FBI faults Clinton's personal email system, but doesn't recommend prosecution

Basic data security methods weren't followed, and it's impossible to rule out hacking, the FBI says

Hillary Clinton was "extremely careless" in her use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state, but the FBI isn't recommending any charges be brought against her for mishandling classified information.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, days after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed the presidential candidate, FBI Director James Comey said his investigation had uncovered numerous instances of the system being improperly used for classified information. He also said it was impossible to rule out the possibility that the system could have been hacked.

The controversy was thought to revolve around a single server, but Comey disclosed that over the years Clinton was secretary of state, she relied on a string of email servers. When new ones were installed, the older ones were removed but data was not always deleted.

Citing a server used in 2013, he said the email software had been removed but the actual email messages remained on the machine -- a pretty basic security misstep for any systems administrator.

From around 30,000 emails handed over by Clinton to the State Department, the FBI found that roughly 7 percent were classified at some level. Eight emails contained top secret information, 36 were secret, a further 8 were confidential and the remaining 2,000 were unclassified at the time but later "up-classified" by agencies to confidential.

U.S. government rules dictate classified information can be sent and shared only over secure government systems.

"She should have known an unclassified system was not a proper place for that information," Comey said.

Comey faulted Clinton's lawyers, who attempted to cleanse the entire email database of personal emails before handing it over to the State Department. Those lawyers simply ran keyword searches and looked at email headers, he said, so some emails that should have been handed over were deleted.

The FBI managed to find some by trawling government archives of people Clinton exchanged messages with; in that search, they found traces of some emails on older devices that had been insecurely deleted, but could get nothing from the servers themselves -- Clinton's lawyers had done a much more thorough job of deleting and cleansing the data.

On its recommendation to the Department of Justice, Comey said the FBI thinks Clinton should not be prosecuted.

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

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?