The FBI Agents Investigating Hillary Are Furious With Obama, And Here's Why
F.B.I. agents are reportedly angry over President Obama’s decision last Sunday to weigh in concerning their ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Before the agency has had a chance to review over 30,000 of Clinton’s emails to determine if she mishandled classified information, the president told 60 Minutes, “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.” He went on to characterize her actions as a “mistake.” Obama also stated definitively, “This is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”
The White House backed off the president’s words the next day promising he is not trying to influence the outcome of an ongoing investigation. “There’s a debate among national security experts, as part of their ongoing, independent review, about how or even whether to classify sections of those emails,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary. “But, as the president said, there is no evidence to indicate that the information in those emails endangered our national security.”
A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment to the New York Times about the president’s remarks. But Ron Hosko, a former senior F.B.I. official who retired in 2014, said it was inappropriate for Obama to “suggest what side of the investigation he is on” when the F.B.I. is still investigating.
“Injecting politics into what is supposed to be a fact-finding inquiry leaves a foul taste in the F.B.I.’s mouth and makes them fear that no matter what they find, the Justice Department will take the president’s signal and not bring a case,” said Hosko, who maintains close contact with current agents.
Many, including Fox News’ judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, have pointed out that former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus was indicted and convicted for offenses of a far less severe nature than Clinton’s decision to store classified information on an unsecured, private email server.
According to the Times, “The federal law used against Mr. Petraeus prohibits officials from knowingly taking classified information ‘with the intent to retain it at ‘an unauthorized location.’ A second, more serious charge makes it a felony to remove classified information through gross negligence. Officials at both the F.B.I and the Justice Department acknowledge that those laws set a high bar for criminal charges in the email case.”
During his 60 Minutes interview, President Obama spoke directly to the intent component of the first crime, when he said that he had no impression Clinton purposely tried “to hide something or to squirrel away information.”
Clinton’s narrative regarding her email server has changed since the New York Times broke the story in March. At a press conference at the U.N. that month, the former secretary of state said that she had not sent or received classified information on the server.