Former FBI Director James Comey should not have suggested that hackers could have compromised Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report published today.
In his July 5, 2016, statement on the FBI’s investigation into the server that Clinton used while secretary of state, Comey said it was “possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”
The DOJ IG report blasted Comey for this statement, saying he “insinuated that hostile foreign actors may have in fact gained access to former Secretary Clinton’s private email account, based almost entirely on speculation and without any evidence from the … investigation to support his claim.”
That assessment is just one part of a much larger IG investigation that criticizes the former FBI director’s role leading the Clinton investigation ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
According to the report, an FBI forensics told the IG’s office that he was “fairly confident that there wasn’t an intrusion,” and a letterhead memorandum, or LHM, summarizing the FBI’s findings said there was no “evidence confirming that Clinton’s email server systems were compromised by cyber means.”
No public evidence has emerged to indicate that hackers compromised Clinton’s private server, although the FBI did determine that some of the messages she sent from the server were exposed when someone hacked her aides’ personal email accounts.
As secretary of state, Clinton was a top target of foreign government hackers, especially when she traveled to countries with intense domestic surveillance programs, like Russia and China.
In October 2015, former President Barack Obama dismissed criticisms of Clinton’s private server based on cybersecurity concerns, telling CBS, “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.”