodore Schleifer, "DOJ
Lawyers Ask For 2-Year Extension To Produce Clinton Aides' Emails," CNN,
RNC Statement On The FBI’s Investigation Of Hillary Clinton’s Secret
Judicial Watch Statement on Decision by FBI Director James Comey Not to Recommend Indictment of Hillary Clinton
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the decision by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey that the Department of Justice not indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the disclosure of classified information on her non-state.gov email:
FBI Director James Comey detailed Hillary Clinton’s massive destruction of government records and grossly negligent handling of classified information. Frankly, there’s a disconnect between Comey’s devastating findings and his weak recommendation not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. Federal prosecutors, independent of politics, need to consider whether to pursue the potential violations of law confirmed by the FBI.
Judicial Watch helped break open the Clinton email scandal and, in the meantime, will independently continue its groundbreaking litigation and investigation.
Today, the FBI admitted that Hillary Clinton endangered the American people—and confirmed that the worst things any of us imagined about Hillary's email server were true.
- FBI Director James Comey concluded that Hillary was "extremely careless" in handling our nation's secrets.
- He admitted that no reasonable person could have believed putting these emails on a private server was at all appropriate or acceptable.
- He admitted that 110 emails on the server were classified at the time they were sent—showing that Hillary not only lied, but knowingly endangered national security as Secretary of State.
- He admitted that Hillary deleted work-related emails before turning them over to the State Department, despite her claims otherwise.
- And most shocking, Mr. Comey even admitted that it's likely foreign governments hacked her emails—and that our adversaries could know critical secrets about the U.S. government because of Hillary's actions.
But when you're a Clinton, none of this matters.
Not when you have the ear of the President, or you can call a secret airport meeting with the Attorney General. Not when you behave as if you're above the law, and will never be held responsible for your actions.
Mr. Comey admitted that someone caught in a similar situation would "often" be punished. And yet, he announced the FBI would not recommend criminal charges for Hillary Clinton.
It's not just a miscarriage of justice, but a blow to the very heart of our democracy. This is a shameful day for the rule of law and the security of our nation, no matter what your political beliefs may be.
The Obama Administration might be circling the wagons, and doing all they can to prop up their corrupt, incompetent, untrustworthy Democratic nominee—but the American people know better.
And if our government won't make her face consequences, voters will.
I'm counting on you to help me fight—and make sure we stop Hillary Clinton however we can in the weeks and months to come.
July 6, 2016
Statement from Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Regarding State Department Email Investigation
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement today regarding the State Department email investigation:
“Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State. I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation.”
July 6, 2016