But the portion of the report Comey highlighted said he did not release classified information to members of the media. That’s true; Comey, through his friend and lawyer Daniel Richman, leaked sensitive but unclassified law enforcement material to the media. But it’s also true that Comey leaked classified information to his lawyers. Comey gave classified information to people who were not authorized to receive it.
Comey wrote seven memos about his interactions with President Trump. In June 2017, the month after Comey was fired, the FBI checked the memos to see if any contained classified information. From the report: “The FBI determined that Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level. The FBI designated Memos 4, 5, and 6 as unclassified ‘For Official Use Only.'”
Memo 4 was the one Comey leaked, through Richman, to the New York Times with the hope of setting off a firestorm that would result in the appointment of a special counsel. The inspector general concluded the leak violated Justice Department and FBI policy, as well as Comey’s terms of employment. But it had no classified material in it.
The problem for Comey was Memo 2, which he sent to Richman and to Comey’s two other lawyers, Patrick Fitzgerald and David Kelley.