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Inspector General Slams Comey For Release Of Memos

Comey will not be prosecuted for violations of DOJ policy.

The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has released its findings with respect to former FBI Director James Comey. The just-released report (available to read here) concludes that Comey violated DOJ policy by releasing several memos about his conversations with President Trump. The DOJ declined to prosecute Comey over the releases earlier this month.

The conclusion of the report notes, “Even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information” and points out that “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.”

The OIG found that Comey’s memos were official FBI documents rather than personal documents as he had claimed. Comey also violated FBI policy in not returning the documents and failing to disclose immediately that classified information had been released. One memo reportedly contained classified information, but the OIG found that Comey did not release any classified material to the media.

Comey responded by declaring victory on Twitter, saying, “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”

Comey also sharply attacked his critics, tweeting, “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’—ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”

It is difficult to see the report as a victory for Comey except in that he was found to have only broken policies rather than laws and that he won’t face prosecutions. The report firmly condemns the former FBI director’s judgment in taking matters into his own hands but falls short of supporting all of the accusations made by his critics. The report is yet another in a series of such reports in which neither side is totally vindicated and the truth lies in the middle.

The OIG report released today was focused entirely on Comey’s actions. A subsequent report is expected soon that will detail the investigation into allegations that Department of Justice improperly spied on members of the Trump campaign.

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