OIG: Comey Made Up Rules and Was Insubordinate
By Shari Dovale
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released their report, laboriously long at 568 pages. Keep in mind that this is the very watered down version for the public. It is intimidating, yet worth the read once you get into it. See it for yourself HERE. (I will quote from the report, my emphasis added.)
One of the points that the OIG was tasked with were the allegations that the Department of Justice (DOJ) or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, then Director of FBI James Comey’s public announcement on July 5, 2016. (See page 2)
Comey obviously played fast and loose with his handling of the Clinton email fiasco. Charged with investigating, and guided by strict rules within his own department as well as the DOJ, Comey seemed to decide for himself which rules he would follow, and which he would not.
Comey was required by government policies to coordinate with the DOJ and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA), however he announced during his public press conference that he was not doing so.
OIG Report Page 20:
The FBI Media Policy Guide specifies that when releasing information to the media via a press conference, FBI OPA personnel “must request approval…in advance from DOJ-OPA for any case or investigation that may result in an indictment.” Further, FBI personnel “must coordinate with DOJ OPA on any materials, quotes, or information to be released in the press conference.
OIG Report Page 196: Comey’s statement (publicly delivered on July 5, 2016):
I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.
This was delivered shortly after then Attorney General Loretta Lynch, after meeting with former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016, announced that she would accept the recommendations that the FBI laid out in the case. The timing was suspect.
On the day that Lynch made her announcement, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok sent text messages to each other about it. The following is very telling (found in the footnotes, page 196):
Text messages between Page and Strzok on July 1, 2016, the day Lynch announced she would accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and agents, speculated that the tarmac meeting was the reason for inserting the “no coordination” language:
5:34 p.m., Strzok: “Holy cow…nyt breaking Apuzzo, Lync[h] will accept whatever rec D[irector Comey] and career prosecutors make. No political appointee input.”
5:41 p.m., Strzok: “Lynch. Timing not great, but whatever. Wonder if that’s why the no coordination language added[.]”
7:29 p.m., Strzok: “Timing looks like hell. Will appear choreographed. All major news networks literally leading with ‘AG to accept FBI D’s recommendation.’”
7:30 p.m., Page: “Yeah, that is awful timing. Nothing we can do about it.”
7:31 p.m., Strzok: “What I meant was, did DOJ tell us yesterday they were doing this, so D added that language[?]”
7:31 p.m., Strzok: “Yep. I told Bill the same thing. Delaying just makes it worse.”
7:35 p.m., Page: “And yes. I think we had some warning of it. I know they sent some statement to rybicki, bc he called andy.”
7:35 p.m., Page: “And yeah, it’s a real profile in courag[e], since she knows no charges will be brought.”
“Since she knows no charges will be brought”? This certainly sounds damning, suggesting that the fix was in long before. But that is part of what the OIG was sent in to determine, right? In their findings, the OIG report states they found:
then Director Comey chose to deviate from the FBI’s and the Department’s established procedures and norms and instead engaged in his own subjective, ad hoc decisionmaking.
Additionally, (page 241):
We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, for the admitted purpose of preventing them from telling him not to make the statement, and to instruct his subordinates in the FBI to do the same.
They also found that the DOJ revised their policies to reflect this situation.
OIG Report Page 21 (footnotes):
The Department significantly revised the USAM Media Relations provisions in November 2017, retitling them under “Confidentiality and Media Contacts Policy.” This report primarily addresses the USAM Media Relations provisions in effect at the time of the events within the scope of this review. We consider the revised USAM provisions related to the media in Chapter Six of this report
To recap, Comey deviated from policy, willingly. The DOJ revised it’s policy later, so it covered everyone’s backsides on that point.
The OIG found Comey to be insubordinate by concealing his intentions from his superiors.
Lynch made her decision to publicly state that she intended to leave the decision to Comey after meeting with Bill Clinton. Even their agents involved didn’t buy this one.
The OIG acknowledges these points, yet makes no recommendations to hold any individual accountable for their actions.
What else will will find in the report?
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