"It's definitely a criminal probe," an unnamed source says in regards to the FBI investigation into whether Hillary Clinton knowingly sent classified information through personal email. "I'm not sure why they're not calling it a criminal probe," the source adds. The Clinton camp, in the meantime, downplays this.
Federal agents are investigating to what extent Clinton used her home server and other private devices to send and store classified documents.
"The DOJ [Department of Justice] and FBI can conduct civil investigations in very limited circumstances," but that is not what this is, the source says. "In this case, a security violation would lead to criminal charges. Maybe DOJ is trying to protect her campaign."
In the meantime, Hillary Clinton is "confident" that she never willfully received or sent any classified information.
But of 40 Clinton emails, randomly reviewed while she served as secretary of state, four contained classified information, the inspector general in charge of the case informed Congress.
Former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon says that if Hillary Clinton knowingly sent, received, or stored classified information in an unauthorized location, she may face "prosecution under the same misdemeanor federal security statute used to prosecute former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus," according to the NY Post.
This rule was also used to prosecute Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, in 2005. However, it is up to the discretion of the attorney general to proceed with the case.
"They didn't hesitate to charge Gen. Petraeus with doing the same thing, downloading documents that are classified," Simon said. "The threshold under the statute is not high - they only need to prove there was an unauthorized removal and retention" of classified material, he said.
Longtime Bill Clinton attorney David Kendall is Hillary's lawyer in the email probe. Kendall also represented Petraeus, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to providing classified documents to his mistress biographer.
"My guess is they're looking to see if there's been either any breach of that data that's gone into the wrong hands [in Clinton's case]," Makin Delrahim, former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee says. "Through their counter-intelligence group or they are looking to see if a crime has been committed." Delrahim also served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Bush DOJ.
"They're not in the business of providing advisory security services," Delrahim said of the FBI. "This is real."
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