October 28, 2016
Hillary Clinton and James Comey (Greg Nash)
It appears the FBI agents investigating Anthony Weiner for sexting an underaged girl have done the job that the FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information didn’t or weren’t allowed to do.
Agents reportedly found thousands of State Department-related emails ostensibly containing classified information on the electronic devices belonging to Weiner and his wife and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The discovery has prompted FBI Director James Comey to, on the eve of the election, reopen the Clinton case he prematurely closed last July.
How did agents examine the devices? By seizing them. It’s a common practice in criminal investigations, but one that clearly was not applied in the case of Clinton or her top aide — even though agents assigned to that case knew Abedin hoarded classified emails on her electronic devices.
The two special agents who interviewed Abedin on April 5 noted as much in their 302 summary of their interview, which took place at the FBI’s Washington field office and notably was attended by the chief of the FBI’s counterespionage section.
On page 3 of their 11-page report, the agents detail how they showed Abedin a classified paper on Pakistan sent from a State Department source which she, in turn, inexplicably forwarded to her personal Yahoo email account — an obviously unclassified, unencrypted, unsecured and unauthorized system. The breach of security was not an isolated event but a common practice with Abedin.
“She routinely forwarded emails from her account to either her or her account,” the agents wrote. Why? “So she could print them” at home and not at her State Department office.
Abedin contended that she “would typically print the documents without reading them” and “was unaware of the classification.” Uh-huh.
The FBI also pointed out that “the only person at DoS (Department of State) to receive an email account on the () domain was Abedin.”
“Multiple State employees” told the FBI that they considered emailing Abedin “the equivalent of e-mailing Clinton.” Another close Clinton aide told the FBI that “Abedin may have kept emails that Clinton did not.”
In her April interview with the FBI, Abedin incredulously maintained that she “did not know that Clinton had a private server until about a year and a half ago, when it became public knowledge.” The server was set up in the basement of the Clinton family residence in Chappaqua.
However, another witness told agents that he and another Clinton aide with computer skills built the new server system “at the recommendation of Huma Abedin,” who first broached the idea of an off-the-grid email server as early as the “fall (of) 2008.”
Skeptical agents showed Abedin three separate email exchanges she had with an IT staffer regarding the operation of the private Clinton server during Clinton’s tenure at State. Abedin claimed she “did not recall” the email exchanges.
So if you believe Abedin, she didn’t know the private server that hosted her huma@ account even existed until she heard about it in the news. Comey was a believer; he didn’t even bother to call her back for further questioning. Case closed.
But Abedin’s role in this caper begs for fresh scrutiny. Making false statements to a federal agent is a felony. So is mishandling classified information.
By forwarding classified emails to her personal email account and printing them out at home, Abedin appears to have violated a Classified Information NonDisclosure Agreement she signed at the State Department on Jan. 30, 2009, in which she agreed to keep all classified material under the control of the US government.
Let’s see if Comey puts the screws to Abedin and leverages her for information on her boss. If he agrees to cut another immunity deal, we’ll know the fix is still in.
Paul Sperry, a former DC bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily and Hoover Institution media fellow, is author of “Infiltration.” Sperry@