The FBI will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state, but FBI director James Comey called Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” in handling sensitive material, the Washington Post reports. Comey said FBI investigations into more than 30,000 emails and others pieced together from data “fragments” determined that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The findings now go to the Justice Department,where Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said she would abide by FBI recommendations.
The announcement, which came only about 72 hours after FBI agents interviewed Clinton, in some ways lifts the cloud that has been hanging over Clinton’s presidential campaign for months. Still, it will prompt criticism that the outcome of the high-profile probe was a foregone conclusion, influenced heavily by political considerations. Comey noted clear shortcomings in security protocols for the emails, which include 50 in “classified” categories with eight “top secret.” “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.