Editorial: Comey leaks violated FBI rules, federal secrecy laws

by WorldTribune Staff, July 13, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her “egregious security breaches” last summer but he appears to “be guilty of the same thing,” Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) said in a July 10 editorial.

“Let’s be very clear here: What Comey did is against FBI rules, and it’s a violation of federal secrecy laws, on a par with the violation that Hillary Clinton committed when she decided to run the Secretary of State’s office from a private, home-brew email server that was clearly illegal,” the editorial noted.

Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in before his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.

According to an agreement that is signed by all FBI employees: “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America.”

The agreement goes on to add that agents “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.”

The IBD editorial cited a report by the The Hill which said that more than half of the memos Comey wrote after having spoken to President Donald Trump about the Russia investigation “contained classified information.” The Hill cited as its sources “officials familiar with the documents.”

Trump tweeted: “James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!”

The president “may be onto something there,” the IBD editorial said.

“All told, Comey wrote seven memos based on nine meetings with Trump. In testimony to Congress, he asserted that he had made sure the memos in question didn’t have classified material. But a subsequent investigation found markings on four of the memos indicating secret information, the kind that is not allowed to be routinely released to the public.

“Comey has long maintained that the memos were his personal property, but virtually no legal authority agrees with that. Nor does the FBI, for that matter. The memos were created on government time and related directly to his work, so they were the property of government.”

Comey’s actions sound like he’s been playing a game of “cover-your-hindquarters,” the editorial said, “because Comey later let outsiders see those memos, and made sure they were leaked to the Trump-hating press, in this case the New York Times, so any protestations of innocence on his part sound more than a little weak.”


Hillary Clinton, the editorial noted, as secretary of state signed an agreement similar to the one FBI agents sign, “yet she routinely put classified information onto public servers, where it could be grabbed by unscrupulous actors, such as the Chinese and the Russians.

“How does that compare to Comey, who asked a lawyer-friend at Columbia University, Prof. Daniel Richman, to leak his memos containing classified information to the news media?

“The goal of the hand-off was to generate stories so that a special prosecutor would be named to investigate Russian meddling in the U.S. election and, more to the point, Democratic rumors that Trump had colluded with the Russians to beat Hillary.”

In short, the editorial said, “Comey appears to have delivered classified information to the New York Times and other media for the sole political purpose of bringing down President Trump.

“Comey’s later actions suggest, if anything, he learned from Hillary’s chutzpah. You can flout U.S. law, and as long as you have friends and political clout, get away with it – even use your illegality as a bludgeon against your political foes.”


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