James Comey's pedestal is crumbling
Fired FBI Director James Comey has had a long run as Mister Probity in the nonstop issue of Russia hacking the U.S. election.
Remember how Democrats raged when President Trump got rid of the guy for incompetence in his congressional testimony last May? Remember the seismic shock – and how it led to the appointment of a special counsel? Democrats still embittered about Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump in turn raised Comey's stature as that of a noble watchdog and guardian of democracy instead an incompetent. After that, Comey got a multi-million-dollar book advance, reportedly as high as $10 million.
But the Associated Press now reports that Comey's agency, the FBI, pretty well ignored Russian hacking attempts going on against 19,000 Gmail accounts held by U.S. officials.
WASHINGTON – The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has found.
Nearly 80 interviews with Americans targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, turned up only two cases in which the FBI had provided a heads-up. Even senior policymakers discovered they were targets only when the AP told them, a situation some described as bizarre and dispiriting.
The excuse given was that there were too many to inform. But the AP went and interviewed 80 of the most sensitive accounts and pretty well found that they didn't even try. Granted, most of these people were leftists, and plenty probably would have shrieked they'd get cooties if the FBI called on them with such a warning, yelling that the FBI was "the real enemy." Or perhaps the bureau worried that these swamp things would leak like a sieve to their media allies. But surely some of them should have been notified. Some guardians of democracy.
And it's certainly of a piece with President Obama's failure to take any action on Russian electoral meddling so long as he was convinced Hillary Clinton was winning the race.
It just goes to show an emerging picture of Comey as an incompetent in addition to a partisan whose sympathies slant left.
Besides ignoring the hacking attempts, he also turned out all along to be wiretapping Trump Tower, looking for evidence of Russian collusion, even though he said he wasn't.
He pre-wrote his letter exonerating Hillary Clinton for running an illegal private server hosting sensitive State Department communications in some guy's bathroom – wrote it before the investigation was even finished.
He admitted he had handed information memos to a Columbia University buddy expressly for the purpose of leaking them to the press.
Now it turns out he was about as concerned as Obama about Russian hacking attempts in the days when Hillary was winning.
Was this guy really about guarding and protecting America's secrets? Or was he just a bumbling partisan hack? That $10 million he reportedly got as a book advance is starting to look less and less like a smart investment that will sell books and advance Comey's stature. Right now, Comey's legacy is falling apart.