‘Handing out immunity deals like candy’: Ex-NSA analyst says FBI probe of Clinton emails was never serious

by WorldTribune Staff, September 25, 2016

The FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information via her private email server was a sham from the get-go, a former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst said.

“From the moment the EmailGate scandal went public more than a year ago, it was obvious that the Federal Bureau of Investigation never had much enthusiasm for prosecuting Hillary Clinton or her friends,” John Schindler, a former NSA analyst and counterintelligence officer, wrote in an opinion piece for Observer.com on Sept. 25.

FBI Director James Comey. /Melissa Golden/Redux
FBI Director James Comey. /Melissa Golden/Redux

The FBI of Director James Comey under President Barack Obama “grew so politicized that it became impossible for the Bureau to do its job – at least where high-ranking Democrats are concerned.”

Schindler said the FBI’s probe was destined to fail from the beginning since “key players in the scandal” had already been granted immunity.

“Now it turns out the FBI granted immunity to much bigger fish in the Clinton political tank. Three more people got a pass from the Bureau in exchange for their cooperation: Hillary lawyer Heather Samuelson, State Department IT boss John Bental, and – by far the most consequential – Cheryl Mills, who has been a Clinton flunky-cum-factotum for decades.”

“No wonder they (FBI) couldn’t prosecute a case,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee. “They were handing out immunity deals like candy.”

Mills served as the State Department’s Chief of Staff and Counselor throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

“Granting her immunity in EmailGate, given her deep involvement in that scandal – including the destruction of tens of thousands of emails so they could not be handed over to the FBI – now seems curious, to say the least, particularly because Mills sat in on Hillary’s chat with the Bureau regarding EmailGate,” Schindler wrote.

“Not to mention that Mills has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation in Washington for helping the Clintons dodge investigation after investigation. When Bill and Hillary need a fixer to help them bury the bodies – as they say inside the Beltway – trusty Cheryl Mills has been on call for the last quarter-century.”

Schindler noted that Mills “played a key role in the Whitewater scandal of the 1990s – and so did James Comey. Fully two decades ago, when Comey was a Senate investigator, he tried to get Mills, then deputy counsel to Bill Clinton’s White House, to hand over relevant documents. Mills went full dog-ate-my-homework, claiming that a burglar had taken the files, leading Comey to unavoidably conclude that she was obstructing his investigation. Mills’ cover-up, the Senate investigators assessed, encompassed ‘destruction of documents’ and ‘highly improper’ behavior.”

Schindler continued that “such misconduct is a career-ender for normal people in Washington, but not for Cheryl Mills, who over the last several decades has followed the Clintons everywhere they go. Mills has proven her loyalty to Clinton, Inc. time and again, and that loyalty has been rewarded with a pass on prosecution in EmailGate.”

“To say nothing of the fact that as chief of staff at Foggy Bottom, Mills was in no way functioning as Hillary’s personal lawyer, as Clinton advocates have contended. Even her other title, State Department Counselor, has nothing to do with legal matters, despite the name. That role is traditionally assigned to an esteemed foreign policy guru who is supposed to offer sage counsel to the secretary of state. Mills’ predecessor as Counselor was Eliot Cohen, one of the country’s preeminent scholars of international relations. Leave it to the Clintons to turn that job over to one of their trusted cabal, translating Counselor in mafia fashion as consigliere.”

Granting immunity to Bryan Pagliano, Hillary Clinton’s “IT guru” who set up her email and private server, “made some sense since he understands what happened here, technically speaking, and otherwise is a small fish,” Schindler wrote. “The wisdom of giving him a pass now seems debatable, though, since Pagliano has twice refused to testify before Congress about his part in EmailGate, blowing off subpoenas. Just this week the House Oversight Committee recommended that Pagliano be cited for contempt of Congress for his repeated no-shows. That vote was on strictly partisan lines, with not a single Democrat on the committee finding Pagliano’s ignoring of Congressional subpoenas to be worthy of censure.”

The FBI’s immunity deals for “bigger fish,” however, has many observers of the scandal incensed.

“The whole thing stinks,” one retired FBI senior official said. “This was impossible in my time, unthinkable.”

“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, 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 wrote.

Schindler also hit on the recent revelation that Obama was using an alias in communications with Hillary Clinton via personal email.

“The alias he used with Hillary, and apparently others, was withheld by the FBI, and let it be said the fact that the president wanted to disguise his identity in unclassified email is not all that odd,” Schindler wrote.

“What is odd, however, is the fact that Obama previously told the media that he only learned of Hillary’s irregular email and server arrangements from ‘news reports.’ How the president failed to notice that he was emailing his top diplomat at her personal, clintonmail.com address, not a state.gov account, particularly when they were discussing official business, is something Congress may want to find out – since certainly the FBI won’t.”

Winning in November now “may be a legal necessity” to protect Clinton from future prosecution, Schindler concluded.

“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.”