by David Martosko • Daily Mail Online
The federal Espionage Act includes a provision that criminalizes ‘gross negligence’ by officials charged with safeguarding national defense information.
Separately, the law’s text makes a criminal of any security clearance holder who fails to notify his or her ‘superior officer’ when a breach of security occurs through such negligence.
‘If investigators conclude that the former secretary [Clinton] was criminally careless in how she approached the security of the sensitive documents in her possession, then this part of the law could be used to prosecute her,’ the agent said, on condition of anonymity.
‘”Gross negligence” just means “serious carelessness”,’ he clarified.
His voice became more deliberate and quiet when DailyMail.com asked him to address the notification clause in what is technically known as ’18 USC 793.’
‘The secretary’s superior is the President of the United States,’ the FBI agent noted.
‘So unless he were aware of what she was doing when she was doing it, it seems there could be a legal problem [for her].’
The FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server is focusing on whether she violated the Espionage Act – especially the ‘gross negligence’ portions of the statute – according to a report Thursday from the Fox News Channel.
The law applies to ‘any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense’ – even if it’s not considered ‘classified.’
It calls for a 10-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of ‘gross negligence’ that permits such information to be ‘removed from its proper place.’