When I was a New York federal prosecutor, in the same Manhattan office where FBI Director James B. Comey served under then US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani, we did not ever say publicly that we had an “ongoing investigation,” because we wanted to protect the investigation from disclosure, it was also against Justice Department guidelines, and we did not want to expose anyone to ridicule and humiliation who might never be charged or prosecuted.
Nor would we release information about a public official in an imminent election, less than two weeks away in the presidential election at hand, and we would never have “suggested” there might be wrongdoing when we had no evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing – and you don’t have any evidence – if you haven’t even asked a federal judge to issue a warrant to review the “suspect” information.
When Director Comey wrote the U.S. Congress, telling them that he had information from an “unrelated” investigation, he admitted he didn’t know if it “contained classified information.”
Nor could he say he had anything “important.”
Director Comey wrote Congress to tell them the FBI had to “assess their importance.”
And Director Comey couldn’t say that what he had was “significant.” Director Comey confessed that “the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.”
Director Comey felt he had to explain himself to FBI personnel, as what he was doing was unprecedented; he wrote, “We don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations.”
Director Comey thus did what was extraordinary and he knew it.
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump praised and embraced Director Comey’s non-disclosure “disclosure.” Of course, there is no resemblance to what Director Comey said in what Candidate Trump said afterwards.
The Justice Department told Director Comey, before he sent his unprecedented letter to Congress, that he was defying long-standing Justice Department policy, commenting on an ongoing investigation and interfering in a presidential election.
Secretary Hillary Clinton said, since Director Comey opened the door, he should show us what he’s got.
Director Comey said, in essence, the FBI found emails, that may be relevant, but the FBI doesn’t know if they are, and that they may be significant, but the FBI doesn’t know that either, but the FBI wanted everyone to know that the FBI is going to look into it, but hasn’t yet.
So show us what you got.
The popular TV show, Dragnet, had its faux FBI Agents always asking witnesses and suspects what happened, and what we remember is that they wanted nothing – but the facts.
Director Comey could learn from this tv show. Instead, he is more like the hapless Bronx cop duo on, “Car 54, Where are you?”
When I was prosecuting corruption cases, we refrained from charging or indicting anyone just before an election as a charge is only a charge and that’s not proof of anything.
Director Comey had less than that, less than nothing, yet he published his letter to the Congress.
It’s a fair question to consider whether Comey is afraid, incompetent, unethical, partisan or all of the above.
He socked the FBI square in the face, giving it another black eye, like none we’d seen or heard since Director J. Edgar Hoover manipulated inside information for his political advantage.
When “Dragnet” does its job better, and Directory Comey performs more poorly than two comic cops, well we have to re-consider how the FBI does its “business.”
What Director Comey did is a shame and a disgrace.
Director Comey should be called up on charges for his misconduct.
In the meantime, Director Comey should put the goods on the table that he hasn’t examined – so that we may all see what the FBI hasn’t thought to review yet.