All through the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private bathroom email server and the exposure of classified information, I tended to take a wait and see attitude and gave FBI Director James Comey significant benefit of the doubt, if not outright praise at times. He was digging up a lot of information and, as I saw it, going out of his way to keep the public informed as to what was being found and the direction the case was taking. Even at the end, while highly dubious about his conclusion, I found myself having at least a bit of sympathy for him when considering the mountain he would have had to climb in bringing charges against a presidential candidate in the middle of a heated campaign, not to mention the potential backlash from the various allies of the Clintons.
Since that time however, we’ve learned more and more about all the maneuvers which took place, largely to the benefit of Hillary Clinton and her staff. Some were truly spectacular in their jaw dropping nature and now it sounds as if at least some of the agents in the Bureau are fed up with Comey’s handling of the case. The New York Post spoke to some of them and describes them as being nearly in open revolt.
Veteran FBI agents say FBI Director James Comey has permanently damaged the bureau’s reputation for uncompromising investigations with his “cowardly” whitewash of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information using an unauthorized private email server.
Feeling the heat from congressional critics, Comey last week argued that the case was investigated by career FBI agents, “So if I blew it, they blew it, too.”
But agents say Comey tied investigators’ hands by agreeing to unheard-of ground rules and other demands by the lawyers for Clinton and her aides that limited their investigation.
“In my 25 years with the bureau, I never had any ground rules in my interviews,” said retired agent Dennis V. Hughes, the first chief of the FBI’s computer investigations unit.
The list of perceived sins which have angered some of the agents is lengthy. One of the most recent (and perhaps worst) was Comey’s choice to agree to destroy Cheryl Mills’ laptop after an investigation into its contents was severely limited. The agents also cite the number of witnesses who were offered immunity in exchange for testimony, including some who might have wound up being targets of the investigation themselves. That’s understandable in many criminal cases because you’re willing to let some of the smaller fish walk if they help nail down the primary target. But as noted in the interviews, the agents were quick to point out that some of these immunized witnesses still suffered critical memory lapses when recounting the events surrounding the handling of the server.
I still find it difficult to believe that the fix was in and Comey intentionally let Clinton off the hook out of some loyalty or lack of objectivity. Perhaps I’m just naive, but the man stood on a long and distinguished record of service before this all began, spanning administrations from both parties. He simply doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who would sell out his integrity that cheaply. But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t turn tail and back off when the job looked too tough to drag across the finish line. And if some of his agents see this as damaging to the reputation of the Bureau, it’s hard to blame them.