When the history of the 2016 election campaign is being written, one man is going to have a lot to answer for.
That man is FBI Director James Comey. With his reputation for straight-shooting non-partisanship, all-business demeanor and choir boy good looks, Comey has done more to salvage Hillary Clinton’s possible return to the White House than any man in American politics, including former President Clinton and President Barack Obama.
And former FBI supervisors, speaking on the record, are going public to make the case that the FBI director has squandered his reputation and sullied the bureau itself…and needs to go.
There’s no telling for now what behind-the-scenes pressures brought Comey to the astonishing decision he announced in July that he would not recommend criminal charges against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, her party’s nominee for the presidency. But future historians are going to find it.
His own explanation — that Clinton’s behavior did not rise to the level of criminal intent — fell apart under questioning by Republicans in Congress.
A withering cross-examination by Rep. Trey Gowdy in July revealed Clinton to be a liar, and Comey her protector. A second go-around between the two men in September drove the point home.
Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor with extensive experience building cases with FBI agents, summed up that exchange sadly.
“That is not the FBI that I used to work with,” he said.
Recent revelations only serve to raise more eyebrows about the actions of Comey’s investigators — damning disclosures about boxes of missing evidence and back-channel communications between the White House and State Department worried about the political ramifications of the Clinton email scandal.
Now, ranking former agents in the bureau are going public with their views of the director. Either Comey botched the investigation of Hillary’s corrupt email practices, or he bent to political pressures or rewards to let her off the legal hook. Either way, say these ex-G-men, the director should be shown the door.
The conduct of the FBI’s Clinton investigation reeked of favoritism and political favors, from agents accepting ground rules for interrogations dictated by their targets, to immunity offers that gave key participants in the scandal get-out-of-jail free cards. Retired agents laid it out for former Investor’s Business Daily Washington Bureau Chief Paul Sperry for a column published Thursday by the New York Post.
“The FBI has politicized itself, and its reputation will suffer for a long time,” complained retired special agent Dennis Hughes, who led the FBI’s computer investigations unit. “I hold Director Comey responsible.”
Hughes was far from alone in his extreme disappointment and sharp criticism.
“Comey has singlehandedly ruined the reputation of the organization,” retired agent Michael M. Biasello told Sperry.
Most damning, he called Comey’s decision “cowardly.”
Another Sperry source was I.C. Smith, a retired FBI supervisor who investigated Clinton fundraisers when he was special agent in charge at the bureau’s Little Rock, Arkansas, office in the 1990s.
Smith went on to became a vocal critic of the FBI – even writing a book called “Inside – A Top G-Man Exposes Spies, Lies and Bureaucratic Bungling in the FBI.” Clearly, he’s got no teary-eyed idealism about his former employer, but still told Sperry that Comey’s stewardship had dragged down the institution as a whole.
“FBI agents upset with Comey’s decision have every reason to feel that way,” Smith said. “Clearly there was a different standard applied to Clinton.
“I have no doubt resourceful prosecutors and FBI agents could have come up with some charge that she would have been subject to prosecution,” he said. “What she did is absolutely abhorrent for anyone who has access to classified information.”
It’s important to note that this isn’t a conservative talking head on television coming down hard on the director, as did Fox News commentator Judge Jeanine Pirro – a one-time Comey fan who has hammered the director repeatedly since his whitewash of the Clinton scandal became public.
Most of Sperry’s sources for the column are retired from the bureau, but the feeling of Comey’s betrayal isn’t limited to those who are only drawing pensions.
One Washington, D.C., agent told Sperry they’re feeling the heat, too.
“The director is giving the bureau a bad rap with all the gaps in the investigation,” the agent said. “There’s a perception that the FBI has been politicized and let down the country.”
Actually, the perception is based less on the bureau as a whole than it is on the actions and decisions of one man – the one man who breathed new life into a Hillary Clinton campaign that should have been on the ropes by now, if not at the defense table in a court of law.
FBI Director James Comey.
H/T: Western Journalism
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