It seems to me that now that all the excitement, commotion, and outright screams of rage generated by a recent report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has died down a tad, a bit of perspective is appropriate. The subject of this report was an investigation into, “… the creation, storage, and handling of certain memoranda (Memos) written by former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James B. Comey. … [which] memorialized seven one-on-one interactions that he had with President-elect and President Donald J. Trump … [b]etween January 6, 2017, and April 11, 2017, while Comey was Director of the FBI” A very narrow, well-defined, investigation, right?
This carefully written and understandable 83 page document (including appendices) presents extensive details about the investigation that I won’t go into, but here is a summation of the some of the “findings.”
– Comey claimed these memos were personal records, however the OIG found, “Comey’s characterization of the Memos as personal records finds no support in the law and is wholly incompatible with the plain language of the statutes, regulations, and policies defining Federal records, and the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.”
– “Comey’s actions with respect to the Memos violated Department and FBI policies concerning the retention, handling, and dissemination of FBI records and information, and violated the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.”
– “Comey violated FBI policies and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement when he sent a copy of Memo 4 to Richman [a close friend of Comey] with instructions to provide the contents to a reporter, and when he transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and a redacted version of 7 to his three attorneys.”
– “Comey Failed to Immediately Alert the FBI to the Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information. … Comey violated this requirement by failing to immediately inform the FBI that he provided Memo 2 to his attorneys.”
In the Conclusions, the report continues, “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. … Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. 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.”
The report concludes with, “The OIG has provided this report to the FBI and to the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility for action they deem appropriate.” No recommendations, just “He shouldn’t have done that.”
So what? Wanna bet these findings will result in his indictment or prosecution? After all, he’s already been fired. Nope, Comey’s claim he was acting for the greater good of the country and did what he did out of patriotism will likely generate enough support in the elite power circles and mainstream media to let him “stroll” to the bank as he cashes in on book and speaking revenues. In other words, he got away with numerous violations of well defined policy, practices, and procedures including laws involving handling classified material.
You see, this is just another in a string of instances illustrating how there is one set of “rules” for those in the elite power circles and another for ordinary folks. Recall how Hillary and her colleagues “walked” after her “careless” handling of Top Secret Codeword and other classified material, her destroying thousands of e-mails and so on. Ordinary folks would have been in jail.
Then there was the report of how FBI and DOJ employees accepted “gratuities” from media reporters – reportedly for “leaks” – but no one was called to task. (As it turned out the head of the FBI and other high-ranking officials led by example in the leaking business.)
There are currently other investigations going on such as into the notorious “Steele dossier,” the highly questionable FISA warrants, and associated matters, but those who think anyone will be held accountable for these blatant transgressions of our laws – and just plain decency – don’t understand how our nation’s political power system works. Folks in the power elite “walk.” At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor is a regular contributing columnist and area resident.