A former Justice Department official under two Republican presidents said the department is unlikely to indict Hillary Clinton, in part because the agency may be afraid to lose.

Ronald Sievert wrote in USA Today that as many suspect, politics is a big reason why the Obama administration's Justice Department is unlikely to pull the trigger on Clinton.

"[P]olitical appointees who make the final decisions will at least unconsciously be searching for ways to evaluate the case in a way that would evade an obvious debacle for the Democratic Party," he wrote.

But Sievert, who worked under the administrations of Reagan and George H.W. Bush, also said that institutionally, Justice has always taken its time with these sorts of cases.

"Justice has not always had a reputation for being strong and aggressive, especially in the face of an intimidating defense," he wrote.

"What a DA will indict in a week, and a U.S. Attorney in a month, will take Justice more than a year if they ever pull the trigger at all," he added. "They tend to be hamstrung by endless memos, briefs, meetings and approvals from multiple levels and divisions."

"There sometimes appears to be an institutional fear of losing, however minimal the chance," Sievert wrote. "This is an endemic characteristic of many bureaucracies."

Several reports have said the FBI is looking to interview Clinton and her aides about her use of a non-secure email system, and that the FBI wants to bring charges against Clinton. But Sievert said Justice is most likely working now to "avoid applying the plain language of the law to Hillary Clinton."