House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer
(CNSNews.com) – When asked whether persons who are “extremely careless” with classified information should have security clearances, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would not answer directly and instead said that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton did not intend to be reckless with classified materials, a point that he said the FBI made clear on Tuesday.
At his weekly briefing with reporters on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Hoyer: “FBI Director Comey said yesterday that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues ‘were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.’ Do you believe people who are extremely careless in their handling of highly classified information should have security clearances?”
Hoyer said, “I think that Secretary Clinton as Secretary of State -- and Comey clearly concluded -- had no intent or thought that she was in fact being careless. I know that’s Mr. Comey’s conclusion.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary
In his July 5 statement, Director Comey said, “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Comey further said, “We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent.
“She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”
Hoyer continued, “Mr. Comey has my respect – this was a very difficult task for him and I think he reached the right conclusion.”
Hoyer further said Comey did not think Hillary’s action were comparable to other cases that showed “clear negligence and intention to provide information to others that might disclose that to third parties and might not have clearance.”
“I don’t think that was the case here, so I think he reached the right conclusion,” Hoyer said.
Later in the briefing a reporter asked Hoyer about a House Republican plan to have Comey testify at a hearing on Thursday about the email scandal. Saying he was “not surprised,” Hoyer expanded his comments on Comey’s decision not to recommend that Clinton be indicted on any federal charges.
FBI Director James Comey. (AP)
“I think everybody agrees that Comey is a person of great integrity,” Hoyer said. “I don’t think that this is a question that he did this politically.”
“He’s not certainly an apologist for Democrats generally or Hillary Clinton in particular,” Hoyer said. “I think he takes his responsibility very seriously – everyone I talked to on the Republican side holds him in high regard and I think that he said yesterday what he said.”
“Some of it was – as the previous question indicated – critical,” Hoyer said. “And others of it concluded that there was no intent here – apparently no damage – I mean he didn’t mention any damage had occurred.”
Comey, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick ,and I. Charles McCullough III, inspector general of the intelligence community, will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at 10 a.m. on Thursday.