Paul Gardiner / May 3, 2016

An Open Letter to the FBI: Do You Still Have Integrity?

To the leadership of the FBI:

As an American and Vietnam veteran, I have always believed in the integrity of the FBI and the commitment to justice of the people working for this premier law enforcement agency. However, these days I find myself (along with many other veterans) seriously asking whether the integrity of the FBI’s leadership is being compromised somehow due to the manner in which they continue to extend the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal and other potential criminal activities. What really is the hold up (other than the obvious political considerations) for an indictment in what appears to be a clear violation of the gross negligence provisions in the Espionage Act, subsection F, 18 USC 793?

My understanding is that the provisions of subsection F do not require sensitive national defense information (such as information sent to Mrs, Clinton about our allies in the mid-east) to actually be classified to count as a violation. Secondly, use of an unsecured, private e-mail server at a private residence for classified materials permits the material to be removed or abstracted from its proper, secure location, i. e., a secure government file server. Penalties allowed under the Espionage Act for gross negligence in handling classified materials include a fine or imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both.

In an earlier life, when I handled both Secret and Top Secret correspondence and documents, I was always aware of the penalties for mishandling and failing to protect and secure classified materials entrusted to my care. Being negligent in these matters was not a valid excuse for failing to protect and adequately secure classified material. In Hillary Clinton’s case, it is common knowledge that she stored and failed to protect several hundred classified e-mails (many at the highest classification) that resided on her private, unsecured e-mail server at her private residence. Talk about gross negligence!

So, unless the FBI wants to completely lose the confidence and trust of the American people, it needs to get on with doing its sworn duty regarding Mrs. Clinton and her grossly negligent actions with classified materials. If the FBI leadership encounters political opposition to indicting her, then the FBI leadership needs to show their fellow Americans what true courage and integrity (what I call American “grit”) look like by holding a press conference (or other suitable actions) to make such opposition widely known to the American public. No American — repeat, no American — is, nor ever should be, above the law of the United States of America.

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