In July, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James B. Comey shocked the nation with his announcement that the FBI would not be recommending criminal charges against Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for using her private email address and server for official communications, potentially compromising classified information.
“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,” said Comey.
“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,” he added.
Against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, the Hilary Clinton email controversy has continued to unfold. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sent a letter to the FBI on Tuesday requesting additional information related to the investigation.
In the letter, Chaffetz explained that during a July 7 hearing he asked the FBI to provide the case file from the investigation. As a follow-up, Chaffetz is also requesting information on whether Clinton’s emails were improperly stored or accessed by anyone at Williams & Connolly LLP, the law firm representing Clinton.
Chaffetz recounted how during the hearing he asked Comey whether there could be any security concerns surrounding an attorney’s access to Clinton’s emails.
Comey responded, “Well, not necessarily criminal consequences, but there’s a great deal of concern about an uncleared person, not subject to the requirements we talked about in the read-in documents, potentially having access.”
In addition, Chaffetz asked for information on what steps were taken to remediate the “spillage of classified information.” He said, “Just as classified information may not be provided to anyone without an appropriate clearance, classified information must also not be stored on a computer system that is not authorized to store it.”
“The transfer of classified information from a computer system authorized to store it to one that is not is called spillage,” he explained.
Chaffetz also requested information on whether Clinton is aware of the classified findings of the investigation and whether the FBI is conducting any related investigations. Additionally, he asked whether any other agency has reviewed the FBI’s findings for “potential security violations or misconduct or disciplinary proceedings.”
On the MSNBC program Morning Joe, Chaffetz said even he hasn’t been cleared to read Clinton’s emails. “It’s so sensitive, so classified that I, as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, don’t have the high level of clearance to see what’s in the materials,” said Chaffetz.
The letter emerged on the heels of reports revealing that an FBI investigation uncovered nearly 15,000 new emails that had not been turned over to the Department of State. The emails will likely be released prior to the November elections.
The Washington Post reported that Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said, “As we have always said, Hillary Clinton provided the State Department with all the work-related emails she had in her possession in 2014. We are not sure what additional materials the Justice Department may have located, but if the State Department determines any of them to be work-related, then obviously we support those documents being released publicly as well.”