Washington: The FBI has submitted documents to Congress related to its investigation into email scandal of Hillary Clinton when she was the Secretary of State and defended its decision not to criminally charge her. The report to the Congress, among others, includes notes from the interviews of Clinton, 68, and other witnesses in the investigation.
"Ultimately, the FBI did not recommend prosecution based on an assessment of the facts and a review of how these statutes have been charged in the past," said Jason V Herring from the FBI in his letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
At the same time, the FBI said this is not to say that someone else who engaged in this type of conduct would face no consequences for handling classified information in a similar manner if they were still a government employee.
"For example, there are potentially severe administrative consequences within the FBI for security violations involving the mishandling of classified information, up to and including security clearance revocation and dismissal," he said.
"The FBI is in the process of providing relevant information to other US Government agencies to conduct further security and administrative reviews they deem appropriate for their respective employees," he wrote. The FBI also sent a letter to lawmakers to present its rationale for refusing charge Clinton in the case.
The FBI letter argues that the fact that Clinton, then the Secretary of State, received emails containing "(C)" portion markings is not clear evidence of knowledge or intent.
"As the (FBI) Director has testified, the FBI's investigation uncovered three instances of emails portioned marked with '(C)', a marking ostensibly indicating the presence of information classified at the Confidential level," he wrote.
"In each of these instances, the Secretary did not originate the information; instead, the emails were forwarded to her by staff members, with the portion-marked information located within the email chains and without header and footer markings indicating the presence of classified information," Herring said.
"Moreover, only one of those emails was determined by the State Department to contain classified information. There has been no determination by the State Department as to whether these three emails were classified at the time they were sent," he wrote.
After initial review of the FBI material, Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it seems that much of the material given to the Senate today, other than copies of the large number of emails on Secretary Clinton's server containing classified information, is marked 'unclassified/for official use'.
The FBI should make as much of the material available as possible, he said.
"The public's business ought to be public, with few exceptions. The people's interest would be served in seeing the documents that are unclassified. The FBI has made public statements in describing its handling of the case, so sharing documents in support of those statements wherever appropriate would make sense.
"Right now, the public is at a disadvantage and has only part of the story," Grassley said.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said the FBI's letter to the Judiciary Committee makes clear this is much ado about nothing.
"The FBI makes a few key points absolutely clear. One: Secretary Clinton did not intend to send or receive classified information," she said.
"Two: The cases where charges were filed involved clear intent to mishandle classified information, evidence of intentional misconduct due to a significant quantity of classified information being exposed, disloyalty to the United States or obstruction of justice. Secretary Clinton’s case did not meet any of those criteria. Therefore, the FBI rightly decided against recommending criminal charges," she wrote.
"Three: Secretary Clinton did not initiate any emails that contained classified information or were marked as classified," Feinstein said.
First Published On : Aug 17, 2016 11:05 IST