Guest post by Larry C. Johnson
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I hear that Lionel Ritchie is re-writing one of his legendary pop hits in honor of former FBI Director James Comey. The song starts like this:
He’s once, twice, three times a liar to us.
Sounds like a hit. Seriously, Jim Comey set a new record last December (2019) when the Inspector General for the third time in a two year period excoriated Comey for his utter failure as the leader of America’s supposed premier law enforcement organization.
Here are the links to the three reports.
I want to take you through a brief summary of the Comey low lights. First up was the conduct of the FBI and Comey with respect to the investigation of Hillary Clinton and her illegal storage of classified material on her unclassified servers. Jimmy Comey took it upon himself to deliver what amounted to a public indictment of Clinton and then, with his closing remarks, gave her a pass on being prosecuted. Here’s how Inspector General Horowitz viewed Comey’s behavior:
Comey acknowledged that he made a conscious decision not to tell Department leadership about his plans to make a separate statement because he was concerned that they would instruct him not to do it. (see page V of Executive Summary)
Comey admitted that he concealed his intentions from the Department until the morning of his press conference on July 5, and instructed his staff to do the same, to make it impracticable for Department leadership to prevent him from delivering his statement. We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so, and we found none of his reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions. (see page V of Executive Summary) . . . .
We concluded that Comey’s unilateral announcement was inconsistent with Department policy and violated long-standing Department practice and protocol by, among other things, criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct. We also found that Comey usurped the authority of the Attorney General, and inadequately and incompletely described the legal position of Department prosecutors. (see page VI of Executive Summary) . . . .
Comey’s description of his choice as being between “two doors,” one labeled “speak” and one labeled “conceal,” was a false dichotomy. The two doors were actually labeled “follow policy/practice” and “depart from policy/practice.” . . . we concluded that Comey made a serious error of judgment. . . .
We found that, given the absence of exigent circumstances and the frequency with which the use of personal email occurred, Comey’s use of a personal email account for unclassified FBI business to be inconsistent with Department policy.
To quote Bugs Bunny, “what a maroon!” The Inspector General provided evidence that Comey was insubordinate and usurped authority, made serious errors of judgment and ignored Department policy on use of personal email. And Comey was surprised he got fired? This was just the first round.
Next up, the AUGUST 2019, Report of Investigation of Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey’s Disclosure of Sensitive Investigative Information and Handling of Certain Memoranda. How did Jim Comey do in handling classified information? Not good.
As Comey himself explained in his March 20, 2017 testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he was unable to provide details about the nature or scope of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election because, “We just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we’re doing it.”
However, after his removal as FBI Director two months later, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4, which Comey had kept without authorization, to Richman with instructions to share the contents with a reporter for The New York Times. . . .
The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties. . . .
Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. 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.
We have previously faulted Comey for acting unilaterally and inconsistent with Department policy.103 Comey’s unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information about the Flynn investigation merits similar criticism. In a country built on the rule of law, it is of utmost importance that all FBI employees adhere to Department and FBI policies, particularly when confronted by what appear to be extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions.
Only a narcissist or a person of very limited intellectual ability would take these comments from Inspector General Horowitz as “praise.” Comey set a dangerous example for FBI employees by repeatedly acting unilaterally and inconsistently with Department policy. What a maroon.
Then we have the FISA review by the Inspector General. More damnation for Comey courtesy of Inspector General Horowitz. Before Jim Comey signed off on the first FISA application to spy on U.S. citizen Carter Page, he was fully informed that the major source for the justification to spy was being provided by Christopher Steele, a retired British intelligence officer who was hired and paid by the Clinton campaign:
On October 12, 2016, Evans’s concerns about Steele were briefed to Comey and McCabe in a meeting attended by at least Priestap, Strzok, Lisa Page, and the OGC Unit Chief. According to notes of the meeting, the group discussed that Evans was concerned Steele may have been hired by someone associated with Hillary Clinton or the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and that the read copy of the FISA application would not be filed with the court that day so that Evans could further assess the potential bias. The notes reflect that the group discussed that Evans was also concerned that the foreign intelligence to be collected through the FISA would not be “worth [the] risk.” Following the meeting, the OGC Unit Chief emailed Anderson and the OGC Attorney on October 12 and advised them that the concerns Evans had raised were discussed with Comey and McCabe and that both were “supportive” of moving forward despite those concerns. (see page 139). . . .
Comey certified the Carter Page application on behalf of the FBI. In Chapter Two, we described the elements of the certification required by the FBI Director or Deputy Director, including that the information sought through the requested FISA authority is foreign intelligence information that cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques and is necessary to protect the United States against clandestine intelligence activities. In this regard, the Director’s certification is different from the approval of the NSD AAG, DAG, or the Attorney General, which requires that the signatory find that the application satisfies the FISA’s statutory requirements. . . .
We concluded that the failures described above and in this report represent serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications. . . .
We identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures. These errors and omissions resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to or and failing to flag important issues for discussion. While we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted or in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or problems we identified. . . .
That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI, and that FBI officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process. . . .
We concluded that the information that was known to the managers, supervisors, and senior officials should have resulted in questions being raised regarding the reliability of the Steele reporting and the probable cause supporting the FISA applications, but did not.
In our view, this was a failure of not only the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command.
Bottomline, Jim Comey was in charge of the FBI and presided over a major failure that goes to the heart of our Constitution. Using ignorance as an excuse to spy on an American citizen who is working for the FBI is a step beyond moronic.
When you consider these three Inspector General reports you are presented with damning indictment of Jim Comey’s failure not only as a leader but as an ethical person. He ignored regulations, acted indecently and usurped authority. And this clown dares to challenge the integrity of Attorney General Barr. Jimmy Comey is like the Hollywood Madam accusing Mother Theresa of being a slut. Look in the mirror Jim. Look in the mirror.