FBI Director James Comey explained at a congressional hearing Thursday why the case involving Gen. David Petraeus compromising classified information is different than the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“In my mind, [the Petraeus case] illustrates importantly the distinction to this case,” Comey said.
In a Tuesday press conference, Comey said the investigation yielded no evidence Clinton deliberately attempted to mislead investigators. He added that, despite behaving “extremely careless” with sensitive information, her conduct did not meet the threshold used to prosecute past violators who shared classified information over unclassified channels.
Petraeus, a former CIA director, disclosed classified information to his biographer. Petraeus later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of mishandling classified information.
Some, such as presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, believe Petraeus got is trouble for “far less” than Clinton
“The system is rigged,” Trump posted on Twitter Tuesday. “General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”
Petraeus kept highly classified information in a set of notebooks at his private residence, Comey acknowledged. The notebooks contained identities of covert officers war strategy, and discussions with the president, and Petraeus disclosed the information with his biographer, whom he was also having an affair with.
“The Petraeus case to my mind illustrates perfectly the kinds of cases the department of justice is willing to prosecute,” Comey said. “Even there they prosecuted him for a misdemeanour.”
“[Petraeus] not only shared [classified information] with someone who was not allowed to have it, but we found it in a search warrant under the insulation in his attic, and then he lied to us about it in the investigation,” Comey continued.
He said Petraeus obstructed justice and committed intention misconduct and later admitted it was the wrong thing to do.
“You have a perfect illustration of the kind of cases that get prosecuted,” he said.
Asked by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland whether the Clinton investigation was more damning than Petraeus’, Comey said “no, it’s the reverse.”
“His conduct to me illustrates the category of behaviour that mark the prosecutions that are actually brought,” Comey said.
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