Comey Had Top Secret Bunker Built In Basement, But Hated Using It
Former FBI Director James Comey had a secure room in his basement so he could work on classified matters, but he said he didn’t use the room much because it got too hot, according to a Department of Justice inspector general report released Thursday.
The bureau installed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), which secures phones, printers and computers.
The FBI had outfitted Comey’s home with a SCIF, which is an access-controlled facility used for review of information derived from intelligences sources or methods referred to as Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). Comey’s home SCIF contained Unclassified, Secret, and Top Secret/SCI enclaves, with a secure printer and a safe, in what Comey described as a ‘very, very small’ windowless closet in his basement, where he said it ‘was always about 110 degrees,’ ” the IG report said.
“Comey said that when he was working at home on unclassified material, for example a speech, he would draft it on his personal laptop, then forward the draft to his FBI account, instead of working in the SCIF (which he described as a ‘sweat box’).”
The Department of Justice’s inspector general report found that Comey’s committed multiple transgressions, at least 25 times in which he violated FBI policies by drafting, leaking and retaining key memos on his discussions with Donald Trump, both when he was president-elect and when he was president.
“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees — and the many thousands more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information,” the report says.
“The bunker came to light when the former FBI director was pressed by DOJ investigators on why he didn’t use the SCIF when writing his infamous memo about dining at the White House on Jan. 27, 2017, when Trump asked Comey for “loyalty,’ ” The New York Post wrote.
Comey said that, after reviewing Memo 2 on his personal laptop on Jan. 28, 2017, he used his personal printer to generate two paper copies (which he referred to as “two originals”), placed handwritten page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of each page, initialed the last page of each original, added a handwritten date (Jan. 28, 2017), and then deleted the electronic file from his personal laptop. Comey explained that he is “a maniac … about hacking of [his] personal devices” and that he is “obsessive” about deleting files from his personal accounts, according to the report from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Asked why, in light of all those concerns, he did not just use the computers available in the SCIF in his basement, Comey said he wasn’t thinking about his memo as belonging to the government, so he used his personal, unclassified laptop. “This is for me,” he thought, according to the report.