On Sept. 2, the FBI released a lengthy explanation of its investigation of Hillary Clinton and a summary of the evidence amassed against her. It also released a summary of Clinton’s July FBI interrogation.
The interrogation was in some respects standard and in others very troubling. It was standard in that she was confronted with emails she had sent or received and was asked whether she recalled them, and her judgment about them was challenged. The FBI was looking for gross negligence in her behavior about securing state secrets.
The failure to secure state secrets that have been entrusted to one for safe keeping is known as espionage, and espionage is the rare federal crime that does not require prosecutors to prove the defendant’s intent. They need only prove the defendant’s gross negligence.
At one point during the interrogation, FBI agents attempted to trick her, as the law permits them to do. Before the interrogation began, agents took the hard copy of an innocuous email Clinton had sent to an aide and marked it “secret.” Then, at her interrogation, they asked Clinton whether she recognized the email and its contents. She said she did not recognize it, but she questioned the “secret” denomination and pointed out to the agents that nothing remotely secret was in the email.