The FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s off-the-books email setup is reportedly focused on possible violations of the Espionage Act concerning “gross negligence” in the handling of national defense information.
According to Fox News, an intelligence source says that the probe is focused on sections of the Espionage Act which addresses security clearance holders who, “through gross negligence,” permit national defense information to be separated or abstracted from its secure location. The Act also requires the security holder “to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer.”
The punishment for failure to comply is a fine, imprisonment up to 10 years, or both.
“If someone knows there is an ongoing investigation and takes action to impede an investigation, for example destruction of documents or threatening of witnesses, that could be a separate charge but still remain under a single case,” the intelligence source told Fox.
Clinton has denied sending or receiving classified information from her personal email address. However, the Intelligence Community inspector general has found two emails which traversed Clinton’s server it says included “top secret” information at the time they were sent.
And while Clinton has said that she gave the State Department all of her work-related emails, her longtime friend and email correspondent, Sidney Blumenthal, has provided the House Select Committee on Benghazi at least 15 emails between him and Clinton that she did not give to the State Department in December.
Another focus of the Espionage Act inquiry could be Clinton’s claim that her private email setup, which was maintained by a server housed in the Clintons’ Chappaqua, N.Y. residence, was never hacked. Despite Clinton’s claim on the matter, international hackers emailed her in Aug. 2011 in an attempt to infiltrate her email address. Her server was also scanned by hackers in late 2012.
It is still unclear if the hackers specifically targeted Clinton’s email account and server, though numerous cybersecurity analysts have discovered holes in Clinton’s email arrangement, which was set up and maintained by Bryan Pagliano, the chief technology officer on her 2008 presidential campaign.
On Tuesday, at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, declined to confirm to The Daily Caller that her email system was not hacked.
“There’s no indication that they were [hacked],” he said during a brief interview in the spin room. “You’re speculating.”