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Joshua Rovner in Washington Post: This is why the push for transparency may have cost Clinton the election

Washington Post

Originally Posted: November 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton thinks James B. Comey cost her the presidency.

Eleven days before the election, the FBI director informed congressional leaders that newly discovered information might be relevant to the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. That inquirywas never formally closed, but months earlier, Comey made it clear that he would not seek prosecution. His new message was vague but provocative, and the campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump immediately used it to reinforce its claim that the email story was “worse than Watergate.”

At the time Clinton was surging in the polls, and Trump’s campaign seemed to be imploding under the weight of poor debate performances and accusations of sexual assault. Some observers argue that Comey’s intervention stopped the decline and reduced Clinton’s national lead by up to three points. Although it is impossible to prove causation, the letter may have depressed turnout on her behalf. Late-deciding voters broke for Trump in large numbers.

Comey’s action led to anger from the Clinton campaign and calls for his resignation from the left and the right. But the underlying story is not just about Comey or the FBI. Instead, it is about the perverse consequences of government transparency, and the fraught relationship between national security and the demands of democracy. READ MORE