It depends on the meaning of “review”

In one of his periodic briefings for reporters, FBI Director James Comey was asked about Hillary Clinton’s characterization of the FBI’s work on matters related to her private email server as a li’l old “security review” or “security inquiry.” Josh Gerstein reports:

Clinton and her team have made a point of not describing the FBI’s work as an “investigation,” but alternately as a “security review” or “security inquiry.” They’ve also noted that the issue was referred to the FBI not as a criminal matter but as an intelligence breach.

However, in response to a question Wednesday, Comey said he wasn’t familiar with the term “security inquiry” that Clinton and her aides have used. The FBI chief said he considers the work agents are doing to be an “investigation.”

“It’s in our name. I’m not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry’,'” the director said.

However, he passed up the chance to repeat a reporter’s characterization of it as a “criminal” probe.

On the last point, however, the FBI’s own site notes that the FBI investigates crimes (and provides a list of categories):

The very heart of FBI operations lies in our investigations—which serve, as our mission states, “to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States.” We currently have jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal law, and you can find the major ones below, grouped within our national security and criminal priorities. Also visit our Intelligence program site, which underpins and informs all our investigative programs.

Why wouldn’t Comey concede that his many agents devoted to the case are conducting a criminal investigation? We can only speculate.


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