Editorial: Hillary Clinton's 'extremely careless' email policy

Hillary Clinton, it appears, will not be indicted criminally for the way she handled her email as secretary of state, but the public indictment of her character implicit in FBI Director James Comey's report on the agency's investigation of her behavior shows she still has a very high bar to overcome to reassure Americans she's ready to be president of the United States.

Two phrases in particular roar in constant echoes from Comey's statement. In one, Comey said Clinton and many of the people she dealt with "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." In the other, he noted that "any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position ... should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation."

"Extremely careless."

Less common sense than "any reasonable person."

These are not characteristics we generally want associated with the person in charge of the nuclear codes, and Clinton can hardly run from them.

Given the findings of the FBI's exhaustive investigation, it will be difficult to impossible for her to suggest the lapses were innocent oversights.

This was the secretary of state of a country involved in countless open and clandestine operations involving worldwide security. Someone whose job affected the safety of 350 million people in her own country alone, Someone who surely must have known that foreign powers and sophisticated enemies were constantly striving to infiltrate her secrets. And yet - ostensibly because she felt insulted and inconvenienced by having to keep her professional and personal emails separated - someone who approached management of her electronic communications with barely more concern than that of an everyday consumer who cavalierly ignores reasonable precautions with management of her credit-card account.

From a purely political point of view, Clinton is fortunate that her most likely opponent for president, Donald Trump, is someone for whom questionable judgment and arrogance have become campaign hallmarks. From the more-important point of view of the nation's - indeed the world's - security and prosperity, she still has much to prove, not least of which are that she is sincerely sorry and that she has learned from this colossal mistake.

Clinton is a person of uncommon accomplishments in public life. Her hope of building them into a credible case for running the country now depends on how well she demonstrates that those, and not her irresponsible management of her electronic communications, are what define her.

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