There’s an article in the Political Insider, by Rusty, with the headline, “10 Times People Were Punished for Far Less Than What Clinton Did”.
Here are two examples: A sailor who got 34 years for trying to sell classified documents to a Chinese agent, and a man who knowingly passed classified information to the Baltimore Sun for an article on the NSA. For that crime …
Charges were dropped and the NSA manager pleaded to a misdemeanor, in what was called a victory against the Obama administration whom had attempted to use dated laws to prosecute leakers of classified information
So, according to Rusty, attempting to sell classified information to the enemy is less offensive than being careless with emails, and having all charges dropped is the same as being punished.
This article was picked up by Breitbart and other right wing blogs.
This article does more to support the decision not to prosecute Clinton then it does to refute it. Of the ten people listed in the article, the pattern seems clear: People sometimes get convicted for knowingly compromising classified information, but almost never for carelessness.
The list includes:
- Sandy Berger:
Violation:Knowingly removed classified information from a secure compartment.
Penalty: Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Lost secret clearance. Fined $50,000. No jail time.
- Peter Van Buren:
Violation: Violating orders by posting a link to classified information on Wikileaks.
Note: Yea, Ok. This guy seems to have gotten a pretty raw deal. But still, no jail time.
- John Deutch:
Violation: Having classified information at home, on a government owned computer, after he left the CIA
Penalty: None. Pardoned.
- Bryan Nishimura:
Violation: Removing and keeping classified information at home.
Penalty: Probation, fined $7,500, loss of security clearance
Note: This is the best example they can come up with, but unlike Clinton, he deliberately took the classified information home. Clinton did not intend to receive classified information on her server.
- Bryan Martin:
Violation: Stole classified secrets with intent to sell to a Chinese agent.
Penalty: 34 years.
Note: Way worse than what Clinton did
- Kristian Saucier
Violation: Taking photos of a classified space, then destroying evidence while under investigation
Penalty: Still Pending
Note: This case, like Nishimura’s is often compared to Clinton’s. But again, this was willful. Also of note, similar violations rarely result in harsh penalties. From a Salon article
“Two guys in our boat were caught taking photos in the engine room on the nuclear side of things. Basically, all that happened to them was they … lost a rank,” Pitcher said. “I’ve seen quite a few cases like this and never seen any handled like Kris’.”
- Jason Brezler
Violation: Personal storage of classified information
Note: We cannot use this as an example until we see how it turns out
- Jessica Lynn Quintana
Violation: Deliberate removal of classified information
Penalty: Up to one year and a $100,000 fine but I don’t know what the actual penalty was.
Note: I bet she didn’t serve time or pay such a high fine, but again, this was the deliberate removal of classified information
- Thomas A. Drake
Violation: Giving secrets to a newspaper
Penalty: 1 year probation. No fine.
- Donald Willis Keyser
Violation: Willful removal of classified documents and digital devices from the Department of State
Penalty: 1 year in prison
This is the top ten list that Political Insider could come up with. None of these examples involved storage or transmission of classified information without knowing it was classified, and several were dismissed.