Grassley: FBI Should Supply Clinton Investigation Info

Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) called on the FBI to give the public a gander at the evidence it used to conclude no charges should be brought against Hillary Clinton for using her unsecure private e-mail server for State Department communications.

FBI director James Comey too the unusual step of calling a press conference Tuesday (July 5) to announce that its investigation of Clinton resulted in no information that would warrant a criminal indictment by the Justice Department, though he revealed conclusions usually passed on to Justice without public airing.

Just last week President Obama signed FOIA reform legislation drafted that came out of Grassley's committee meant to make government agencies more open, and Grassley appeared ready to test that new presumption of openness.

“While Director Comey made it clear that Secretary Clinton and her staff were ‘extremely careless’ in handling classified information, he also recommended no criminal prosecution even though ‘gross negligence’ regarding classified information is a crime," he said in a statement e-mailed to Multichannel News. "If it wants to avoid giving the impression that the FBI was pulling punches, because many people in a similar situation would face some sort of consequence, the agency must now be more transparent than ever in releasing information gathered during its investigation. Even Director Comey said there should be extraordinary transparency. 

"That means more than simply giving the public a brief summary of his view of the facts," Grassley continued, referring to Comey's announcement, carried by the major news networks Tuesday. "It should include the actual evidence so the public can make an educated decision on its own about the judgment and decision-making of all the senior officials involved. There are plenty of FOIA and congressional requests pending that have been on hold because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, so now the FBI should respond fully and completely to all of them.”

Comey said while Clinton's e-mail handling had been extremely careless, and included some communications she should have known were classified and should have been secured, there was no indictable offense and no evidence of obstruction of justice.

Also weighing in was former presidential candidate and Senate Commerce Committee member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

"Hillary Clinton's actions have sent the worst message to the millions of hard-working federal employees who hold security clearances and are expected to go to great lengths to secure sensitive government information and abide by the rules," Rubio said. "They don't take their oaths lightly, and we shouldn't expect any less of their leaders. Her actions were grossly negligent, damaged national security and put lives at risk."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.