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FBI won't recommend charges against Clinton over private email setup
   2016-07-05 23:46:09    Xinhua      Web Editor: Liu Yuanhui

On the night of the Iowa Caucuses, Hilary Clinton and her family celebrate the victory with her supporters at Drake University, Des Moines, February 1st, 2016. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/He Fei]

U.S. FBI Director James Comey announced on Tuesday his agency would not recommend any criminal charges against Hillary Clinton in her email investigation.

However, Comey described Clinton and her team as "extremely careless" in handling of work-related information on her private server while serving as secretary of state.

Federal investigators found that 110 emails in 52 email chains had been determined to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received and eight of those 52 chains "contained information that was top secret" when they were sent, Comey told reporters here.

But there was no clear evidence that Clinton and her aides intended to violate the law, he said.

"Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," said Comey.

According to Comey, Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those server during her four years at the State Department, and also used several mobile devices to handle emails, making it a "painstaking undertaking" for investigators to piece together all necessary information.

Apart from the approximately 30,000 work-related emails Clinton provided to the State Department in 2014, investigators later discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not among the group of 30,000 e-mails, according to Comey.

"With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to the State Department, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received; one at the secret level and two at the confidential level," said Comey.

However, Comey said the FBI found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them in some way.

"Our assessment is that like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from her system when devices were changed," said Comey.

The statement came three days after FBI agents interviewed Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential election, about her use of private email.

At a press conference in March 2015, Clinton acknowledged that she had exchanged about 60,000 emails from her private email account during her stint in the Obama administration, among which about half were personal and thus deleted.

All emails were sent and received via a private email server based at Clinton's home.

In response to requests from the State Department, the Clinton camp turned over the other half, roughly 30,000 emails in total, to the State Department in December 2014.

The controversy surrounding Clinton's email practices again burst into public view in August 2015 after the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community revealed that two of the thousands of emails held by Clinton contained top-secret information.

Comey said the FBI probe had been focused on whether there was evidence that classified information was improperly handled in violation of a federal statute that makes it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute, making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.



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