Former FBI Director James Comey likes to think of himself as the last honest man in Washington.
In the wake of his firing by Donald Trump, Comey intentionally leaked documents to a civilian, claiming he did so because he felt a special prosecutor needed to be brought in to investigate the White House. What a stand-up guy.
But Comey’s politicking could’ve backfired in a major way.
According to a report, the memos that Comey leaked may have been classified.
From The Hill:
More than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.
This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton over in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election.
Comey testified last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a friend. He asked that friend, a law professor at Columbia University, to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director.
But when the seven memos Comey wrote regarding his nine conversations with Trump about Russia earlier this year were shown to Congress in recent days, the FBI claimed all were, in fact, deemed to be government documents.
FBI policy forbids any agent from releasing classified information or any information from ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission, and it mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property.
Congressional investigators had already begun examining whether Comey’s creation, storage and sharing of the memos violated FBI rules, but the revelation that four of the seven memos included some sort of classified information opens a new door of inquiry into whether classified information was mishandled, improperly stored or improperly shared.
That was the same issue for which the FBI investigated Clinton, a former secretary of State in the Obama administration, in 2015 and 2016 under Comey. Clinton used a private email server during her tenure that at times contained classified material.
Comey ultimately concluded in July 2016 that Clinton’s email practices were reckless, but that he could not recommend prosecution because FBI agents had failed to find enough evidence that she intended to violate felony statutes prohibiting the transmission of classified information through insecure practices. Clinton at the time was the Democratic nominee for president.
Now, congressional investigators are likely to turn their attention to the same issues to determine if Comey mishandled any classified information in his personal memos.
It’s too late for Comey to claim the “high ground” now. He had the chance to do so when he investigated Hillary Clinton.
He had the chance when Loretta Lynch told him to call the probe into Hillary Clinton a “matter” instead of an investigation.
He had the chance when he claimed he was concerned about Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton.
He had the chance to act if he was truly concerned about a Trump-Russia connection.
Comey leaked those memos, not because of his moral rectitude, but because he had a vendetta. He was embarrassed, discovering he got fired on television.
Now that it’s possible he leaked classified information, Comey’s bloodlust might’ve just come back to bite him.