Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A tale of two leakers

Among the many stories about the FBI report on Clinton's emails, here is one from Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog).

FBI Director James Comey delivered a public statement this morning on the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s email server, and in the process, he disappointed every Clinton critic who’s been eagerly anticipating an indictment. From the transcript:

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

“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. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”

So what do "two leakers" have to do with Hillary Clinton and the FBI report? Read on.

In response to that FBI report that recommended no charges against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump tweeted: "The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment."

This is another instance in which Trump lies through all the media channels and his supporters lap it up like flies on the products of a horse's a$$.

Nick Turse (commondreams.org) provides an interesting comparison between Petraeus' "trouble" and that experienced by another government employee.

The experience of former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake who shared unclassified information about that agency’s wasteful ways with a reporter is more typical of what leakers should expect. Although the Justice Department eventually dropped the most serious charges against him -- he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor -- he lost his job and his pension, went bankrupt, and has spent years working at an Apple store after being prosecuted under the World War I-era Espionage Act. “My social contacts are gone, and I’m persona non grata,” he told Defense One last year. “I can’t find any work in government contracting or in the quasi-government space, those who defend whistleblowers won’t touch me.”

Petraeus, on the other hand, shared with his lover and biographer eight highly classified “black books” that the government says included “the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant David Howell Petraeus's discussions with the President of the United States of America.” Petraeus was prosecuted, pled guilty, and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $100,000.

Back to the FBI report: "All the cases [previously] prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice."

The FBI did not find such intentionality or willfulness in Clinton's case. But the government did prosecute Petraeus for his deliberate sharing of highly classified material with his mistress. And, as the above quotes show, Petraeus got off easy. Consider that he draws about $220,000 in government pension by virtue of his service on the Joint Chiefs.

So the bottom line is that once again one of Donald Trump's claims is totally false. In the bad judgment department, Trump is far, far ahead of Clinton.

Check out AZBlueMeanie's post on the Trump tower of lies for more documentation of Trump's pathological lying.

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