Hillary Clinton sent or received classified information 113 times via email on her private, unsecured email server during her time as Secretary of State, the FBI found.
FBI director James Comey revealed the result of the bureau's long investigation into a controversy that has dogged the presidential candidate for the past few years, and it appears to contradict her previous assertions that she did not share confidential emails on a private server.
In a news conference, Comey said the conduct of Clinton and her State Department staff was "careless" and put national secrets at risk, but does not believe a prosecutor should bring charges against her.
The Associated Press reports Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week she would accept the recommendations of Comey and of prosecutors.
Key points from the news conference
- Out of 30,000 emails sent or received by Secretary Clinton which she shared with the FBI in 2014, 110 emails in 52 chains contained classified information.
- Of these, eight email chains contained information that was "top secret," seven of which were top secret at the time they were sent or received.
- A further 36 chains were considered "secret" and the remaining eight were "confidential" – the lowest level of classification.
- Another three classified emails were found from the restoration of thousands of deleted emails from the server.
- Although there's no direct evidence that Clinton's account was hacked, the fact she was using an unsecured, private server rather than the official U.S. government, or a commercial service like Gmail, means it would be difficult to find any evidence if it had been hacked.
- Clinton used the server while in foreign countries, including those home to "sophisticated adversaries" and there is a real possibility that they had access to some of the emails.
- The FBI found no evidence Clinton or her colleagues intentionally deleted emails.
- They also found no evidence Clinton and colleagues intended to violate laws on mishandling classified information.
Politifact reports that during an appearance in Minneapolis last August, Clinton told the audience: "I have said repeatedly that I did not send nor receive classified material, and I’m very confident that when this entire process plays out that will be understood by everyone."
While the recommendation not to charge Clinton is a win for the Democratic nominee and puts an end to continued speculation over her conduct, the findings of the FBI probe will still likely provide fodder for her Republican opponent Donald Trump, who responded shortly after the news conference ended.
Others commented on the impact on November's presidential election.