The State Department decided to reopen its review of the case after the FBI completed their inquiry, at the end of which Bureau Director James Comey announced that he would not bring criminal charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Clinton, for sending classified materials using a private email server located in her New York home. Comey stated that, while the former First Lady was "extremely careles" with sensitive materials, the evidence did not prove intent.
State’s investigation will include not only Clinton, but several aides who have since left the employ of the State Department. The potential of a guilty finding by the department isn’t quite as serious as an FBI indictment. The worst possible punishment would be the revoking of security clearance, which would be all but impossible to impose on the candidate, should she win the presidency. Such a loss could, however, prevent her from placing any implicated members of her staff in high-level positions in the White House.
Sanctions leveled against her aides would also be a useful tool in the hands of Clinton’s hardline right-wing Republican enemies.
Partisan lines around the controversy are very sharply drawn. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) commented that, "Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent," adding that "the findings of this investigation also make clear that Secretary Clinton misled the American people when she was confronted with her criminal actions." Her chief rival for the presidency, Donald Trump, tweeted "Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow!"
Former CIA Operations Officer John Kiriakou told Sputnik he was "sickened" by Comey’s decision and that possible sanctioning by the State Department would merely be “window dressing.”
"While it sounds nice that she might face sanctions, there’s no way that will happen," he said.
Kiriakou told Sputnik that he doesn’t believe that Clinton will face sanctions because, "In four weeks she’s going to be getting access to the most highly-classified information that the United States has." Kiriakou does think, however, that her former aides are in danger of losing their clearance.
After Comey’s testimony clarifying his position on the emails, the Clinton campaign published a press release saying:
"Director Comey’s testimony clearly knocked down a number of false Republican talking points and reconciled apparent contradictions between his previous remarks and Hillary Clinton’s public statements. The Director’s explanations shut the door on any remaining conspiracy theories once and for all. While Republicans may try to keep this issue alive, this hearing proved those efforts will only backfire."
John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, promised a fast and efficient review. "We will aim to be as expeditious as possible, but we will not put artificial deadlines on the process." He also said the former officials can still face "administrative sanctions." These sanctions could include warnings and counseling.