Former NSA Analyst: FBI May Reopen Investigation If Clinton Loses

9/25/16 5:13 PM

FBI notes released Friday evening indicated the Justice Department granted immunity deals to
Clinton aides, hindering the FBI's investigation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The FBI could reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified information if she fails to win the November election, according to a former National Security Agency analyst, especially in light of revelations made public in a Friday document dump by the agency.

"The FBI completely ignored the appearance of highly classified signals intelligence in Hillary's email, including information lifted verbatim from above-Top Secret NSA reports back in 2011," John Schindler, a security expert and former analyst for the agency, wrote in a Sunday column for the Observer, noting the agency revealed on Friday that it never questioned Clinton about the issue.

"This week, however, we learned that there is actually no mystery at all here. The FBI was never able to get enough traction in its investigation of EmailGate to prosecute anybody since the Bureau had already granted immunity to key players in that scandal," wrote Schindler, who has served at both the NSA and the Army War College.

FBI notes released Friday evening indicated the Justice Department granted immunity deals to Clinton's longtime aide and chief of staff at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, in addition Heather Samuelson, a senior adviser, and John Bentel, who headed the department's Office of Information Resources Management. Deals were previously known to have been handed to Clinton's IT aide, Bryan Pagliano, and Paul Combetta, an employee at an outside tech firm.

"Giving a pass to Bryan Pagliano, Hillary's IT guru who set up her email and server, made some sense since he understands what happened here, technically speaking, and otherwise is a small fish," Schindler wrote. "Now it turns out the FBI granted immunity to much bigger fish in the Clinton political tank.

"How exactly Cheryl Mills got immunity, and what its terms were, is the long-awaited 'smoking gun' in EmailGate, the clear indication that, despite countless man-hours expended on the year-long investigation, [FBI Director] James Comey and his FBI never had any intention of prosecuting Hillary Clinton, or anyone, for her mishandling of classified information as secretary of state," Schindler added.

Schindler noted the questions arising from the situation give both Congress and the FBI reason to reopen the investigation. "Why Comey decided to give Mills a get-out-of-jail-free card is something that needs proper investigation. This is raw, naked politics in all its ugly and cynical glory."

"For Hillary Clinton, winning that election may be a legal necessity to protect her from prosecution," he added. "Congress, animated by these latest revelations of illegality and corruption, will now pursue her with vigor, while an FBI in the hands of Donald Trump seems likely to show an interest in EmailGate which the Bureau never possessed under President Obama."

Schindler is the latest observer to highlight the specter that law enforcement officials could reopen the investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information if she fails to win the election.

"It was clear from the FBI's assessment of the case that they put weight on whether Clinton intended to expose classified information, but not whether she intended her actions as the law requires nor whether the information was actually exposed," Matthew Whitaker, a U.S. attorney at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday.

The issue is set to receive further scrutiny by Congress in the days ahead. Director James Comey is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, and the agency has been hit with a subpoena seeking to compel its response to additional questions by Friday.