Comey Leaked Classified Information

In March of 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee. The full transcript of his testimony is here.

Comey Lying Under Oath.png

I want to discuss the following excerpt of a discussion between Representative Peter King and FBI Director James Comey during that testimony. All emphasis is mine:

KING: I fully understand the media’s fascination with palace intrigue, with which faction of the White House is trying to outdo the other, that’s all — to me, that’s all legitimate, that goes with the game. But if you’re talking about leaking classified information, if you’re talking about leaking investigations, I mean — you’ve stated today that there is an FBI investigation going on. So if the New York Times can be believed, I would think there would have to be somebody from the FBI who is telling them about these purported meetings, which Mr. McCabe said was BS, with the Russian intelligence agencies. Somebody who’s familiar with that investigation spoke to the New York Times. And so I’ll use that as an example and also, one where there’s a small universe.

I think it was on January 6, when yourself, Admiral Rogers, Director Brennan, and General Clapper went to Trump tower to meet with President Trump. The media reports are that at the end of that meeting, Director Comey, you presented president-elect Trump with a copy of the now infamous or famous dossier. And I don’t know how many people were in the room, but within hours, that was leaked to the media and that gave the media the excuse or the rationale to publish almost the entire dossier.

Do you — does that violate any law? I mean you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the United States and it had to be a very, very small universe of people who knew that you handed them that dossier and it was leaked out within hours. Are you making any effort to find out who leaked it and do you believe that constitute a criminal violation?

COMEY: I can’t say, Mr. King except I can answer in general.

KING: Yes.

COMEY: Any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of law and a serious, serious problem. I’ve spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures and where they came from. It’s very, very hard.

Often times, it doesn’t come from the people who actually know the secrets. It comes from one hop out, people who heard about it or were told about it. And that’s the reason so much information that reports to be accurate classified information is actually wrong in the media. Because the people who heard about it didn’t hear about it right. But, it is an enormous problem whenever you find information that is actually classified in the media.

We don’t talk about it because we don’t wanna confirm it, but I do think it should be investigated aggressively and if possible, prosecuted so people take as a lesson, this is not OK. This behavior can be deterred and its deterred by locking some people up who have engaged in criminal activity.

KING: Well, could you say it was — obviously, Admiral Rogers was in the room, you were in the room, General Clapper was in the room and Director Brennan was in the room. Were there any other people in the room that could’ve leaked that out?

I mean this isn’t a report that was circulated among 20 people. This is an unmasking of names where you may have 20 people in the NSA and a hundred people in the FBI, its not putting together a report or the intelligence agency. This is four people in a room with the president-elect of the United States. And I don’t know who else was in that room and that was leaked out, it seemed within minutes or hours, of you handing him that dossier and it was so confidential, if you read the media reports that you actually handed it to him separately.

So believe me, I’m not saying it was you. I’m just saying, it’s a small universe of people that would’ve known about that. And if it is a disclosure of classified information, if you’re going to start with investigating the leaks, to me that would be one place where you could really start to narrow it down.

COMEY: And again, Mr. King, I can’t comment because I do not ever wanna confirm a classified conversation with a president or president-elect. I can tell you my general experience. It often turns out, there are more people who know about something you expected.

At first, both because there may be more people involved in the thing than you realized, not — not this particular, but in general. And more people have been told about it or heard about it or staff have been briefed on it. And those echoes are in my experience, what most often ends up being shared with reporters.

KING: Well, could you tell us who else was in the room that day?

COMEY: I’m sorry?

KING: Could you tell us who else was in the room with you that day?

COMEY: No, because I’m not going to confirm that there was such a conversation because then, I might accidentally confirm something that was in the newspaper.

KING: But could you tell us who was in the room, whether or not there was a conversation?

COMEY: No, I’m not confirming there was a conversation. In a classified setting, I might be able to share more with you, but I’m not going to confirm any conversations with either President Obama or President Trump or when President Trump was the President-elect.

KING: Well, not the conversation or even the fact that you gave it to him, but can you — can you tell us who was in the room for that briefing that you gave?

COMEY: That you’re saying later ended up in the newspaper?

KING: Yes.

COMEY: So my talking about who was in the room would be a confirmation that was in the newspaper was classified information, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to help people who did something that — that is unauthorized.

KING: Yeah, but we all know that the four of you went to Trump Tower for the briefing, I mean that’s not classified, is it?

COMEY: How do we all know that, though?

KING: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

COMEY: Yeah.

KING: You know, you can — you see the predicament we’re in, here.

COMEY: I get it. I get it. But we are duty-bound to protect classified information, both in the first when we get it, and then to make sure we don’t accidentally jeopardize classified information by what we say about something that appears in the media.

Despite Representative Peter King’s repeated attempts to get Director Comey to discuss the question, Director Comey repeatedly refused to answer based on the following undisputed facts reiterated by Director Comey:

• It was a “classified meeting” with the President-Elect.

• As a result, Director Comey could not discuss any discussions that went on at such a meeting, because it would also be classified.

• Any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of law which should be prosecuted.

• As Director of the FBI, he could not confirm that a classified conversation with a president or president-elect actually occurred.

• Director Comey could not even talk about who was in the room, because that would be a confirmation of a classified meeting.

• Director Comey said that he was “duty-bound to protect classified information”.


 

With that as prologue, I have one simple question.

James Comey took official FBI memos, memos that he prepared on FBI time on an FBI computer to record classified details of classified discussions at a classified meeting where according to Comey himself even the existence of the meeting is classified, and then leaked the memos to the media.

On what planet is this NOT a crime?

Last night Comey claimed that leaking them was all perfectly fine because these memos weren’t classified, nor were they FBI property, they were his “personal diary” …

This is total madness … the Deep State on steroids.

Best regards to everyone on a day which may bring the last rain before summer to our bit of land on the hillside overlooking the blue Pacific,

w.


Hat tip to Steve McIntyre, who pointed out this most interesting testimony. You might consider following him on Twitter, @ClimateAudit. He is always both interesting and accurate.

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27 thoughts on “Comey Leaked Classified Information

  1. At a minimum, Comey violated 18USC798 (mishandling classified information—the memos), 18USC641 (misappropriation of federal property—the memos), and 18USC1924 (misappropriation of classified information—the memos). But then, so did HRC using her private email server, for which he wrote a draft absolution memo months before crucial interviews concluded the HRC investigation. So in his mind, he has done nothing wrong just like HRC. They both should go down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Frankly this is a very deep examination of the probity and veracity the constitution of the USA. It’s a system very cleverly designed to cross check the machinations of those who would try to circumvent and misdirect it’s purpose. If it fails here, if Comey and the diabolical Clinton gang succeed here then it makes me really sad because it means we’re all at risk.

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      • Possibly, one mistake that Congress made was not creating a separate prosecutorial power under either Congress or the courts. If there is wrong doing in the Executive branch how do you prosecute? We’ve already seen that with Holder and others being in contempt of Congress and nothing happening. Not to mention Clapper and Brennan (and others) committing felonies by lying to Congress.

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        • That’s not something Congress can make. The Constitution defines the three branches of Government to be equal.

          This means that the Executive Branch is very limited in what it can do to a Senator who is executing their duties, and we all know how limited the remedies are against a Judge who misbehaves.

          Similarly, the powers against the Executive branch by Congress are limited. They do exist, which is why there is talk about impeaching people at the DOJ who are not cooperating with congress.

          But the expectation is that each of the three branches is supposed to police their own.

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          • “But the expectation is that each of the three branches is supposed to police their own.” Which has now shown to be a failure. The FBI is hopelessly infiltrated and must be cleansed, ditto the over-structure of Dept Justice in its entirety. Leftist ideology is a cancer riddled throughout our government and we HAVE to cut it out.

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          • The FBI and the DOJ are creations of Congress and they have oversight over the Executive branch (excepting the President). Making the DOJ part of the courts or creating the equivalent in the Judicial system seems well within Congresses powers. Anyway, aren’t Lawyers already called “officers of the court”?

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  2. Willis, I like you cannot fathom how Comey isn’t indicted based on his own public statements. He sent a memo describing his work as the FBI Director and he says that’s a PERSONAL memo? What legal theory is he using? Totally insane — delusional.

    If he and Hillary do not get indicted, then justice in this country is a total mockery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He likely will be. The IG has been investigating the Clinton email ‘investigation’ under Comey since Trump was elected. That report is due in a couple of weeks. Sessions said he had appointed US District Attorney Huber (originally an Obama nominee, renominated by Trump at Orrin Hatch’s suggestion) to be the federal prosecutor working with IG Horowitz. Thatnremoves the claims anout political prosecutorial bias. McCabe has already been criminally refered by the IG after the IG McCabe report was released. Thatnprovides a strong process timing indicator.
      There are also bigger fish than Comey to catch—Yates and Lynch (18USC1018 false attestation in re the FISA warrants on Varter Page), maybe Brennan and Clapper, HRCper at least the same three felonies as Comey. I took Trump’s ‘Lock her up’ campaign rally chants as a campaign promise.
      When ‘hunting’ big game this politically dangerous, everything must be done carefully and impecably. Meanwhile, Comey is providing ample evidence necessary to convist him by foolishly running his mouth to promote his book. Trump obviously knows via his Comey crime tweets. The table is being set for large servings of whoopass. But the ‘dinner’ isn’t finished cooking just yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In another interview Comey said:
    “I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” he said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”
    If there was no evidence then he just should have said that there was none. But instead he comes out with the rough equivalent of “when did you stop beating your wife”. Another problem are FBI “memos” and “302’s” (the FBI written transcripts from notes or memory of interviews). These are so outdated relative to present audio/video recording capabilities as to be ridiculous and very ripe for abuse. Some have already suggested that McCabe may have falsified a 302 against Flynn and the problem is that the 302 is taken as absolute gospel; if the victim attempts to deny what was written then the FBI auto charges with “lying” which is a felony. Even a “procedural” lie (did you cross 4th street at around 8pm on July 5th; you say no but we have commercial video showing otherwise) can result in severe penalties, which is another example of severe abuse. For anyone paying attention to the procedures which are really just trapdoors, the FBI’s credibility has been nought for a very long time as many previous famous cases have shown.
    Unfortunately that part of the public (and congress) who only see the FBI as a weapon to be used when necessary to achieve results unobtainable by Democratic means are always all too eager to use them for that purpose.

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  4. Willis, I told the story of my education on handling USG documents in US Army. Fact is there are a lot of people currently in jail for doing far less than have Comey, McCabe, Wienstein and Mueller, just to hit the four most obvious points. All four have lied under oath(agents of FBI are legally under oath at all times) to Congressional committees, the President, the Attorney General and to other members of the FBI. Exactly how can losing the logbook for a vehicle or piece of equipment result in jail time whilst these SENIOR members of the DoJ lie, openly and repeatedly, to everyone and their dog?

    The term Constitutional Crisis has been tossed about by Democrats in Congress and I have to agree. When senior law enforcement officials hold themselves to be outside the laws they enforce then we are indeed in the midst of a Constitutional Crisis.

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    • Yeah, Hotel, we may yet see the “Constitutional Crisis” gather momentum amongs the proles that watch CNN/MSLSD/non-cable news.

      As with Hotel, I worked with many classified documents, especially as an Ops Plans weenie for a fighter wing and as the “Top Secret Control Officer”. The excuse that Comey used for HRC almost resulted in my brain exploding. There is no “intent” required for a conviction of gross negligence. The canidate and her buddies had no regard for the rules concerning “sensitive” material whether officially classified or not, especially diplomatic correspondence and meetings. The wanton destruction of phones and thousands of records cracks me up!!! Look what the feds did to that lawyer Cohen. No warning, no supena but an outright Gestapo-like raid and they snatched everything!!!! God, imagine if they had done that to HRC and her friends like Uma/Buma/Huma or whatchya call her?

      The term “Top Secret” is vastly overworked by the media. I worked with such from 1968 onward, and had my clearance back in 1961 but only sat thru one TS briefing until 70’sand 80’s when I was much senior. Was around the Special Access programs like Have Blue, Senior Trend and so forth, but my clearance for the Navy A-12 program was never approved even tho I had an active TS clearance in the late 80’s. Not sure Constant Peg was true blue special access, but the briefing facilities and such were only at the Secret” level.

      I will guarantee that if I had taken any notes or written a memo and the contents or actual items became out of my physical possession that I would still be in jail, and no “intent” required for conviction. And there’s a lotta difference between writing a “Memo or Record” to cover your a$$ and a personal “diary” kinda thing.

      Whole thing shows the elite status and disregard for the law amongst those in the “Inner Party”.

      We proles need not give up, there just might be some justice when all the dust settles.

      Gums sends…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I threw this up as a comment over at SDA, seems to fit here also:

    The lawyers/media/ politicians have created the proverbial “Gordian Knot”.
    Gives them lots to talk about….. endlessly.
    It gives the impression of …..competence, when it is all just stalling, while trying to figure out an exit strategy.

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  6. “COMEY: And again, Mr. King, I can’t comment because I do not ever wanna confirm a classified conversation with a president or president-elect. I can tell you my general experience. It often turns out, there are more people who know about something you expected.”

    Comey is correct in both those cases. A classified meeting date, time, location, information offered, and names of people attending is supposed to remain classified. Classified material relevant to a certain subject matter is compiled by numerous personnel, anyone of whom could have leaked their personal knowledge, narrow or expansive, about the subject matter to the press.

    Whoever leaked the information should be prosecuted. Of the many circuses created by the Democrats, this one I have not followed very thoroughly, so I am only commenting based on my background which included possessing a big top secret clearance.

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  7. Its going to take a lot of DOJ-IG criminal referrals for me to regain my trust in the FBI, CIA, NSA etc. What these agency heads have done directly challenges and weakens the U.S. consitution regarding the built-in framework and checks & balances. I do believe in the framework of the U.S. Constitution. The checks & balances are on the line here. It remains to be seen whether the DOJ will arise to the occasion & ensure that our constitution is upheld or whether the U.S. will slump into permanent banana country status. This is not trivial issue. It ultimately questions the naive assumption in the constitutional checks & balances whether the DOJ, CIA, NSA can remain non-political governmental organizations given the politically appointed agency heads. I really don’t think so based on what we have seen happen.

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    • > Its going to take a lot of DOJ-IG criminal referrals for me to regain my trust in the FBI, CIA, NSA etc.

      no number of referrals will regain my trust, there need to be competent prosecutions

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  8. And thinking in reverse on leaking classified information, so much stuff has been leaked by Obama friendly officials in the intel agencies to give the president heartburn, and other illegal practices conducted like the unmasking of Americans intercepted indirectly in intel gathering and used to influence the election in favor of Clinton, that the collusion with Russia must be a non-starter having never had a whisper of a leak in all this time with a 0artisan investigation. Sorry, the sentence turned out a bit long.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. @Rich van Slooten. We in the democratic world have this problem where the elected government of the day embed operatives within our public services. It’s much more pervasive with centre left/left wing governments because to be fair they are on the decline and are trying to save their arses. In New Zealand where I live this is a problem. Governments routinely appoint useful echo chambers whose tenure can suddenly become compromised by a new government with a different philosophical approach. I bet this is what happened to Comey. He existed in the warm fuzzy soft corruption that was the Obama/Clinton admin. I hope he gets whats coming to him.

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    • The swamp is deep. A satirical view of how it operates is documented in the book and British TV show “Yes, Minister”. I used to think it was funny but now I find the truths in it frightening.

      Like

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