Catching Comey the Artful Dodger

Comey broke all the rules and still keeps his pension?

After a Department of Justice inspector general report which criticized James Comey, the FBI director who was fired soon after Mr. Trump too office, was released, Mr. Comey tweeted:

"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.'"

This was indeed a true statement, accurately describing the IG's report as far as it goes.  As one would expect of a world-class spinmeister of Mr. Comey's stature, he made no mention of the fact that, as Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton pointed out,

The IG report confirms Mr. Comey improperly kept FBI files on President Trump at his home and that he illicitly leaked these FBI files to the New York Times in order to advance his personal agenda of getting a Special Counsel appointed to target the president. Comey also misled both the FBI and Congress about his handling of these documents.

On top of all of that, in violation of law, he kept and disclosed classified information. It is beyond belief the Justice Department refused to prosecute Comey for his series of crimes, to include a seditious conspiracy targeting President Trump. It is going to be up to, frankly, Judicial Watch to try to obtain full justice and full accountability for this terrible misconduct that goes to the heart of our justice system.

We're glad to hear that Judicial Watch is on the case.  As we've pointed out, Judicial Watch uncovered most of the public information about Hillary's illegal email server when the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives, who had far more resources than Judicial Watch, were unable or unwilling to force the government to disgorge either the emails or the rest of her records.  Judicial Watch is the body which revealed her violations of laws regarding classified documents and her pay-to-play schemes, both of which are still somewhat under desultory investigation.

As for the scandal around Hillary's and Mr. Comey's handling of classified material, we can't forget the sailor who was sentenced to jail for taking unauthorized photos in his submarine. The Guardian reports:

Saucier took the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

A sailor with no high-end political connections was jailed for the unauthorized handling of classified material; Mr. Comey is lionized by the entire liberal establishment and both he and Hillary go on book tours.  If it weren't for double standards, the deep state would have no standards at all.

Judicial Watch has also uncovered information about a number of FBI employees being referred for criminal prosecution after improperly leaking confidential FBI documents and information.  When they contradict the IG by asserting that Mr. Comey improperly leaked confidential information, we're inclined to side with them regardless of what the Inspector General said.

There is a difference, though.  Judicial Watch merely collects evidence and reports their interpretation of it.  The Inspector General has a more serious duty: he has to weigh the ability to place charges and prove them in court.

It's entirely possible that the Inspector knows that we can't prove that Mr. Comey showed any of his illicit classified material to unauthorized persons.  The IG's job is to parse the fine details of what is and is not provably illegal, as well as pointing out what's just plain wrong.

For example, the IG excoriated Mr. Comey for breaking FBI policies: he should never have retained personal copies of federally-owned documents.  However, that does not seem to be a jailable crime because the safe in his home was an approved repository for classified material.  Mr. Comey broke policy rules - a firing offense - but did not violate actual criminal laws which would justify a jail term.  To the IG, that's a major difference, and rightly so.

What the IG Said

For purposes of discussion, let's give the IG the benefit of the doubt.  Let's assume that the FBI-owned memo which Mr. Comey improperly disclosed to his friend with instructions to leak it to the New York Times didn't contain anything classified.  Therefore, according to this assumption, Mr. Comey did not, in fact, commit the crime of leaking classified information as Hillary did.

On that basis, we're left with the rest of the IG's report:

"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."

"In a country built on the rule of law, it is of utmost importance that all FBI employees adhere to Department and FBI policies, particularly when confronted by what appear to be extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions. Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. 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."  [emphasis added]

What To Do?

The IG is utterly correct in asserting that Mr. Comey should not under any circumstances have used FBI information to manipulate our political process to achieve a "personally desired outcome."

Assuming that Mr. Comey did not break a law but only violated a longstanding policy, we are grudgingly forced to agree that putting him in jail for this specific action would not be appropriate.  The rule of law is fundamental to American liberty, and if an artful dodger manages to do something wicked and wrong while not, technically, violating any law, the only right response for our legal system is to grind its teeth, fume, and do whatever it can to urge Congress to change the law.

There are, however, other punishments that don't involve jail time or even courts.  The IG pointed out one, which indeed took place: Mr. Comey was fired.  People are fired every day; the courts have nothing to do with it and there's never any threat of jail, but it's a punishment all the same.

Still, that doesn't seem sufficiently severe, especially considering that Mr. Comey was of retirement age anyway and expects to collect a lavish pension of Your Tax Dollars for many decades to come.  So what about that pension?  As we see it, any government employee who uses the power of the federal government to manipulate our political process should not only be fired but should be be denied his pension, even if he did not technically break felony criminal law.

He's not the only one.  Lois Lerner famously abused the awesome power of the IRS to attack conservative groups.  When questioned about it, she pled the 5th Amendment right to not self-incriminate, which is her Constitutional right.  She was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer their questions, which is their right - not that anything was accomplished thereby.

Ms. Lerner not only pled the 5th, she persuaded the court to seal the records after the IRS was forced to pay millions in damages to the groups whom she'd abused.  Her basis for this request was that she feared for her life if the truth of her actions against conservatives came out.  The 5th Amendment is the right to not have to give testimony against yourself, but it doesn't contain any right to protect the truth of your misdeeds from coming out in other ways.  It certainly doesn't contain a right to perform misdeeds at taxpayer expense.

It seems to us that if a government employee has performed actions in the course of their official duties that, in their opinion, could incriminate them in a crime, they do have the right not to self-incriminate - but by claiming that right, they are admitting malfeasance in office.  They should immediately and automatically be fired and their pension stripped, based on their own words.

We also remember that when the incompetence and fraud in the Veteran's Administration health care system were revealed, Congress had to pass a special law permitting bureaucrats who falsified waiting times in order to collect performance bonuses to be fired.  That's right - it literally took the proverbial act of Congress to, not jail, not sue, but simply to fire the crooks who enriched themselves at the expense of the lives of American veterans!

The bureaucracy took care of its own.  The crooked employees were given advance notice in time to take early retirement.  After retiring, of course, they couldn't be fired, so the law didn't apply.  They not only kept their pensions, they also kept their ill-gotten bonuses.

If we can't jail these deep state corruptocrats, simple justice demands that at the very least, we ought surely to be able to strip them of their ill-gotten gains.  After all, generations of experience show that the whisper of the ax is the only way to correct a bureaucracy.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

The retention of their pensions is something I also find egregious. Even if these people are not criminals, they are cheats that are not working for the public they were hired to serve and the public should not be made to support them for the rest of their lives.

September 10, 2019 10:40 AM

Without making people pay a price for their despicable acts, we encourage more abuse not less.

September 15, 2019 1:02 PM
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