WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey says the FBI does not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton in the use of her private email servers while she was secretary of state.
"Although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view, that no charges are appropriate in this case," said Comey.
The announcement comes three days after FBI agents interviewed Clinton in a final step of the investigation.
"Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system in violation of a federal statute that makes it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way," said Comey.
The investigation also looked into possible violation of a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities. Investigators also looked for evidence of computer intrusion by nation states or hostile actors.
Investigators spent thousands of hours investigating the emails and servers.
The FBI says investigators read all of the approximately 30,000 emails Clinton handed over to the State Department in 2014.
The agency found of those 30,000 emails 110 emails in 51 email chains contained classified information at the time they were sent or received.
Eight of those contained information that was considered top secret at the time they were sent. 36 contained secret information at the time. Eight contained confidential information at the time, the lowest level of classification.
Two thousand additional emails were up-classified to make them confidential after the time they were sent or received.
The FBI says it also discovered several thousand emails that were not a part of the 30,000 handed over to the State Department. Three of those were deemed classified at the time they were received or sent. One at the secret level and two at the confidential level.
Comey said there was no evidence the additional emails had been deleted intentionally. They are believed to have been deleted as routine in the course of maintaining her account, switching devices and some may have been inadvertently marked personal by her attorneys.
"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive information," said Comey.
According to the FBI, seven email chains concerned matters classified as 'top secret, special access program' at the time they were sent and received.
"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," said Comey.
Comey says in looking back it previous cases involving the mishandling of classifications, the agency can not find a case that would support bringing criminal charges against Clinton.
"All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information, or vast quantities of information exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct, or indications of disloyalty to the United States or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here," said Comey.
The case is now in the hands of the Justice Department.
During the investigation, the FBI says it also found the security culture of the State Department was generally lacking in the kind of care found elsewhere in the federal government.
Comey says the agency found no evidence Clinton's personal email was hacked successfully during her tenure as secretary of state.
A spokesman for Clinton says the campaign is pleased with the findings and says it was a 'mistake' for Clinton to use the private email.