Recently in Law & Justice Category


Sharyl Attkisson has a brilliant recasting of the "Russia investigation" as if it were an attempted bank robbery and the government decided to investigate the bank instead of the robbers, and then didn't even bother to prevent the robbery.

Once upon a time, the FBI said some thugs planned to rob a bank in town. Thugs are always looking to rob banks. They try all the time. But at this particular time, the FBI was hyper-focused on potential bank robberies in this particular town.

The best way to prevent the robbery -- which is the goal, after all -- would be for the FBI to alert all the banks in town. "Be on high alert for suspicious activity," the FBI could tell the banks. "Report anything suspicious to us. We don't want you to get robbed."

Instead, in this fractured fairytale, the FBI followed an oddly less effective, more time-consuming, costlier approach. It focused on just one bank. And, strangely, it picked the bank that was least likely to be robbed because nobody thought it would ever get elected president -- excuse me, I mean, because it had almost no cash on hand. (Why would robbers want to rob the bank with no cash?)

Just go read the whole thing.


FBI leakers admit to spying on Trump campaign 100 days before the election. The purpose of the leaks to to cover-their-butts in advance of the Inspector General report.

It's been nearly 24 hours since it has been revealed to the world that President Barack Obama's Justice Department conducted a counterintelligence investigation on the Trump campaign. The investigation began 100 days before the presidential election and was executed with all the traditional tools of spy trade-craft including informants (spies) and electronic surveillance (wire tapping.)

These stunning revelations were memorialized in the bible of the Mainstream Media: It was written in the Gospel According to the New York Times.

Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says it's "a good thing" that Obama was spying on his political opponent.

Clapper admitted the FBI "may have had someone who was talking to them in the campaign," referring to President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. He explained away the possibility of an FBI informant spying on the campaign as the bureau was trying to find out "what the Russians were doing to try to substantiate themselves in the campaign or influence or leverage it."

Obama's Director of National Intelligence then went on to say, "So, if there was someone that was observing that sort of thing, that's a good thing."

Mollie Hemingway dissects the NYT article based on the leaks.

This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, "The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election."

The story says the FBI was worried that if it came out they were spying on Trump campaign it would "only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him." It is easy to understand how learning that the FBI was spying on one's presidential campaign might reinforce claims of election-rigging.


Muller's indictment of Russian conspirators appears to be backfiring.

Against all expectations, in April, lawyers for one of the Russian corporate defendants, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, entered their appearances in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They followed up by serving extensive discovery requests on Team Mueller seeking full disclosure of the government's case and investigation including sensitive national security and intelligence information.

This type of discovery is called "graymail" (as distinguished from blackmail) in which the government is faced with having to disclose closely guarded state secrets in order to proceed with the prosecution. The alternative is to drop the charges.

Given that the maximum penalty against Concord is an uncollectable $500,000 fine or equally uncollectable compensation to anyone damaged by the alleged conspiracy, the choice is all the more bitter for Team Mueller. Should they litigate the discovery requests? If they lose and are faced with having to disclose sensitive intelligence information about the case and their investigation, should they withdraw the indictment against Concord? And, if they drop the charges, are they prepared for the resulting public mockery and howls of derision?

Andrew C. McCarthy has more on the topic of judicial hardship for Mueller. Seems like it's past time to wrap up this investigation.


Alan Dershowitz is right: if the shoe were on the other foot, civil libertarians would be going ballistic.

Alan Dershowitz reacted to a federal raid on the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Dershowitz said it is a "dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations." ...

"If this were Hillary Clinton [having her lawyer's office raided], the ACLU would be on every TV station in America jumping up and down," he said. "The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling."

Don't forget: Hillary's lawyers were also her accomplices in mishandling classified information and then covering it up, and the DOJ allowed them to hide behind bogus attorney-client privilege.

As we have previously observed, the Justice Department barred the FBI from questioning Mills about the process of selecting which e-mails were disclosed and which destroyed. This was absurd. It prevented investigation of the core of the case. Mills was an actor in the facts under investigation and was not, in any event, eligible to function as Clinton's lawyer. The fact that she may have learned some additional information about Clinton's e-mail set-up after leaving the State Department is irrelevant; she could not be Clinton's lawyer for these purposes, and her communications about the e-mail vetting process were not privileged.

RELATED: If Hillary Is Corrupt, Congress Should Impeach Her

More significantly, however, are the indications that the Clinton team was engaged in a fraud and crime -- perhaps several crimes arising out of the overarching scheme to 1) hoard Clinton's e-mails; 2) shield thousands of them from lawfully required disclosure to Congress, the courts, and the public; and 3) destroy thousands of them notwithstanding (a) a congressional subpoena; (b) their known relevance to several investigations and court proceedings; and (c) their patent status as government records.

Read the whole article, but the point should be pretty obvious. If a prosecutor is determined to find a crime to pin on someone, he'll do it. If he's determined to not find a crime, he can look very busy while doing that.


... writes Andrew C. McCarthy for the millionth time. He's my favorite legal commentator on the never-ending Russia imbroglio.

Trump has intervened unhelpfully in a number of cases, as I've pointed out. Of course, we should disapprove of this. A president should not intercede in pending criminal investigations -- I'd prefer if he never did it, and he certainly shouldn't make a habit of it. It would be better if the president hewed to that norm and custom. It would have been better if Trump had not pled on Michael Flynn's behalf to FBI director James Comey -- just as it would have been better if Obama had not publicly announced in April 2016 that he did not believe Mrs. Clinton should be indicted. But the fact that it would be preferable for a president to refrain from signaling how he wants an investigation to turn out does not mean such signaling is tantamount to a criminal obstruction felony. The authority that FBI agents and prosecutors exercise when they weigh in on the merits of an investigation or prosecution is the president's power. There is no power that the president's subordinates may exercise but that he may not, regardless of what norms and customs counsel against it.

McCarthy points out (again) that President Trump can only be checked-and-balanced by Congress and the courts, not by any kind of legal action. The problem for Democrats is that impeaching the president requires political power that they don't have, so they strain for a law enforcement option that simply doesn't exist.

They prefer to imagine Special Counsel Robert Mueller cobbling together a magic-bullet obstruction charge that might knock their nemesis out of office. It is not going to happen.


William A. Jacobson explains how recent revelations can help us understand what went on at the infamous Tarmac Meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton.

So what significance does the tarmac meeting take in this new context?

Remember, Lynch insisted that she and Clinton only talked about grandchildren and other non-investigation matters during that half hour conversation. That didn't make sense if the tarmac meeting was the start of a collusive effort, there must have been something more.

But the tarmac meeting being only small talk does make sense if it was the end point, not the starting point. By then, it was clear within the FBI that Hillary would be exonerated, the statement already was drafted and re-drafted and reviewed, and Lynch likely knew it. Hillary's interview, which was not under oath and not recorded, was a formality so the predetermined decision could assume the patina of legitimacy.

So the tarmac meeting very likely signaled to Hillary through Bill that all was good, that there was nothing to worry about regarding her upcoming FBI interview.

Next time you're under federal investigation, remember to have your spouse meet privately with the attorney general to get the inside scoop.


Whatever you think about climate change, it's obvious that several states and municipalities are conspiring to extort oil companies by using lawsuits to allege damage due to climate change. The conspiracy is blatantly hypocritical, and ExxonMobil's lawyers are having a field day. The litigants suing ExxonMobil now have previously asserted in their bond offerings that the risk of climate change was unknown or unknowable. From ExxonMobil's response to the lawsuit:

Implementing a different page of the La Jolla playbook, a number of California municipal governments recently filed civil tort claims against ExxonMobil and 17 other Texas- based energy companies. In those lawsuits, each of the municipalities warned that imminent sea level rise presented a substantial threat to its jurisdiction and laid blame for this purported injury at the feet of energy companies.

Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years. To the contrary, some of the disclosures affirmatively denied any ability to measure those risks; the others virtually ignored them. At least two municipal governments [one of them San Mateo] reassured investors that they were "unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the County and the local economy."

So when they want to borrow money, climate change is no risk; when they want to sue for damages, climate change is a huge risk.


Look, it's pretty obvious to everyone that Hillary Clinton broke the law and then received special treatment because she was expected to be the next president.

For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill. ...

"The sheer volume of information that was properly classified as Secret at the time it was discussed on email (that is, excluding the "up classified" emails) supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information," the FBI's original draft read, according to a source who has seen it.

Not only was there slam-dunk evidence of criminality, but the decision to exonerate Clinton was made before many key witnesses were even interviewed -- because the decision was driven by the political timeline.

Republican investigators say the most glaring irregularity they have found is the decision to begin drafting a statement exonerating Clinton before much of the investigative interviewing and evidence gathering was even done.

While the first draft of the statement was dated May 2, 2016, FBI records gathered by congressional investigators show agents were still receiving evidence responsive to grand jury subpoenas well after that, including documents and other evidentiary items logged on May 13, May 19 and May 26.

A House GOP lawmaker told The Hill his staff also has identified at least a dozen interviews that were conducted after the drafting effort began, including of some figures who would have key information about intent or possible destruction of evidence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) staff has a higher number: 17 witnesses including Clinton were interviewed after the decision was already made.

The Democrats shouldn't have coronated Hillary. Hopefully America is rid of the Clintons for good this time, along with their cloud of corruption.


This story about a "SWATting" death is an important lesson, not just for the police but for everyone.

A 28-year-old Kansas man was shot and killed by police officers on the evening of Dec. 28 after someone fraudulently reported a hostage situation ongoing at his home. The false report was the latest in a dangerous hoax known as "swatting," wherein the perpetrator falsely reports a dangerous situation at an address with the goal of prompting authorities to respond to that address with deadly force. This particular swatting reportedly originated over a $1.50 wagered match in the online game Call of Duty. Compounding the tragedy is that the man killed was an innocent party who had no part in the dispute.

Police in Los Angeles reportedly have arrested 25-year-old Tyler Raj Barriss in connection with the swatting attack.

Not only was the 911 call itself a hoax, but the address given by the intended victim was a lie as well -- both the perpetrator and the intended victim contributed to the death of a completely un-involved third party.

If your house is surrounded by police officers, what's the safest way to respond? Probably not by opening the door and moving your arms around. Maybe it would be safer to have your family all lie down on the floor and then call 911 yourself to see what's going on.


Andrew McCarthy argues that Mueller's special councel investigation can't possibly prove a conspiracy if it can't prove an underlying crime.

Rosenstein did not identify a crime because he did not have one. There are two reasons for this, but we have focused myopically on the wrong one: the fact that contacts between Trump associates and the Russian regime do not prove they conspired together in an espionage scheme. That simply shows that Mueller does not have a case. The more basic problem is that he cannot have a case. Russia's espionage operation cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, so it will never be possible to prove the Trump campaign colluded in it.

Let's concede that there is some evidence -- not much, but some -- of contacts between Trump associates and operatives of the Russian regime. On its face, this is not incriminating -- no more than the fact of contacts between the Clinton camp and the Russian regime. What would make the Trump-Russia contacts criminal would be indications that they facilitated Russia's cyberespionage operation against the 2016 election.


So far there's no evidence that Trump or his surrogates illegally conspired with Russia to "steal" the 2016 election, despite their unsavory behavior. (Certainly no worse than the DNC's sponsorship of the Steele Dossier.) The longer Mueller's special counsel investigation continues, the more it looks like an attempt by the disrupted political establishment to cover their collective ass. The WSJ lays out the facts.

The Washington Post and the New York Times reported Saturday that a lead FBI investigator on the Mueller probe, Peter Strzok, was demoted this summer after it was discovered he'd sent anti- Trump texts to a mistress. As troubling, Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department kept this information from House investigators, despite Intelligence Committee subpoenas that would have exposed those texts. They also refused to answer questions about Mr. Strzok's dismissal and refused to make him available for an interview.

The news about Mr. Strzok leaked only when the Justice Department concluded it couldn't hold out any longer, and the stories were full of spin that praised Mr. Mueller for acting "swiftly" to remove the agent. Only after these stories ran did Justice agree on Saturday to make Mr. Strzok available to the House.

This is all the more notable because Mr. Strzok was a chief lieutenant to former FBI Director James Comey and played a lead role investigating alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. Mr. Mueller then gave him a top role in his special-counsel probe. And before all this Mr. Strzok led the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and sat in on the interview she gave to the FBI shortly before Mr. Comey publicly exonerated her in violation of Justice Department practice.

Oh, and the woman with whom he supposedly exchanged anti-Trump texts, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, worked for both Mr. Mueller and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, who was accused of a conflict of interest in the Clinton probe when it came out that Clinton allies had donated to the political campaign of Mr. McCabe's wife. The texts haven't been publicly released, but it's fair to assume their anti-Trump bias must be clear for Mr. Mueller to reassign such a senior agent.

It's frankly astonishing to me that no substantial Trump wrongdoing has been uncovered, but despite numerous investigations that appears to be the case so far. Our political class keeps digging itself deeper into its hole, and somehow manages to make Trump look good.


Can't link to the WSJ because of the paywall, but via TaxProfBlog: Lois Lerner's abuse of power was so bad that she believes it put her family in danger.

Here's how lawyers for Ms. Lerner and her former IRS deputy, Holly Paz, put it in a filing aimed at persuading a judge to keep their testimony from becoming public: "Public dissemination of their deposition testimony would expose them and their families to harassment and a credible risk of violence and physical harm." They're not just thinking of themselves, they add. Young children, family members, might be hurt too.

That's quite an argument. So enraged would the American public become upon learning what Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz said that they and those around them would be in physical peril. Which probably makes most people wonder what the heck must the two have said that would get everyone so agitated? ...

[W]hat a crippling precedent it would be if government officials from powerful agencies such as the IRS were permitted to keep their abuses secret on grounds they fear that the people whom they are supposed to serve might be upset if they found out.

The thing to remember is that if Lerner's family is in danger it's because of the horribleness of her actions. What exactly did she do? The public has a right to know.


It's fun to type the word "malfeasance", and yes, I was a little proud when it didn't earn a red underline from my browser because I spelled it right the first time. It's the little things in life.

But anyway, despite Hillary's humiliating electoral defeat, let's not forget how grossly negligent she and her aides were with classified information.

Judicial Watch today released 1,617 new pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, "as far as she knew," all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

Plus, of course, the pay-to-play relationship between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton "charity" foundation.

On July 16, 2009, Zachary Schwartz asked Band for help getting visas to travel to Cuba for a film production crew from Shangri La Entertainment. Band forwarded the request to Abedin, telling her, "Please call zach asap on this. [Redacted.] Important." Abedin responded, "I'll call zach when we land in India." Abedin concludes with "Enjoy. Cuba is complicated. Am sure you aren't surprised to hear that." Schwartz worked for Steve Bing, a mega-donor to the Clintons and owner of Shangri La Entertainment. Bing has reportedly donated $10-25 million to the Clinton Foundation and paid Bill Clinton personally $2.5 million a year to be an adviser to a green construction company Bing owned.

On September 11, 2009, Terrence Duffy, chairman of futures brokerage firm CME Group, a donor to the Clinton Foundation, asked Clinton to arrange "government appointments" for him in Singapore and Hong Kong. Clinton, using her HDR22@clintonmail.com address, forwarded the request to Abedin, "fyi." Abedin responded to Duffy's email, saying she would "follow up" with Duffy's secretary, Joyce. Duffy gave $4,600 to Hillary's 2008 presidential campaign; CME Group paid Hillary $225,000 for a speaking fee and has donated between $5,001 and 10,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

And lots more... obviously.

(HT: Instapundit and Townhall.)


I guess you can interpret this partnership for yourself: Planned Parenthood teams up with Satanists to abort more babies in Missouri.

Missouri's recent stroke of good fortune in the reproductive rights realm may have to do with intervention from the fiery underworld. On Monday, the Satanic Temple argued in a Missouri court that the state's abortion restrictions violate worshippers' rights to free religious practice. The organization is challenging two Missouri laws: one that requires patients to look at unscientific anti-abortion propaganda and another that forces them to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and a second appointments for their abortions. Satanic Temple members argue that their religion prizes rational, independent thought and that forcing Satanists to read anti-abortion pamphlets and "consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree" during the 72-hour waiting period constitutes a violation of their beliefs.

I wonder how this "stroke of good fortune" will impact the most vulnerable and defenseless people among us?

(HT: Breitbart and Patheos.)


An Oklahoma woman who drove her three friends to a burglary has been charged with murder because the homeowner killed her accomplices in self-defense.

The woman who says she drove three teenagers to an Oklahoma home where they were fatally shot during a midday break-in told television reporters that she feels guilty, but not responsible for their deaths and that she has little compassion for the man who shot them.

Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, 21, is jailed without bond on murder and burglary warrants in Wagoner County for the deaths of Maxwell Cook, Jacob Redfern and Jakob Woodruff at the home just outside the city limits of the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. The Wagoner County sheriff's office says the three were between 15 and 19 years old.

Authorities have said the three were shot Monday by the homeowner's 23-year-old son, who has not been arrested, and that each was found masked, dressed in black and wearing gloves. A knife and brass knuckles were recovered at the scene.

"I understand he (the son) protected his home," Rodriguez told television station KOTV. "He had his rights."

But she said he could have shot the three in the legs. "He's at the bottom of my list to be compassionate for," she said.

Apparently Rodriguez was unaware of the felony murder rule which generally states that if someone is killed while you are committing a dangerous felony you are guilty of murder -- even if you had no intent to kill, you intentionally created a dangerous, illegal situation that resulted in death.


A report by Luke Rosiak claims that shady IT service providers might be blackmailing House Democrats.

Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers -- who were banned from the congressional network -- have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.

Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group that members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

"I don't know what they have, but they have something on someone. It's been months at this point" with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. "Something is rotten in Denmark."


Apparently bandits are running wild in California. I put "teen" in quotes because who really knows how old these bandits are?

BART police are beefing up patrols at Oakland stations after dozens of juveniles terrorized riders Saturday night when they invaded the Coliseum Station and commandeered at least one train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries.

The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told police that 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

I feel like the police and media are being pretty quick to blame "juveniles" because it makes the horrendous failure of the government seem less scary. How do they know this mob of bandits consisted of kids? Did someone check all their IDs? What proportion of the bandits were kids? Were there some adults present leading the banditry?

Saying "teens" and "juveniles" makes it sound like this attack was some kind of misguided prank rather than a victory for chaos over the forces of law and order.

"I've been there 24 years and this is the first time I've heard of anything like this happening," said Keith Garcia, a BART police officer and union president.

So, things in California are getting worse.

Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman, said Monday that seven people were robbed -- with the victims losing a purse, a duffel bag and five phones. Six people were robbed inside the train car, with a seventh confronted on the platform, she said. Police received no reports of guns or other weapons being brandished.

A police summary prepared after the incident said that at least two victims suffered injuries to the face or head that required medical attention.

How many people reported injuries or assaults that didn't require medical attention? I bet it was a lot.

The attack was so quick, police reported, that the teenagers were able to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond. The train was held for about 15 minutes as authorities interviewed victims and witnesses and tended to the injured.

Bandits running rampant. Law enforcement has completely lost control of a swathe of territory right in the heart of one of the richest areas of the country. How humiliating.

Trost said police arrived at the station in less than 5 minutes, but that the robberies took place in just seconds.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. The outcome would have been different if some of the victims had been armed, and the bandits would think twice before trying again if a few of them had gotten shot. As it is, if all 40-60 aren't arrested, prosecuted, and punished then the government in California has basically given up its sovereignty.

(HT: Althouse, who is surprised that the police aren't releasing the surveillance video of the attack because the criminals are "juveniles". I guess it would be an invasion of their privacy.)


I've written about alternatives to imprisonment several times over the past... 14 years. Wow.

Now Ross Douthat is asking similar questions: why should imprisonment be our only official form of punishment?

Our prison system, which officially only punishes by restraint, actually subjects millions of Americans to waves of informal physical abuse -- mistreatment by guards, violence from inmates, the tortures of solitary confinement, the trauma of rape -- on top of their formal yearslong sentences.

It is not clear that this method of dealing with crime succeeds at avoiding cruel and unusual punishment so much as it avoids making anyone outside the prison system see it. Nor is it clear that a different system, with a sometimes more old-fashioned set of penalties, would necessarily be more inhumane. ...

We tell ourselves that we have prisoners' good in mind, and the higher standards of our civilization, because we do not offer them this choice. But those standards may be less about preventing ourselves from becoming like our sinful ancestors, and more about maintaining the illusion of clean hands -- while harsh punishment is still imposed, but out of sight, on souls and bodies not our own.

If given the choice, I'd rather face pain and humiliation than years in prison... and it seems like such punishment would be better for my mental and physical health as well, not to mention that of my family. I agree with Douthat that "civilized" imprisonment is more for the benefit of a society that doesn't want to think about punishment than for the protection of society or the benefit of convicts.

(HT: Instapundit.)


I don't have a strong opinion on whether or not felons who have served their sentences should having their voting rights restored. I can see reasonable arguments in both directions. However, Terry McAuliffe's naked politicizing of what should be a solemn responsibility is appalling.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has granted voting rights to as many as 60,000 convicted felons just in time for them to register to vote, nearly five times more than previously reported and enough to win the state for his long-time friend, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Virginia chief executive claimed to have "no idea" how felons would vote and said he had never thought about it. Clinton's staff emailed him after the 200,000-voters move to call it a "great announcement" and set up a call about it.

McAuliffe also did a major favor for the wife of a senior FBI executive who was running for a Virginia legislative seat at the same time the bureau was investigating Clinton's use of private email addresses and a home-brew server to conduct the official diplomatic business of the U.S.


Former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman General James E. Cartwright has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, a felony, during its investigation of a leak of classified information. I'm not expert enough to say anything with certainty, but Josh Rogen makes a strong case that Cartwright is being made an example of after Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus were let off entirely or lightly for similar crimes.

Under his plea deal, Cartwright could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Last year, Petraeus cut a deal with the Justice Department after admitting he had lied to the FBI and passed hundreds of highly classified documents to his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. He pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor of mishandling classified information and was sentenced to two years probation and a $100,000 fine.

Clinton was not charged at all for what FBI Director James B. Comey called "extremely careless" handling of "very sensitive, highly classified information." Comey said that although there was "evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information," the FBI's judgment was that no reasonable prosecutor would have filed charges against Clinton or her associates.

"There is a lack of proportion just based on the facts that one figure, Cartwright, is getting severely punished and others so far have escaped the process," said Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "He is being singled out for prosecution and public humiliation. It's an implicit rebuttal to those who argued that other senior officials such as Clinton or Petraeus got off scott free or got too light of a sentence."

It's also very strange to me that he, or anyone, would lie to the FBI instead of keeping silent. Maybe given recent history Cartwright figured that his position would protect him.

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