It is very strange, but it seems almost everything in recent American political history translates out to the FBI not functioning as it should. While certainly this is because of a type of political correctness, it is proximately caused by the conscious or unconscious bias of its former director, James Comey, and his being in denial of that bias.
The criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton for violation of the espionage statute was sabotaged by Obama’s Justice Department. No subpoenas were issued. (The FBI cannot issue grand jury subpoenas; only the Justice Department can.) This is completely not normal; in such a case the FBI cannot work as it should.
The non-issuance of subpoenas by the Justice Department cannot have merely happened, as if by some freak of nature. It is an execrable act that fairly can be said to constitute sabotage, and indeed if anything in recent months has constituted obstruction of justice, this is it. Largely, but not solely, because of this, the FBI’s investigation was a sham, unprecedentedly fake, truncated, and weird.
Then-director Comey should have made this public and most certainly should have resigned in protest. Yet because Comey did not, the fact that the investigation was a sham, that it was obstructed, if not in a legal, then in a descriptive sense, and that it was, yes, a fake Potemkin village sort of investigation was not apparent to the American public. Comey used the aura of the FBI to give the opposite impression. Certainly the media could have pointed this out, but it did not. Comey must have known what his actively going along with the program would mean: a fraud upon the public. He even went along with the program, as it were, by calling it a “matter” and not a “criminal investigation,” as directed by Attorney General Lynch.
Was he in active and conscious cahoots with those wishing to traduce our system? Let us be charitable and give him the benefit of the doubt. If not conspiratorially intentional, however, how to describe his actions? They were not lackadaisical. After all, if it had not been for Comey’s strenuous tergiversations during and after his infamous press conference outlining the case against Mrs. Clinton, even that truncated and malformed investigation would have resulted in her indictment and conviction.
A review of other facts and actions of Mr. Comey can shed light upon his motivation.
For instance, he purportedly and infamously wrote a memo to himself concerning his meeting with President Trump. It is clear that the president did not obstruct justice; Comey admitted to the same. But why was there no memo regarding Obama’s attorney general Lynch’s directive to Comey to call the espionage investigation of Mrs. Clinton a “matter” and not a criminal investigation? And no memo regarding the refusal of the DOJ to issue subpoenas? This evidences an immense asymmetry in his mindset.
What of the IRS actively and concertedly targeting conservative groups? This is clearly illegal. (One of the impeachment counts against Nixon – Article 2 - was that he had attempted to use the IRS in a similar manner.) The object, let us remember, was to interfere in a presidential election. It is hard to conclude otherwise than that Mr. Comey’s FBI did not investigate this: the victims, it appears, were not even interviewed. In a world in which the FBI functions normally, this cannot occur.
Consider further that President Trump repeatedly requested Comey to tell the public that he was not the subject of an investigation, inasmuch as that was the plain truth and inasmuch as he was being accused and treated as being under such investigation. Comey did not do so. (See his prepared testimony to the Senate, “March 30 phone call.”) Yet he did go along with Lynch in not making clear to the public that Mrs. Clinton was under a criminal investigation. And his explanation as to why he did not do so is both risible and frightening: it would have, in his words, created a “duty to correct” should there ever be an investigation; but it is also indicative of a person straining to justify the unjustifiable.
There are many more such asymmetries in Mr. Comey’s performance and activities, but these will do. It is hard to do other than to draw the conclusion that he has great sympathy for the left, and an antipathy towards the right. This is untenable for an FBI agent, and completely beyond the pale for an FBI director. Which is why, of course, he is in denial.
It all worked for a time. Mr. Comey’s fevered gavotte of faux-integrity, his energetic denials of his own bias (he should have resigned on multiple occasions) was indeed part of the shield behind which the shenanigans were engaged in. It certainly did concerning the IRS scandal. It worked fairly well, probably, because it was in accord with the wishes of Attorney General Lynch and tolerated, at best, if not encouraged, by President Obama.
But now the jig is up.
We need two things. One, we need to have an FBI which is non-politicized. Two, we need to perceive it as such. One more thing would be nice. It would be nice to be spared any further exposure to the wretched spectacle of Mr. Comey’s attempts at justification. Enough.
The author is a former FBI agent, awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement (NIMA).