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Op-ed: Hillary Clinton: Above the law?

July 7, 2016
Opinion Pieces

For those who wonder why the vast majority of regular Americans think Washington, D.C., is rigged against them, just look at today's headlines.

They show that the elite and well-connected in Washington play by a different set of rules.

When testifying before the Benghazi Select Committee in October of 2015, Hillary Clinton said to us under oath, "there was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received."

We now know that statement is patently false, according to the FBI. Sadly, it isn't the only false statement she has tried to push.

In a press conference earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey laid out a series of egregious failures by then-Secretary of State Clinton in her handling of classified materials. He said she was "extremely reckless" with "very sensitive, highly classified information."

The FBI investigation also noted that because of this reckless behavior, Clinton's unprotected server and devices were potentially hacked by governments hostile to the U.S.

The FBI's findings further show that Clinton falsely testified that her attorneys "went through every single email" looking for work-related content. Not so, says the FBI.

She claimed that she only used one server during her time as secretary of State. False again.

A truth that was hidden until now is that the FBI, the Congress and most importantly the American people will likely never have all of her work-related emails, because her lawyers "cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery." As Comey said, it's likely that "there are other work-related emails that [Clinton's lawyers] did not produce to State and that [the FBI] did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone."

Whether through incompetence or willful disregard for security protocol, Hillary Clinton jeopardized national security for personal gain. Despite her statements to the contrary, Clinton sent and received top-secret classified information through her unclassified email system.

Despite all these findings, Comey inconceivably claimed that the FBI recommend against criminal prosecution.

I'm more than disappointed, but frankly — given this Justice Department's track record of putting politics ahead of justice — I'm not surprised.

Just last year a Navy reservist was prosecuted, fined and sentenced for moving classified information from a government device to a personal one. There was no intention to misuse it, but he violated protocol and was punished, as most regular Americans would be. Not so for Clinton.

What especially frustrates me is that, in the FBI director's own words, Secretary Clinton's actions clearly lived up to the standard for a criminal prosecution. Citing past precedent, Comey said, "all the cases prosecuted involved ... clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information." Having multiple private, unsecure, nongovernment servers set up clearly meets this very criteria.

Further, the FBI's investigation found several thousand additional emails that were not turned over by Clinton, despite a legal requirement to do so.

Americans' trust in their government is at an all-time low — and many in Washington still scratch their heads and wonder why. They need look no further than the FBI's decision about the Clinton email scandal. The decision to let the former secretary off is precisely what frustrates so many Americans who think Washington is rigged against them. They see a systemic lack of transparency at the White House and throughout federal agencies, and they see no accountability when high-ranking federal officials are clearly implicated in wrongdoing.

Clinton's direct claims while testifying under oath before the Benghazi Select Committee that she did not send or receive classified information raises further questions and warrants review. The only way Congress regains the trust of the American people is if we do our jobs and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.

Jordan is a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has served Ohio's 4th District since 2007. This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill newspaper on July 7, 2016.

Issues:Government Reform