A former top military intelligence official to President Obama said Hillary Clinton should step out of the 2016 presidential race due to the amount of resources and manpower required to conduct the private email investigation that could be put to better use.
"It's been stated that there are 100 FBI agents that are on this case. And yet we have the FBI director that has told us that all 50 states, we have Islamic State cases ongoing," said retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Friday to CNN's Jake Tapper.
"And I know the FBI is just overwhelmed with white-collar crime, child pornography cases, transnational organized criminal cases, as well as the Islamic State. And now we have to put another hundred agents on this case of Hillary Clinton?", Flynn added, further explaining his position that Clinton should "step down," which he first told the Daily Caller in an interview published earlier this week.
"If she were to step down, the nation would allow itself to back down a little bit, and let this investigation run its course, with her not in the lime light and making this such a big big deal," Flynn said. "I really do believe that the severity and the number of resources that are applied — despite what the outcome is — I just think the lack of accountability frankly, and a person who should have been much more responsible in her actions as the secretary of state of the United States of America."
"Jake, if it were me I would have been out the door and probably in jail," Flynn added.
In January, former U.S. attorney Joseph DiGenova told the Washington Examiner that he was told 150 agents were working on the FBI's reported investigation into Clinton's private server that she used during her time as secretary of state, expanded into looking for "public corruption" at the Clinton Foundation in its involvement with the State Department. He said that it was "a very unusually high number" of investigators to be working on a single case.
An FBI official acknowledged the existence of the probe this week, in a letter filed in federal court.
Flynn also noted that "the severity of the leaks of the classified materials," warranted Clinton's removal from the race for the White House. "Leaked in terms of being passed," he continued. "It's in the public domain now because it was on a private server that's available to China, Russia and now what we're seeing in the open domain."
Though Flynn admitted he has no evidence that a foreign nation hacked her server, he said countries like China and Russia have hacked high-level U.S. government targets in the past.
Tapper also mentioned that Clinton and her supporters have repeatedly said the issue over her private server is one of over-classification, and that some of the emails were classified retroactively.
"Over-classification or not — if it's classified, it's classified. And she knows better, she knew better," Flynn replied. "In the roles that she has had, both as a senator ... even back when she was married to the president of the United States, she was going to have privileged information in that regard, and not only as a secretary of state which is a part of the National Security Council, so she should know better."
"This over-classification excuse, is not an excuse," Flynn said.
Later in the program, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told Tapper that Flynn's suggestion was "just silly," and remarked that similar FBI probes have targeted former secretary Colin Powell and aides to former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice. Neither Powell nor Rice has run for the presidency before.