"The United States government classifies information according to the degree which the unauthorized disclosure would damage national security.”
"Top Secret shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe."
This is the second-highest classification. Information is classified Secret when its unauthorized disclosure would cause "serious damage" to national security. Most information that is classified is held at the secret sensitivity level.
This is the lowest classification level of information obtained by the government. It is defined as information that would "damage" national security if publicly disclosed, again, without the proper authorization.
In previous congressional testimony, l referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton's personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.
In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.
Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.
James B. Comey
A Republican, Comey has donated about $10,000 to Republican candidates and organizations over the years, including $2,300 to John McCain in 2008 and $5,000 to Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign.”
“We cannot recall a prior instance where a senior Justice Department official — Republican or Democrat — has, on the eve of a major election, issued a public statement where the mere disclosure of information may impact the election’s outcome, yet the official acknowledges the information to be examined may not be significant or new’.”
In his October 28th letter to congressional leaders, Comey admits that the “FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.” If that is so, he had no justification for writing that letter because there is no substantive evidence for re-opening the investigation, only speculation, and therefore an effect on the closed investigation does not exist. That being the case, it is no wonder that Senate Minority Leader Reid and many congressional Democrats, as well as over a hundred federal prosecutors and members of the Justice Department (including Republicans) called for full disclosure of facts, and the possibility of charges against Comey of violating the Hatch Act that prohibits Public officials from influencing elections by using the powers of their office to do so.
Here is my take on the matter in relation to “standing” in the Courts: nothing has been found in Hillary’s Emails to prove:
- malicious intent
- that harm has come to the nation because of any of these emails
- that any of the criteria for classification of secrets has been substantially violated
- No exceptionally grave damage to the national security has been caused by any of those emails
- No serious grave damage to the national security has ever been proven to exist because of any of her emails
- No damage whatsoever, even at the lowest levels of classification, has ever been proven to have occurred.
- Finally, regarding any kind of civil suit, there has been nothing to indicate that any personal harm has ever occurred to any individual because of her emails existing on a private server.
- Add to those criteria the fact that every citizen is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and that every person has the right to a (speedy) trial by jury, and Donald Trump is caught on his own petard.
Since there are several definitions that fit numerous circumstances, I would depend on the definitions that imply punishment that does not fit the crime or that brings a punishment for something that was not illegal at the time committed; in this sense – the punishment of impeachment and loss of office as well as prohibition from ever holding civil office again could be argued to be an increase of punishment for certain questionable crimes such as deleting private Emails. Or, it could be argued that many of the Emails in question, now thought to contain “classified information” were not so designated at the time of their sending.