During Thursday’s hearing on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey was hit from all sides, but it may have been Representative Will Hurd (R-TX) who delivered the hardest blow.
At the start of his allotted time, Hurd made it known that before he was a congressman, he “spent nine and a half years as an undercover officer for the CIA,” so he was offended at Democrats calling this investigation “political theatre”:
“I’ve seen my friends killed, I’ve seen assets put themselves in harm’s way. This is about protecting information, the most secretive information the American government has, and I wish my colleagues would take this a little bit more seriously.”
After a brief back-and-forth, Hurd dropped the hammer on Comey:
“So the former Secretary of State — one of the president’s most important advisors on foreign policy and national security — had a server in her basement that had information that was collected from our most sensitive assets, and it was not protected by anyone, and that’s not a crime? That’s outrageous!
People are concerned. What does it take for someone to misuse classified information, and get in trouble for it?”
Comey replied that it was not simply a matter of negligence, but of intent. He claims no intent was found on the part of Hillary Clinton, and therefore charges would not be reasonable.
However, Andrew C. McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributor, writes that according to section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18), “intent” isn’t necessary for gross negligence:
“…the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.”
Hurd isn’t the only politician to grill Director Comey regarding his recommendation of no charges.
Representatives Chaffetz (R-UT), Gowdy (R-SC), Jordan (R-OH), Mica (R-FL), and Meadows (R-NC) also raked Comey over the coals Thursday during the hearing.