WASHINGTON -- FBI Director James B. Comey used the softest word in the dictionary to criticize Hillary Clinton for sending classified information through her unsecured home computer system.
Comey's report to the Justice Department said the FBI uncovered repeated cases where, as secretary of state, Clinton sent messages on her email system in reckless disregard for the "top-secret," "very sensitive" and "highly classified" information that could have, and may have, fully exposed America's highest national security secrets to our enemies.
So how did Comey describe Clinton's irresponsible, grossly negligent and, some might say, criminal behavior? Well, he said, as the guardian of our nation's most sensitive secrets, she was "careless," even "extremely careless" in her mishandling of classified material.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines "careless" as "free from care," "untroubled," "indifferent" and, brace yourself, "unconcerned," and maybe even a bit "negligent."
Surely, Comey could have used a far more accurate, and legally applicable, term to describe Clinton's misdeeds. He certainly understands the laws that would apply to Clinton's actions. And he flatly says so in his FBI report that dug into whether "there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on (her) personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way."
Clearly, the woman who aspires to the highest office in the land, who would have knowledge of and daily access to our government's most critical national security secrets, sent and received such information on her own private email system.
"For example," Comey said in his report, "seven email chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending emails about those matters and receiving emails from others about the same matters."
"There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation," Comey said.
"In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence community at the time it was discussed on email ..." he added.
None of these top-secret emails "should have been on any kind of unclassified system," like the one installed in Clinton's home. Such indiscriminate handling of material "is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found" at departments and agencies throughout the government, Comey said.
Nor was Comey buying Clinton's repeated excuses that the information she openly discussed in her emails was not marked as "classified." Even "if information is not marked 'classified' in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it," he said.
Of the 30,000 emails that Clinton returned to the State Department, 110 were "determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received." Eight contained "Top Secret" information at the time they were sent, 36 contained "Secret" information and eight contained "Confidential" information.
About 2,000 additional emails were "up-classified" to "Confidential." Among several thousand other emails that were deleted, a few were recovered and were found to be classified, secret or confidential.
There were other damaging consequences from Clinton's incredibly stupid actions that have drawn little news media coverage.
Clinton "also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries," Comey said.
He added, ominously, that "it is possible hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal email account," and thus obtained the top-secret, confidential, highly sensitive information she transmitted during the four years she ran the State Department.
Comey says there were thousands of other emails the FBI was unable to read because Clinton deemed them to be "personal" and destroyed them.
In an unusual departure at the end of the FBI's months-long investigation, Comey took it upon himself to tell his boss, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, that there were no grounds on which to prosecute Clinton for her many transgressions.
"(We) did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information ..." he concluded.
But to a large degree, Comey's detailed report convicts Clinton on a number of counts that are going to hound her from now until Election Day.
She risked exposing top-secret information and other classified foreign policy details to our foreign enemies. She lied repeatedly to the American people about the nature of her emails and sought to cover up the damaging information they contained. "I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email," she said throughout 2015 and this year, too.
The electorate will render its political verdict on Nov. 8.