“Careless” is Not the Word For What Clinton Did

Knowing he couldn’t describe Hillary Clinton’s actions as “negligent” without running into a discrepancy between the law and his recommendations, FBI Director James Comey chose to characterize her email choices as “extremely careless.” A concern for voters? Perhaps. But not a concern for the Justice Department.

The American people are left to conclude that, as long as an individual does not specifically intend to sell national security secrets to our enemies, they can treat classified information however they want. Leave top secret missives in the break room. Post sensitive intelligence to your blog. As long as you didn’t “intentionally” sabotage national security, you’re fine.

Well, that’s not actually the standard, and anyone other than the presumptive Democratic nominee would be held accountable for what Hillary Clinton did. We all know that.

But even if we accept that the standard is what Comey says it is, Clinton is still guilty. Because there was nothing “careless” about the way she set up her email system. In fact, she went out of her way to cautiously and deliberately thwart State Department rules regarding the use of email. She relied on multiple private servers, warned agency IT staff to look the other way, and failed to abide by regulations requiring her to turn her emails over at the end of her term. None of this happened by accident.

Furthermore, her tried-and-true excuse regarding classified emails is threadbare and ridiculous. As Paul Ryan put it in a Washington Post op-ed: “It wasn’t just Clinton’s job to know what was classified – it was her job to decide what was classified. As secretary of state, Clinton was granted original classification authority, which gave her power to determine what is top-secret material.”

Not only does this erase the legitimacy of her “it wasn’t marked at the time” excuse, it turns that excuse against her. It’s like eating raw chicken and then blaming Purdue when you get sick. It was your job to cook the thing, idiot.

Ryan is currently pressuring intelligence officials to block Clinton from receiving security briefings. Presidential nominees are traditionally allowed in on these briefings after the conventions so they aren’t scrambling to catch up after the election. Ryan says that Clinton’s history should disqualify her from enjoying that privilege.

But that’s really small potatoes. After all this, Clinton isn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

The larger issue is her judgement in general. The larger issue is that she really didn’t make a “mistake” in the first place. She made a conscious, active choice to prioritize her privacy and convenience over national security. It’s that choice that should seriously worry voters.

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