By now you know that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s response to turning over her personal e-mail server to FBI investigators was to mock their work with a Snapchat joke at a campaign event.
“You may have seen that I’ve recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves,” Mrs. Clinton said at an event in Iowa.
As an American who respects the rule of law, I interpret this joke as a giant middle finger to the FBI. It is the mark of a woman who thinks “My husband plays golf with the president while visiting Martha’s Vineyard. You won’t touch me. You can’t touch me.”
Given that the inspector general (IG) for U.S. intelligence agencies revealed Top Secret information had passed through Mrs. Clinton’s private server, and given that at least 305 more documents have now been sent to different agencies for review, I am pleading with you to respond to Mrs. Clinton’s rhetorical “Screw you” as you do to every other American who acts like they are above the law.
To every young FBI agent out there I ask the following questions:
- What would happen if you somehow managed to have Platte River Networks set up your own private e-mail server, and then used it to conduct day-to-day operations?
- What would happen if Top Secret information and hundreds (perhaps thousands) of classified documents passed through that server?
- What if your supervisors found out about your private e-mail server and then you tried to wipe the device clean, held onto it for months, and only then turned it over to investigators?
- Where would your career be after all of this, and what would happen if you joked about it in public?
In order for the great American experiment to work, citizens need to have faith in the system. When powerful people openly flaunt their ability to play by a completely different set of rules, civil society breaks down. When a politician’s behavior is so grossly irresponsible that the FBI needs to get involved to figure out if national security was compromised — and then she makes cavalier jokes about the matter — it sends the wrong message to anyone who cares about the future of the nation.
Mr. Comey, the pressure put upon you by well-connected people to make this all go away will be great. It must be hard to look at President Obama playing golf with Bill Clinton immediately after the FBI took Hillary’s private email server, and then move ahead with honesty and integrity. Mr. Obama has non-verbally asked the FBI to take the easy wrong instead of the hard right.
Now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon you to remember that the FBI motto — Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity — exists for a reason. I pray that you will go where the evidence takes you and do what is right.