James Comey’s not recommending prosecution of Hillary Clinton for endangering the nation’s secrets should be good news to inmates at the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth. By extension, Comey’s logic should set many of them free.
Comey added a new criteria for judging whether any laws were broken. He decided Hillary did not “intend” to do it. Our nation’s civilian and military laws on safeguarding classified information are clear. They have nothing to do with a person’s intent.
I attended the Navy’s one-week Registered Publications (known now as Communications Security Materials) Custodian school, long ago. The first two days were spent telling us what would happen if we screwed up.
It was not about our intent. Rather it was simply about any failure to safeguard “Confidential,” “Secret” and “Top Secret” materials.
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Baseball games at Leavenworth prison, they claimed, were between supply officers and RPS (now CMS) custodians. We were tormented with stories like one about an afloat custodian whose “burn bag” was accidentally grabbed by a cleaning crew. They tossed it overboard. A trailing ship spotted the bag and hauled it aboard. He had no intent to expose classified documents, but his next assignment was the prison at Leavenworth.
Right now, Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Jason Brezler is fighting to save his career. In 2012 he sent a personal email to Marines at Forward Operating Base Delhi, in Afghanistan. He warned them of dangers presented by Sarwar Jan, an Afghan police chief whom he had kicked off another Marine installation. He attached a classified paper to verify his concern.
Seventeen days after Brezler sent the email, a boy working as Sarwar’s personal servant killed three Marines at FOB Delhi. For his effort to prevent those deaths, Brezler may go to prison!
Comey let Hillary off the hook for far more serious transgressions.