Earlier this month, two former U.S. Attorneys independently predicted that Hillary Clinton would be indicted for crimes arising out of her deliberate use of a private email account and home-brew server to conduct official business as secretary of state.
Among the charges that may be brought against her is negligence in having signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement in 2009 regarding classified information. This agreement explained that “Sensitive Compartmented Information involves or derives from intelligence sources or methods that is classified or is involved in a classification determination.” In short, this invalidates Clinton’s argument that many of the documents were not marked “classified.”
Also contained in that agreement is the sentence “Nothing in this agreement constitutes a waiver by the United States of the right to prosecute me for any statutory violations.”
The FBI is further evaluating whether Clinton violated Section 1924 of Title 18, which deals with the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material, or even the Espionage Act.
With all this percolating just under the surface, a message the Democratic front-runner tweeted yesterday might seem particularly brazen:
“There should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too big to jail.” —Hillary #DemDebate
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 18, 2016
Many of Clinton’s detractors have already begun measuring her for an orange jumpsuit. Which raises the question: If Clinton is indicted and convicted (the second is an especially big “if”), what is the likelihood she will ever serve time?
One answer to that question was provided in October 2015 by national security attorney Edward MacMahon, Jr. who McClatchy writes, “represented former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling in 2011 in a leak case that led to an espionage prosecution and 3½-year prison term. He cited a pattern of light punishments for top government officials who have mishandled classified information while lower level whistleblowers such as Sterling have faced harsh prosecutions for revealing sensitive information to expose waste, fraud or abuse in government.”
Bob Baer, a former CIA agent, also expressed skepticism. Appearing on CNN, Baer emphasized the different sets of rules that obtain for low-level government employees and big fish like Clinton:
Seriously, if I had sent a [classified] document … over the open Internet, I’d get fired the same day — escorted to the door, and gone for good, and probably charged with mishandling classified information.