Watchdog group: Former FBI Director Comey violated policies by leaking classified information
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The internal watchdog for the Justice Department released a scathing report Thursday, according to the New York Post, saying former FBI Director James Comey violated the bureau’s policies by releasing memos containing details of private conversations with President Donald Trump and set a “dangerous example” for FBI employees in an attempt to “achieve a personally desired outcome.”
The watchdog office says Comey broke FBI rules by giving a memo containing sensitive but unclassified information to a lawyer friend, Daniel Richman, with instructions to share the contents with a New York Times reporter.
“On May 16, 2017, Comey provided a separate copy of Memo 4 to Richman, who was one of Comey’s attorneys and also a close personal friend. Richman also had served as a Special Government Employee at the FBI during a portion of the time that Comey was FBI Director. Comey sent photographs of both pages of Memo 4 to Richman via text message from Comey’s personal cell phone. Comey instructed Richman to share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times,” the report states.
“Comey did not seek FBI authorization before providing the contents of Memo 4, through Richman, to a reporter,” it further states.
“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, 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,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in his report.
Horowitz also found that, “Members of Comey’s senior leadership team used the adjectives ‘surprised,’ ‘stunned,’ ‘shocked,’ and ‘disappointment’ to describe their reactions to learning that Comey acted on his own to provide the contents of Memo 4, through Richman, to a reporter.
He noted that Comey said he was compelled to do so because of his love for the country, the Justice Department and the FBI.