DOJ IG: ‘Comey’s Retention, Handling, and Dissemination of Certain Memos Violated’ DOJ, FBI Policies
Comey brags on Twitter: At least I’m not going to jail.
The Department of Justice Inspector General released his long-awaited report into former FBI director James Comey’s handling of sensitive investigative information and the way he handled certain memos.
The IG found “no evidence” that Comey or his lawyers provided the media with classified information.
However, the IG “concluded that Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”
Here is some background from The Los Angeles Times:
Comey wrote seven memos about his interactions with Trump. They started with his briefing of the president-elect at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017, about the contents of a controversial and salacious dossier by a former British spy about Russia’s meddling in the election and its dealings with the business mogul.
The former FBI director said he wrote the memos after interactions with Trump because he knew he “would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI.”
“It was a combination of circumstances, subject matter and the particular person,” Comey told Congress in June 2017.
Comey testified he kept the memos in a safe at his home and showed one to Richman so he could describe its contents to a New York Times reporter. The resulting article documented how Comey believed that Trump had tried to improperly pressure him in the Oval Office to drop an investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
IG Michael Horowitz had the task to investigate “allegations that Comey had mishandled classified information when he showed a copy of a memo to a longtime friend, Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor.”
Horowitz had to investigate if Comey knew “some sentences in the memos included classified information.”
The DOJ decided earlier this month not to prosecute Comey over his mishandling of the confidential memos.
Comey immediately responded on Twitter, but left out that crucial piece of information.
DOJ IG “found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media.” I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a “sorry we lied about you” would be nice.
— James Comey (@Comey) August 29, 2019
Comey glossed over the fact that the IG found he violated DOJ and FBI policies.
The IG pointed out that Comey told Congress in March 2017 “the FBI is very careful in how we handle information about our cases and about the people we are investigating” because they “need to protect people’s privacy.”
However, Comey kept one memo “without authorization.” He handed over that memo “to Richman with instructions to share the contents with a reporter from The New York Times.”
This memo “included information that was related to both the FBI’s ongoing investigation of Flynn and, by Comey’s own account, information that he believed and alleged constituted evidence of an attempt to obstruct the ongoing Flynn investigation.”
The NYT proceeded to publish an article on the memo on the same day.
Horowitz wrote (emphasis mine):
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. On occasion, some of these employees may disagree with decisions by prosecutors, judges, or higher ranking FBI and Department officials about the actions to take or not take in criminal and counterintelligence matters. They may even, in some situations, distrust the legitimacy of those supervisory, prosecutorial, or judicial decisions. But even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information.
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. Comey said he was compelled to take these actions “if I love this country…and I love the Department of Justice, and I love the FBI.” However, were current or former FBI employees to follow the former Director’s example and disclose sensitive information in service of their own strongly held personal convictions, the FBI would be unable to dispatch its law enforcement duties properly, as Comey himself noted in his March 20, 2017 congressional testimony. Comey expressed a similar concern to President Trump, according to Memo 4, in discussing leaks of FBI information, telling Trump that the FBI’s ability to conduct its work is compromised “if people run around telling the press what we do.” This is no doubt part of the reason why Comey’s closest advisors used the words “surprised,” “stunned,” “shocked,” and “disappointment” to describe their reactions to learning what Comey had done.
Horowitz stressed that FBI employees must “adhere to Department and FBI policies,” especially when they come across “extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions.”
The IG criticized Comey for not using the “several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel.” He told the IG office that a Special Counsel “was his goal in making the disclosure.”
Horowitz reminded Comey:
What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.
Inspector General Report on James Comey by Legal Insurrection on Scribd
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fishstick: but you are forgetting that said memos were government property
That doesn’t make it a crime to possess a copy.
fishstick: when something is government property and then illegally handled, it is no longer an administrative problem but a legal one
Possessing a copy of something is not a crime, unless it is unauthorized information “relating to the national defence”.
fishstick: under various law codes – Comey could have been charged with a crime here
Then you won’t mind citing the statute(s).
fishstick: the fact that Comey wrote them is totally irrelevant because said memos were still handled without proper procedure
That’s right. Comey didn’t follow proper procedure. He violated FBI policy.
fishstick: thus in this particular case – Comey could be charged for mishandling classified information
No. Because you can’t show “scienter and bad faith” and would probably have trouble showing that the information is “relating to the national defence”.
fishstick: but nearly all federal policy is under some kind of federal ordinance in some way shape or form under the law
No, it’s not. The vast majority of policies do not have the force of law. If the FBI policy says you have to file a report by the third working day, that doesn’t mean you can be criminally charged if you fail in your duty. You can be demoted, transferred, fired. There’s policies for that too.
fishstick: there would be no reason to NOT do what you just described in that paragraph if the only possible punishment was ‘loss of job’
Being fired is a very big punishment for career employees. Or being reassigned to Nome.
fishstick: this was due to various ordinances her office worked under and violating any one of them was a virtual death wish for her career
That’s right. Her career.
fishstick: Comey had to violate any number of laws on the books (and there are many) with the release of memos he did not “own” …
That’s not a crime.
fishstick: and memos that Horowitz had to admit contained “classified” information
The information that was retroactively classified was never publicly released.
fishstick: it doesn’t matter that Comey’s intent was supposedly limited or he didn’t mean to do such a thing
Of course it matters, because the government has to show “scienter and bad faith”, as well as the information is “relating to the national defence”.
fishstick: Saucier took a stillshot photo, it wasn’t a real and highly classified document by any stretch of the imagination
He took a number of stillshots of attack submarine equipment he knew was highly classified, then lied about it, then destroyed evidence.
fishstick: and he still would have been criminally charged due to the code (not law) he knew he had broken by doing so
If the government could not prove he knew it was “relating to the national defence”, then they couldn’t charge him, because that is what they have to show in court. That he lied and destroyed evidence is prima facie evidence that he did know. That’s why he pleaded guilty.
fishstick: there is no law on the books that says ‘photographs on submarines are prohibited
There is a law on the books that makes the unauthorized taking or retaining information you know to be “relating to the national defence” a crime.
fishstick: Saucier violated a federal ordinance, not a state or federal law on the books
Uh, no. Saucier pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized retention of defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) and one count of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519.
fishstick: and lest we not forget possible perjury charges that could be levied due to Comey’s misleading statements to the president-elect then president Trump
Even if true, that’s not perjury under the statute.
Saucier only possessed the submarine photos, he did not publish or arrange for them to be published. He acknowledged he had made a careless mistake as a young man – however, he was zealously prosecuted and went to prison as well as having his reputation destroyed and a blot on his military record making him virtually unable to gain employment in his field.
Comey planned to possess those memo’s with the intent of making them public for malicious (and as we’ve learned) false reasons. As a career fed and the head of the FBI, he cannot claim to unaware of the consequences.
2nd Ammendment Mother: Saucier only possessed the submarine photos, he did not publish or arrange for them to be published.
Other sailors who had taken such photos had generally been subject only to administrative action. But Saucier knew the information was “relating to the national defence”, lied about it, and tried to destroy the evidence.
2nd Ammendment Mother: Comey planned to possess those memo’s with the intent of making them public for malicious (and as we’ve learned) false reasons.
The information deemed classified was never made public. There was never any intent to release information “relating to the national defence”.
“If Comey had intentionally released information relating to the national defence, then it would be a prosecutable offense under the Espionage Act. But that is not the case, as we just explained.”
You keep referring to the Espionage Act and to scienter and bad faith. Yet the submariner was tried for a negligent release of classified information that was neither intentional nor in bad faith. Months ago, you made this same claim in defense of Hillary Clinton. But unintentional release of classified information by someone who knew, or had a duty to know, it was classified and who had a duty to prevent its release and fails in that duty can be tried for the negligence</b. "Intent" is not necessary when the subject has a duty or responsibility to safeguard classified information.
Saucier and Clinton both knew, or should have known, and had a duty to know, they were dealing with classified information. (Saucier knew, or had a duty to know, that the instrument panels captured in his photos were classified. The Secretary of State couldn't possibly have believed that she could conduct the business of her office without receiving, sending, and storing classified information. She certainly knew, or should have known, and had a duty to know, that she was dealing with classified information regularly, and therefore must have been using her private, unsecured email to do so.) They both handled classified material negligently. So did Comey (when he retained it after his employment by the FBI ended – I’ve already made the argument for theft in an earlier post). And that’s a crime. If it’s not, what was Saucier tried for without the scienter and bad faith you keep saying are essential for an espionage conviction? In fact you are correct, they are essential to an espionage conviction. But they are not essential to a charge of negligence.
DaveGinOly: Yet the submariner was tried for a negligent release of classified information that was neither intentional nor in bad faith.
If you are referring to Saucier, there was nothing negligent about his actions. He knew the information was relating to the national defence, and took possession of it anyway. More important, when caught, he did not surrender it back to the proper authorities, but tried to destroy the evidence of the original crime. You might argue—against the evidence—that Saucier did not know when he took the pictures that the information was relating to the national defence (gee whiz, it was of instruments on a nuclear-powered attack submarine), however, he certainly knew it when he lied about it and tried to destroy the evidence. He pleaded guilty, not to taking the information, but for retaining it and obstructing justice.
DaveGinOly: But unintentional release of classified information by someone who knew, or had a duty to know, it was classified and who had a duty to prevent its release and fails in that duty can be tried for the negligence</b. "Intent" is not necessary when the subject has a duty or responsibility to safeguard classified information.
That is not correct, per the courts and per precedent. There has to be elements of “scienter and bad faith”.
One more time, Zach is a paid commie. It is paid to go on websites like LI and spread the prog propaganda and talking points of the day.
It’s one of thousands. Yes thousands.
You’re wasting your time doing anything more than calling it names.
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