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Monday, November 7, 2016

James Comey: Something to Hate For Everyone

Being retired from the Justice Department (DEA) and having friends in federal law enforcement, I had thought that FBI Director James Comey was a square shooter. My sense was that the current FBI agents thought highly of him-certainly higher than his predecessor, Robert Mueller. I was fully aware Comey had to answer to the attorney general. During the reign of Eric Holder I had come to the conclusion that Holder had ideologically corrupted the DOJ, especially in the Operation Fast Furious scandal involving guns being smuggled to Mexico from the US for use by the drug cartels. However, I was (and still am) impressed by the counter-terrorism work being done by FBI agents in the field. I have to admit, however, that the performance of Mr. Comey leaves me bewildered. Now he is getting it from both sides and deservedly so.

Like many federal agents, current and retired, I was enraged by his July announcement, in which he outlined the violations of communication security by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state-then closed by recommending no charges, a slap in the face of anyone who believes that nobody should be above the law. Mrs Clinton's violation of security seemed obvious and involved many instances of careless handling of classified documents. During my DEA career, I spent three years stationed at the American embassy in Bangkok and five years at the American consulate in Milan. I dealt with classified documents on a daily basis and fully understood the rules, which were strictly enforced. Had I done what Mrs. Clinton did, I would have been sent packing back to the US and certainly prosecuted. Yet, Mr Comey inexplicably stated that no reasonable prosecutor would have taken this case to court. (Only if the perpetrator were someone like Hillary Clinton.) It is hardly a secret that Comey lost the respect of many of this agents on that day.

Then, as the revelations from Wikileaks, Judicial Watch, and his own agents continued to show more violations of classified communication security and  corruption involving the Clinton Foundation, Comey stepped in and announced that the FBI would re-open the case (involving the emails) less than  two weeks before the election. It gave the appearance that the FBI was attempting to influence the outcome of the election. It also appeared to put the FBI squarely at odds with the attorney general (now Loretta Lynch), who did not approve the action, quite possibly for political reasons. Now it appeared that somehow, the emails of then-Secretary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, had found their way onto a laptop operated by Abedin's estranged husband, none other than disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger. What a mess!

But on November 6, Comey again took the stage and announced that the additional emails had been screened and there was no harm after all. Case closed (again). At best, it made Comey and his agency look like the Keystone Cops. It didn't help that at the same time, we were learning from Wikileaks that one of the emails hacked from Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, suggested that Hillary was having classified documents sent to her housemaid so she could print them out (at her private residence). If true, you have a security violation right there, but the case is closed.

Left unresolved is the issue of the Clinton Foundation, which is likely a massive money laundering operation designed to make the Clintons rich at the expense of American foreign policy while she was secretary of state. Now we see (courtesy of Wikileaks) that the foundation may have been paying for Chelsea Clinton's wedding, not exactly a charitable endeavor. Keep in mind that these allegations are not from Wikileaks itself or the Clintons' enemies, but  based on statements by her own campaign staff.

But what will our vaunted FBI do about all that-especially if Mrs Clinton becomes president? Hopefully, the attorney general will appoint a special prosecutor as new revelations keep coming in even after the election and inauguration. The problem is I have lost faith in Loretta Lynch as well as James Comey. Blatant corruption is being swept under the rug as we speak.

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