Tuesday, 1 September, 2015 – 05:58
There’s a serious problem in Financial Crime Risk Management and Compliance: the lack of precision in language means no one knows where they stand.
We can demonstrate it with reference to how a Hillary Clinton supporter, a prosecutor no less, by failing to use precise and correct language, has in fact shown, if her version of events is correct, Clinton’s malfeasance and culpability.
“Anne Tompkin describes herself as the former US attorney for the Western district of North Carolina and said she oversaw the prosecution [of then CIA Director,] Gen. David Petraeus. “The key element that distinguishes Secretary Clinton’s email retention practices from Petraeus’ sharing of classified information is that Petraeus knowingly engaged in unlawful conduct, and that was the basis of his criminal liability.”
This is not sufficiently precise: first, it is diversionary – the issue facing Hillary Clinton is not that she “retained” emails but that she ran a private e-mail server, “clintonemail.com,” in breach of US Government rules which require those in her position to ensure that all official (i.e. work related) e-mail is sent and received exclusively from and by government servers.
Secondly, Clinton clearly knew she was using her own mail server, not that provided by the government. So her conduct was wilful. Did she know it was illegal? It doesn’t matter because Clinton makes much of her background as a lawyer. It therefore ill-becomes either her or her prosecutor-supporter to argue ignorance of the law as a defence. There is a difference between “unlawful” and “illegal.” Unlawful is a breach of a third party’s civil rights; illegal is criminal conduct. A prosecutor should know the difference and use the correct word.