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© Cliff Owen, AP FBI Director James Comey makes a statement at FBI headquarters in Washington on July 5, 2016.
FBI Director James Comey announced Tuesday that the bureau is recommending the Justice Department pursue no charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a personal email account to handle government business. But he said that is largely because investigators found Clinton and her team had no intent to violate the law.
It was good news for Clinton, but Comey's statement was full of bad news, too. Clinton and her team "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," Comey said.
Here is what the FBI found:
She sent and received classified information While some of the emails Clinton sent have been declared classified retroactively, Comey said 110 emails in 52 email chains were classified at the time they were sent.
• Eight email chains contained "top secret" information.
• 36 chains contained "secret" information.
• Eight email chains contained "confidential" information, the lowest classification level.
"None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system," Comey said.
Some emails have been lost Clinton and her lawyers handed over to the State Department 30,000 emails that they said were the business-related emails from her private system. The personal emails were deleted. But Comey said that in this process, it is "likely that there are other work-related emails that they did not produce ... that are now gone because they deleted all emails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices." The FBI could not recover these.
Her email might have been hacked Comey said there was no direct evidence Clinton's email was hacked, but other people she corresponded with were hacked, and her use of a private email system was well-known. She also used her email while traveling "in the territory of sophisticated adversaries." Thus, he said, "it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account."
Many servers, not one The story of Clinton's emails has been about her use of a private server to run her own email system, but Comey said, "Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send email." Old servers got decommissioned as new equipment was brought online, and information on old devices was scrapped.
So why no charges? Comey said the key here is that investigators found no intent to break the law. Cases that have been filed in similar cases have been based on "clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information" or "indications of disloyalty to the United States." In the Clinton case, those elements were not found.