It’s hard to tell who looks worse each time a new FBI report is released, Hillary Clinton or FBI Director James Comey. With the Sept. 2 FBI release of documents regarding Clinton’s e-mail investigation, more light was shed onto both Clinton’s carelessly corrupt actions and Comey’s mishandling of the case.
Since Clinton has seemed to have forgotten in recent press interviews, these documents clearly explained the dangers of using a private server. The report writes “the FBI did find that hostile foreign actors successfully gained access to the personal e-mail accounts of individuals with whom Clintons was in regular contact and, in doing so, obtained e-mails sent to or received by Clinton on her personal account.”
The report also discusses a series of clear attempts made by “hostile foreign actors” to gain access to Clinton’s accounts. While no systems the FBI searched appeared to have successful cyber security attacks, it is unknown if this is true for all of Clintons systems, since the FBI cannot seem to find them.
The document shows that the FBI has only retrieved 11 of 13 Blackberry phones and three out of five iPads from Clinton’s staff, leaving significant holes in the investigation. The thumb drive and the laptop which were recovered were somehow lost in the mail by the private contractor responsible for maintaining Clinton’s private email account.
As Vox Media reporters Jeff Stein and Timothy Lee explained, “the absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence…The FBI has no way of really knowing whether Clinton’s servers were compromised in any way. The hackers could simply steal the classified information and disappear without a trace.”
The greatest revelation of this release was how little information the FBI gained before their decision against pressing charges.
Despite a warning from former Secretary of State Colin Powell to “be very careful,” Clinton consistently claimed in interviews that she was unaware of the problems associated with using her private server and “could not remember” specific events she was questioned on. Clinton even went as far as to say she “she did not pay attention to the level of classification” because it was all serious to her.
The report shows that during interviewing the FBI never even really pursued questions to Clinton on her “intent” for setting up and user her personal server, instead they presumed it was personal convenience.
The FBI does not have all the systems, they cannot conclude whether or not these systems were hacked, and Clinton has provided no clarity. It becomes necessary to wonder if the FBI “probe” was even a probe, or rather more of a glance. As more incriminating evidence continues its release, Clinton’s exoneration appears more and more like Comey’s “extremely careless” handling of the case.