FBI Director James Comey turned over the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server to the Justice Department on Tuesday, saying he did not recommend any criminal charges be brought against her or her colleagues.
He said in a statement read to reporters that while Clinton and her colleagues were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information, they did not intend to breach government laws.
Whether or not the information was marked “classified”, they should have known that the highly sensitive information was vulnerable on a private email server that was not supported by a full-time security staff, he said.
Comey also said there was no direct evidence that Clinton’s personal email domain was hacked successfully, but her domain name was widely known and people she was in contact with people who could have been hacked. In addition, Clinton used the email service even in the territory of “hostile actors,” he added.
Nonetheless, Comey said he did not recommend that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges, because the mishandling of sensitive information was not intentional.
Watch Comey’s full address on Tuesday.
Comey described the agency’s investigation as “painstaking” and complicated, saying FBI investigators read all of the 30,000 emails Clinton provided in 2014 and combed through additional ones tracked down from other employees. Of the 30,000 emails, 110 emails in 52 email chains were determined to be classified at the time they were sent, including eight email chains deemed “top secret.”
Another 2,000 emails were considered classified later, he said.
Comey’s statement came four days after the FBI interviewed Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, about her private email server while she was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.
In response to Comey’s announcement, a Clinton spokesman said the campaign was pleased with the agency’s conclusion and that Clinton already had acknowledged that it was a “mistake” to have used her personal email, the Associated Press reported.