Clinton's "careless" email use not a crime, but could still damage campaign

Did Clinton Get Special Treatment?

FBI Director James Comey said on Tuesday that he does not recommend charges for Hillary Clinton in her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Despite his statement, Comey said Clinton and her staff "should have known that an unclassified system" was no place for many of those e-mails. More than 100 were, in fact, classified at the time they were sent.

So why isn't that a crime?

Special report: FBI recommends no charges in Clinton email probe

"Director Comey's bottom line seems to be that just because you may have been extremely careless or you should have known better, that doesn't necessarily mean that you've committed a crime," said Jan Crawford, CBS News' chief legal correspondent.

"The law says it is a felony to mishandle classified information intentionally or in a grossly negligent way," she explained.

Some have drawn comparisons between former CIA Director David Petraeus, who gave eight binders full of classified information to his girlfriend and biographer.

"Historically, prosecutors have required something more to bring charges, something like intentional or deliberate mishandling of classified info," Crawford said. "Petraeus knew it was classified, he told her it was. That is the kind of level of intent and knowledge that we've seen in these past cases."

But a lack of charges or criminal wrong-doing doesn't mean that Clinton won't be facing any political fallout.

Dickerson: Clinton email contradictions leave much for voters to ponder

"The Clinton campaign says the matter is resolved, but the FBI director undermined a lot of what Clinton has said about her private server during the campaign," said CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

For example, Clinton said she didn't send any emails that were classified, but Comey said more than 100 were. Clinton also said her staff was careful, but the FBI said they were "extremely careless."

"[Comey] also said a number of work emails were not turned over, undermining Secretary Clinton's claims of transparency," said Dickerson.

Dickerson explained there are two qualities to look for in a trusting president: How will they behave when no one is looking? And will they be truthful when everyone is looking?

"Clinton's answers after [the server] was disclosed have not stood the test of examination," said Dickerson. "So on those two fronts, voters will have a lot that has been left unresolved."