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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A political commentary on Comey

James+Comey
Photo by Creative Commons
James Comey

From abruptly being fired as FBI Director to sharing sensitive files with a former colleague, James Comey’s transparency with the media about allegedly sensitive information continues to raise eyebrows.
Comey is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice about whether or not the memos he leaked contained classified information to the press, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Comey, who took detailed notes of his conversations with President Donald Trump while serving as Director of the FBI, passed a set of memos to Daniel Richman, former federal prosecutor, who then leaked Comey’s memos to the press.
The Associated Press published 15 copies of Comey’s memos last week, which are currently under review by the DOJ. Comey’s decision to publish the memos after being fired raises questions on whether or not he illegally released information to the public, an issue he discussed with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last week in an interview.
“I’m a private citizen and I have, in my safe downstairs, an unclassified memo about that conversation,” Comey said when discussing his conversations with President Trump. “And I’m a private citizen, I can tell people about conversations with the president that are unclassified. And so I’m going to do it.”
Since 1940, the president has been responsible for setting forth the system of classifying information that can potentially be a threat to national security by executive order. The most recent example, Executive Order 13526, was signed by former President Barack Obama in 2009, according to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
With that being said, when Comey was fired as FBI Director last year, in addition to being banned from the FBI premises, his privileges as an original classification authority were revoked.
Saturday, President Trump claimed in a tweet Comey’s memos are all classified. Comey said in one of his memos he is unsure of the proper security classification for the memos. The Wall Street Journal also reported at least two memos contained redacted information.
While the Justice Department continues to review Comey’s memos, in his new book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” Comey said his reason for sharing the memos was to shed light on the president’s actions as possible obstruction of justice in regards to the Michael Flynn investigation taking place at the time.
“One of the orders that was issued is I was never to be allowed back on FBI property, like I had killed somebody,” Comey said in his ABC interview. “So my staff had to box my stuff up and send it home. But I had the memo in my safe, my unclassified memo. And I thought, ‘If I get that out, that’ll put tremendous pressure on the Department of Justice to have somebody go get the tapes before President Trump could destroy them.’”
Both sides of the aisle have provided criticism of Comey’s role in his handling of the Clinton investigation and his openness about his conversations with President Trump. In his interview with ABC, Comey said he didn’t vote in the 2016 presedenital election because he wanted to preserve the integrity of the FBI as an independent organization, free from political influence. Comey said he felt the Clinton investigation, and eventually the Trump-Russia investigation, couldn’t save him from being hammered by both sides.
“You’re the FBI, you’re supposed to be finding the facts,” Comey said. “And you’re finding the facts in a world where everybody’s on a side, and can’t possibly understand you’re not on a side. And so you’re inevitably going to get hammered from all points, and you’re going to be involved in politics in some sense, because you’re in the middle of it. I’m the director of the FBI. I’m trying to be outside of politics so intentionally tried not to follow it a lot.”
Following his interview with ABC News and New York Times ‘A Daily Transcript’ podcast, the former FBI Director is scheduled to appear on Fox News’ special report on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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