even the demagogs at the hill have had it with comey’s grandstanding and his incessant dripfeed of leaks to the media

Trump: “Comey Leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION To The Media. This Is So Illegal”
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jul 10 2017

When we discussed late Sunday’s blockbuster report by The Hill, according to which as part of his leak of personal recollections of his conversations with Trump in hopes of (successfully) launching a special probe into the president’s alleged Russian collusion, former FBI director James Comey also allegedly disclosed classified information in direct violation of FBI rules and regulations, we said:

For an appetizer of what’s to come, look closely at Trump’s twitter feed once the president learns the news of Comey’s alleged transgressions.

Roughly 8 hours later Trump finally caught up, and around 6am slammed Comey tweeting:

Trump also retweeted a Fox News report on The Hill’s article:

For those who missed it, officials familiar with the memos told The Hill that more than half of the documents contained classified information, raising the possibility that Comey broke FBI rules and ignored a security protocol in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Even more ironic is that Comey allegedl violated the same protocol which Hillary Clinton was accused of breaching, and one which James Comey was tasked with investigating last summer, and ultimately found to be a non-event. Judging by Trump’s tweet, as we expected, this is just the start of the next round of recriminations between the president and Comey. We look forward to an official statement from the former FBI chief next.

Comey’s private memos on Trump conversations contained classified material
John Solomon, The Hill, Jul 7 2017

More than half of the memos former FBI chief James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with Pres Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents. This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election. Comey testified last month he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a Columbia University lawyer friend. He asked that lawyer to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director. Sen Roy Blunt asked Comey on Jun 8:

So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document? You considered it to be somehow your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?

Comey answered:

Correct. I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.

Comey insisted in his testimony he believed his personal memos were unclassified, though he hinted one or two documents he created might have been contained classified information. He testified about the one memo he later leaked about former national security adviser Lt-Gen Michael Flynn:

I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. My view was that the content of those unclassified, memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.

But when the seven memos Comey wrote regarding his nine conversations with Trump about Russia earlier this year were shown to Congress in recent days, the FBI claimed all were, in fact, deemed to be government documents. While the Comey memos have been previously reported, this is the first time there has been a number connected to the amount of the memos the ex-FBI chief wrote. Four of the memos had markings making clear they contained information classified at the “secret” or “confidential” level, according to officials directly familiar with the matter. FBI policy forbids any agent from releasing classified information or any information from ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission, and mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property. The agreement all FBI agents sign says:

Unauthorized disclosure, misuse, or negligent handling of information contained in the files, electronic or paper, of the FBI or which I may acquire as an employee of the FBI could impair national security, place human life in jeopardy, result in the denial of due process, prevent the FBI from effectively discharging its responsibilities, or violate federal law. All information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United Snakes of Pindostan. Iwill not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.

Comey indicated in his testimony the memos were in his possession when he left the bureau, leaving him in a position to leak one of them through his lawyer friend to the media. But he testified that he has since turned them over to Robert Mueller. It is not clear whether Comey as director signed the same agreement as his agents, but the contract is considered the official policy of the bureau. When the documents were shown to Congress, it was also unclear whether the information deemed “secret” or “confidential” was classified, either at the time Comey wrote it or later on. Congressional investigators had already begun examining whether Comey’s creation, storage and sharing of the memos violated FBI rules, but the revelation that four of the seven memos included some sort of classified information opens a new door of inquiry into whether classified information was mishandled, improperly stored or improperly shared. Ironically, that was the same issue the FBI investigated in 2015-16 under Comey about Clinton’s private email server, when she as Sec State moved classified information through insecure channels along with her top aides. Comey ultimately concluded in Jul 2016 that Clinton’s email practices were reckless, but that he could not recommend prosecution because FBI agents had failed to find enough evidence that she intended to violate felony statutes prohibiting the transmission of classified information through insecure practices. In a decision panned by Thugs and embraced by Demagogs, he said:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Sec Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

Now, congressional investigators are likely to turn their attention to the same issues to determine if Comey mishandled any classified information in his personal memos. In order to make an assessment, congressional investigators will have to tackle key questions, such as:

  • Where and how were the memos were created, such as whether they were written on an insecure computer or notepad.
  • Where and how the memos were stored, such as inside his home, his briefcase or an insecure laptop.
  • Were any memos shown to private individuals without a security clearance and did those memos contain any classified information
  • When was it determined by the government that the memos contained classified information, before Comey took them and shared one or after.

It would be possible for a panel like Senate Intelligence, House Intelligence or Senate Judiciary to refer the matter to the DoJ’s inspector general, or to the DNI’s inspector general, aides said.

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