The mask is off. The nature of our government at the highest levels now lies naked in the clear broad light of day. This is a good thing. It’s best to know the truth, even when the truth is as ugly as the fact that the law is not, nor has it ever been, applied equally to all who break it.
That is how I interpret FBI Director James Comey’s July 5th announcement about not recommending charges for Hillary Clinton’s security violations. I am glad he didn’t make that announcement on July 4th. To witness a high-ranking government official betraying the noble principles of our nation on that day would have been just too heartbreaking.
First Comey listed the investigation findings that Hillary Clinton engaged in a number of behaviors that would have meant serious trouble for the rest of us. At the bare minimum, most people who emailed classified information would lose their job and their security clearance. Some people are actually serving prison time for doing less. Then he said the FBI would not be recommending prosecution. Toward the end of the speech Comey said the most chilling thing I have heard outside the pages of the novel 1984:
“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.”
My belief is that there should be as few laws as possible to maintain a reasonable level of security to people’s lives and property. There should definitely be laws against murder and stealing and assault and property damage. But if I were in charge of the world I would not lock people up for errors in judgment or mistakes or even careless mistakes, such as accidentally emailing a classified document to your house to work at home. Such an error might deserve a mandatory security training refresher but not a huge life-destroying fine or prison. However, if you must have a law and you are engaged in harshly prosecuting people who have violated it, you need to apply that law equally to all violators.
The Hill published this item yesterday: FBI’s Comey is complicit in Clinton email scandal. I found this article interesting for several reasons. First, it names the exact law that the FBI investigated Hillary Clinton for violating: Title 18 U.S.C. §793(f); so now we can all easily look that up and see exactly what it says. Next it provides an excellent summary of Mr. Comey’s speech. Then it makes well-written point about what this decision means for our fundamental faith in the fairness of the law.
I just have to repeat those two paragraphs here. They capture perfectly the thing about this affair that has really gotten under my skin:
“The public’s faith in the fair administration of justice was damaged by Attorney General Lynch’s meeting with President Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix. It was further damaged by the apparent sweetheart “voluntary interview” of Mrs. Clinton by the FBI on the Saturday of the July 4th weekend.
Then just over 48 hours later (no doubt Mr. Comey spent the weekend carefully examining a year’s worth of interview transcripts), the proverbial stake was driven through the heart of any remaining faith and confidence in the public’s concept of “equal justice under law” or in Mr. Comey’s professional integrity by his nonsensical, contradictory, and insulting decision to let Mrs. Clinton “walk” on her national security crimes. No other federal government employee would have received the extraordinary, exceptional treatment Mr. Comey conferred on Mrs. Clinton.”
The public’s faith in our government and the rule of law is sort of the glue that holds us together as a nation. If that faith is damaged and can still be fixed I sure hope steps will be taken to repair it. Hope does reign eternal. I think repairing it should be the government’s priority. I’m not sure how electing HRC to the White House will help with that…..