(National Sentinel)Â The Memos: Legal expert and attorney Robert Barnes explained in a series of tweets this week that there is “probable cause” to suspect that fired FBI Director James Comey could be guilty of criminal espionage, which carries a 10-year prison sentence.
Barnes made his analysis in the context of Comey’s admitted leaks of four memos — at least one of which has been deemed classified — to a friend in 2017, who then leaked them to the media.
“THREAD: As explained on
@foxnewsnight w/ @ShannonBream, there is probable cause @Comey committed CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE against Trump when he leaked #ComeyMemos. The law punishes espionage w/ a 10 year federal prison sentence & can be found at 18 USC 793(f),” he began in a tweet containing a link to the relative statute at Cornell School of Law’s website.
2/ Contrary to what you may hear, a person can be convicted of CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE even if they do not leak classified material & even if they only remove, but do not share, national security information. Criminal Espionage laws were written before we had a classification system.
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) April 24, 2018
“Contrary to what you may hear, a person can be convicted of CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE even if they do not leak classified material & even if they only remove, but do not share, national security information. Criminal Espionage laws were written before we had a classification system,” he continued.
Barnes explained further that the burden of proof for a charge of criminal espionage only requires that someone in government entrusted with “national defense-related” information remove it from its rightful place “or disclose that information to an unauthorized person in either an intentional act” or because of “gross negligence” — that latter a legal term that Comey had rewritten to say “extremely careless” in his July 2017 statement exonerating Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified emails.
“The courts have defined ‘national defense related’Â information very broadly in the seminal Supreme Court case of Gorin v. United States, effectively deferring to the judgment of the jury as to what constitutes national defense related information,” Barnes explained further.
“Some courts limited the Criminal Espionage statute to information which is ‘potentially dangerous’ to disclose to national security and ‘closely held’ information. That same court also said the information did not have to ever be classified for it to be a crime to disclose it,” he wrote.
The key, Barnes added, is that in order for the fired FBI director to have classified his memos as either “confidential” or “secret,” he would have admitted that the memos he wrote were indeed the property of the federal government, making their disclosure “reasonably expected” to harm national security.
“Now add in: Classified Information NDAÂ @ComeyÂ signed to be FBI Director, his sophisticated longtime use of classified information, his admission that information did not have to be marked classified in the Hillary press conference, and his record prosecuting whistleblowers,” Barnes wrote.
‘NDA’ is an acronym for “non-disclosure agreement,” which he would have been required to sign as a condition of his employment at the bureau. Clinton signed one as well in order to become President Obama’s secretary of state.
“Adds up to one thing: there is probable cause that JamesÂ @ComeyÂ committed CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE when he removed theÂ #ComeyMemosÂ from FBI exclusive control & custody after his firing (the first crime) & then gave them to an unauthorized person (the 2nd crime).Â #MultipleFelonies” Barnes explained.