Patterico's Pontifications


When the FBI Cared About Classified Information on Home Computers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

Remember John Deutch? He had secrets on a home computer:

Former CIA director John M. Deutch publicly apologized yesterday for mishandling top-secret information on unsecure home computers, saying he never intended to violate security rules and believes none of the information was compromised.

“The director of central intelligence is not above the rules,” a contrite Deutch told reporters after testifying behind closed doors for 2 1/2 hours before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “I very much regret my errors.”

Deutch was about to be prosecuted by DoJ when Bubba Clinton pardoned him.

This guy was prosecuted and was not pardoned (i.e. he is a little, unimportant guy) for keeping classified information on a home computer:

Bryan H. Nishimura, 50, of Folsom, pleaded guilty today to unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman immediately sentenced Nishimura to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine, and forfeiture of personal media containing classified materials. Nishimura was further ordered to surrender any currently held security clearance and to never again seek such a clearance.

According to court documents, Nishimura was a Naval reservist deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. In his role as a Regional Engineer for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Nishimura had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers. Nishimura, however, caused the materials to be downloaded and stored on his personal, unclassified electronic devices and storage media. He carried such classified materials on his unauthorized media when he traveled off-base in Afghanistan and, ultimately, carried those materials back to the United States at the end of his deployment. In the United States, Nishimura continued to maintain the information on unclassified systems in unauthorized locations, and copied the materials onto at least one additional unauthorized and unclassified system.

The press release says: “The investigation did not reveal evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel.”

One rule for the little guy, another for the Important People.

I’m still confused about how deliberately setting up a private system for communication, including routinely sending and receiving classified information up to and including top secret information, is not “intent” to move that information from its proper place of custody. I’m also baffled as to when gross negligence was written out of the statute, or how “extremely careless” is different from being grossly negligent.

Ultimately, Comey’s inaction is the criminal referral analogue to John Roberts’s decision upholding ObamaCare. Someone with a reputation as a good guy had a failure of nerve when it mattered most, and elevated their judgment about the practical consequences to their institution over the rule of law. Weak people act differently when their actions are the subject of intense public scrutiny. They cave, and find ways to rationalize actions that minimize criticism rather than vindicate principles.

I think a central question in any job interview should be: when have you ever taken a large risk or sacrificed something for a principle?

But then, people like that don’t tend to rise to the top.

56 Responses to “When the FBI Cared About Classified Information on Home Computers”

  1. That this is disappointing does not mean it was not predictable. It was.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  2. well deutsch had to render his service to schlumberger and total, that’s the important thing,

    other details left out of the picture,

    narciso (732bc0)

  3. I’ve worked with classified info of varying levels for 35 years. Most of that was as an enlisted guy. Many of us felt that the rules were different for senior officers and there were plenty of cases to point to – most never made prime time news. Even Petraeus was given a bit of a pass in that he was not punished by changing his retirement rank to that of a three star – and cost him 30K a year in retirement (from the public info he was not sharing Special access info). Nothing like consequences to remind the “little people” that actions have consequences.
    What Hillary did would be jail time for anyone else.
    The good news is that 99% of the military (officer and enlisted) own up to their actions and believe that the security of the country matters that much to them.

    The reaction to Hillary is actually kind of surprising in a good way although I don’t think they quite understand just how bad the release of special access info really is.
    Maybe more people than not care about accountability and fairness and there is hope yet for the country.

    vor2 (494009)

  4. I remember. NCIS, too. Once more.

    So. When. That apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Steve57 (ecac13)

  5. the fbi lol

    so cute

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  6. The ripe turd floats on top in the democrat commode. (gif)

    Hey! How about a courtesy flush, America.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  7. Who does “Joe the plumber” endorse?

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  8. I was thinking the same thing about courage and reputation. He threw his away like Lynch, Roberts. Remember the resignations after The Saturday night massacre? Where is the same courage today?

    Everybody is a great singer in the shower. 🙂

    Patricia (a26740)

  9. God Damn Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner, Loretta Lynch, Elijah Cummings, Jeh Johnson, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Ben Rhodes, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, John Koskinen, and every other Democrat lickspittle undermining the freedom and liberty of the American people. Let the devil take them all.

    ropelight (596f46)

  10. Yeah, right, Obama was going to appoint Ashcroft’s No. 2 (that’s Comey) as Director of the FBI if he wasn’t 100% certain that Comey will always prove to be a No. 2.

    nk (dbc370)

  11. When Bill Clinton was impeached by the House it was said of the Republican Senate leadership that, knowing that they could never get their Democrat colleagues to vote to remove Clinton from office, their entire purpose was to go through the motions of a trial and then have the show-vote with the pre-determined outcome. It seems that perhaps Comey was in the same situation. Knowing that it would be a political can of worms that would embroil him for the entire summer and fall if he recommended an indictment, he knew his entire purpose was to heavily criticize what she had done but come up just short of recommending prosecution. Mission accomplished, I guess.

    JVW (eabb2a)

  12. well if he couldn’t do it, then step down, but he was mark felt, from a certain point of view,

    narciso (732bc0)

  13. What is the benefit of delivering a recommendation for prosecution to an utterly corrupt DoJ which would refuse to act upon it? Comey provided a sack full of political slings and arrows which could be used very effectively by a political opponent of marginal competence. He may provide even more with his testimony to Congress but it won’t make much difference considering her opponents fascination with sheriff’s stars and the rehabilitation of Saddam Hussein’s public image through claims he fought against terrorism when he actually financed terrorists.

    The FBI director clearly marked himself as an opponent of the next President. He could resign but I would prefer he remain – at the top of her enemies list.

    Rick Ballard (ddb240)

  14. a political opponent of marginal competence

    Is that not the definition of James Comey, John Roberts, the Congress that didn’t impeach Bill?

    I seen lately they deride Trump as reckless.

    Recklessness in the application of law is a feature. Not a bug.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  15. Recklessness in the application of law is a feature. Not a bug.

    Jeeze, paper tiger, tell that to Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, or any other Texas Republican who was ensnared by the aggressive and partisan prosecutor in Austin. Tell that to the six Baltimore cops who have been put up for show trials. Tell that to the Duke Lacrosse team from ten years ago. I’m pretty sure you don’t mean “recklessness,” even though that’s the adjective that’s been freely applied to your candidate.

    JVW (eabb2a)

  16. There’s a difference between reckless and targeted.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  17. enemy action is the word, prosecutorial malpractice, is such a mouthful, but it doesn’t really matter even if you lose the case, ask angela corey, as long as your subject is crushed,

    narciso (732bc0)

  18. #11, JVW, Comey didn’t have to make a recommendation. He could have, and should have, sent the FBI’s investigation results to the Department of Justice and let the proper authorities decide to prosecute or not. That’s the way our federal justice system is supposed to work: the FBI investigates crimes and the DOJ prosecuted offenders.

    Comey could have held the same press conference, made the same observations about Hillary’s criminal infractions, and walked away clean. Instead he made a recommendation he didn’t have to make and it tied an Albatross around his neck.

    ropelight (596f46)

  19. Assuming, of course, that Comey was acting on his own without the Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of his wife and children.

    ropelight (596f46)

  20. But then, people like that [principled] don’t tend to rise to the top.

    Or so weak-minded people convince themselves when Mephistopheles comes calling. And as they rise, they select similarly weak-minded individuals as subordinates. They become Mephisto as their powers increase. Repeat for two generations and you have the DC Cartel.

    Behold! Sodom and Gomorrah! With QE beckoning for ever. It pay$ to have friends in high place$.

    And our public schools hold up Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie as robber barons. It’s a sleight of hand trick.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  21. Here’s an excerpt Patricia McCarthy at The American Thinker July 7, 2016:

    Our government is officially a crime syndicate

    …No one should be shocked by this turn of events. Just as John Roberts upended the Constitution to proclaim Obamacare legal, just as Eric Holder refused to prosecute the Black Panthers for voter intimidation or turn over Fast and Furious documents, just as Comey declined to prosecute Lois Lerner for her many, many crimes, the men and women of position in D.C. long ago sold their souls for the power to preserve each other’s power, no matter what crimes they commit in furtherance of their personal agendas and greed. This is how they roll, all of them. People who challenge this status quo, like Ted Cruz, are relentlessly maligned by an unprincipled media who in mind-numbed fashion effectively destroy any persons of character who wander onto their playground. (It was Ted Cruz who said, “Hillary embodies the corruption of Washington.” She does indeed.)

    For months, the punditry on both sides of the ideological divide has been touting Comey’s impartiality, his commitment to the law. They said he is a “straight shooter.” So much for their misplaced faith in his character. Like most everyone else with substantial political power in D.C., he has abused his.

    We can now conclude that the FBI is as politicized as the DOJ. (Just what did Bill Clinton say to Loretta Lynch that day?) Now we know for sure that neither agency can be trusted to uphold the law.

    ropelight (596f46)

  22. There is a reason that bearing false witness was on the list of 10 given to Moses.
    I believe Jeremiah cried out about everyone dealing deceitfully with their neighbor.
    It’s not good to be in the company of Jeremiah’s hearers.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  23. Recklessness means you yell out “OVER THE LINE!” looking at the foot, before you look up to see whose leg it’s attached to.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  24. #11, JVW, Comey didn’t have to make a recommendation. He could have, and should have, sent the FBI’s investigation results to the Department of Justice and let the proper authorities decide to prosecute or not.

    I seriously doubt that he would have held that press conference had he decided to pass the buck to the DoJ. That would have made it look worse, as if he believed that she should be charged but he lacks the cojones to come out and say it directly. And let’s face it: those of us who are flaying at him today (justifiably so) for choosing not to prosecute would be flaying at him all the same had he passed along his findings without a recommendation. I think Comey did the job as he was supposed to do it, he just reached a compromised and cowardly decision.

    JVW (eabb2a)

  25. it just underscores how the fbi is a sleazy and corrupt whipped dog agency with no backbone courage or moral authority

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  26. W was going to change the tone in dc so he did not replace all of wjc’s appointments. For that reason we have had almost 24 years of lawlessness in government. What can we expect when leaders are elected on the basis of their skin color and not on the basis of their qualifications or character. W missed a chance to break the chain and instead contributed to the problem.

    Jim (a9b7c7)

  27. Comey is a white guy, Jim. Not sure what point you’re trying to make.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  28. yes yes he is SUCH a white guy

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  29. This really pisses me off. I lost 3 jobs during my working years because I wouldn’t put up with improper actions at nuclear facilities. I was blacklisted within one company because as an auditor, I did my job too damn well, apparently. finding violations of federal regulations during testing. And these people continue to get away with crap for which we rubes would go to jail. Rape, corruption and violations of national security warrant no punishment for them.

    amr (af01c4)

  30. Rick Ballard (ddb240) — 7/6/2016 @ 9:40 am

    The FBI director clearly marked himself as an opponent of the next President. He could resign but I would prefer he remain – at the top of her enemies list.

    No, he’s not an opponent, any more than Louis Freeh was. He’s thrown in is lot with the Democratic Party, and probably did some time ago.

    The FBI hasn’t bene non-political ever since Bill Clinton fired the FBI Director, William Sessions, on July 19, 1993, on trumped up ethics charges which he did not dare to mention in his public pronouncements as his reason for firing him, but which was the only thing that gave him the right to fire the FBI Director. Clinton said the FBI Director and his subrdinates were not getting along and that’s why he fired him.

    The charges, which were for things like keeping a gun in his car, which he had told by underlings to keep, were filed in the last days of the Bush Administration. This was so
    that they couldn’t be dismissed by the Bush Administration, but it would look like Clinton had nothing to do with it. Look ma, no hands!! But Clinton was in league with the cabal in the top ranks of the FBI that got rid of Sessions and he used them to kill the Branch Davidians (which he needed to do to protect J. William Buford, head of the BATF in Little Rock)

    Clinton let Sessions stay in place during the Waco siege but made sure he could not interfere with it. Clinton attempted to get Sessions to leave voluntarily, but he refused to resign, even with a sweetener, and finally he was fired.

    Sammy Finkelman (88f52d)

  31. Bill Clinton fired the FBI Director, William Sessions, on July 19, 1993

    Which, coincidentally, was the day before Vincent Foster was murdered.

    ropelight (596f46)

  32. It’s rather amusing listing to Hillary rant against the ethics and persona of Trump now. Multiple secret servers. Even Nixon only had two R2R tape recorders. She learned nothing from the 90’s. Can’t manage her family, can’t manage her job.

    Thanks to Comey, I’m voting for Trump.

    Yeah, it’s like putting WC Fields or PT Barnum in the White House, but at least he’ll be entertaining.

    DCSCA (a343d5)

  33. Coincidence?!

    I think… so.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  34. July 18, 1993 was also the day that Sergei Y Vozovikov, Russian major/cosmonaut, died in an accident at age 35.


    Where was Rafael Cruz, Sr. on July 18, 1993, is what I wanna know.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  35. Make yourself clear, Leviticus.

    Steve57 (ecac13)

  36. But it is very important to vote against that clown Trump. Let’s keep our priorities straight.

    fred-2 (ce04f3)

  37. I’m disappointed to not see happyfeet’s take on this. Is he okay?

    fred-2 (ce04f3)

  38. I already said I would rather vote for the clown rather the criminal.

    Steve57 (ecac13)

  39. Since Slick Willy fired FBI Director Sessions on July 19th and his successor (Louis Freeh) wouldn’t be confirmed till Spetember 1st, it was convenient to have the Park Police standing by to investigate the murder of Vince Foster.

    ropelight (596f46)

  40. I am totally not proud of myself.

    Steve57 (ecac13)

  41. Maybe it didn’t do it for you, but Comey clearing Hillary did it for me.

    Steve57 (ecac13)

  42. as harry pierce says on mi-5,* ‘if needs must

    the somewhat pc uk version of 24.

    narciso (732bc0)


    DCSCA (a343d5)

  44. my take right now

    it seems weird how harvardtrash pervert Mitt Romney, who fancies himself the head of the Republican Party and who’s never at a loss for a snooty quip about the Republican nominee (Mr. Trump), didn’t see fit to even comment on stinkypig’s good fortune

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  45. Nigel Farage – The Worm Has Turned (YouTube)

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  46. Eddie Noack –The Worm Has Turned (YouTube)

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  47. Platoon – Then the worm has definitely turned for you, man. (YouTube)

    Welcome to the underworld, Steve.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  48. Go ahead, try the “extremely careless” defense on your next Federal income tax filing. I bet the IRS will let you off – if you are important enough.

    David (6f3506)

  49. worked for sleazy Timmy Geithner

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. Since Slick Willy fired FBI Director Sessions on July 19th and his successor (Louis Freeh) wouldn’t be confirmed till Spetember 1st, it was convenient to have the Park Police standing by to investigate the murder of Vince Foster.

    ropelight (596f46) — 7/6/2016 @ 4:05 pm

    The FBI director personally investigates everything?

    Gerald A (945582)

  51. Trump should be saying “extremely careless” twenty times per stump speech.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  52. “including routinely sending and receiving classified information up to and including top secret information”

    Top Secret, Special Access Program

    Denver Guy (09f80c)

  53. There is one obvious reason why Comey flinched.

    If he recommended indictment, Donald Trump would probably be elected President.

    I don’t say that’s a sufficient reason for letting Clinton off, but it’s a powerful consideration.

    As bad as Clinton is, there is evidence that Trump would be even worse. If Clinton is a monster of arrogance, who assumes she is above the law, and is careless and irresponsible – Trump seems just the same or more so. He is clearly more erratic and impulsive.

    Clinton is at least a known evil.

    Rich Rostrom (d2c6fd)

  54. I should add that I don’t agree – I’m only saying that Comey’s position is understandable.

    Also, the scandal and rebuke might chasten Clinton, and make her more responsible, whereas Trump hasn’t learned anything yet.

    Rich Rostrom (d2c6fd)

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