Within a few days of the firing, both current and former FBI officials began pushing back against the White House’s claims. Then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI” and that “the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.”

Here at Lawfare, Nora Ellingsen—who served as a counterterrorism analyst at the FBI for several years—talked with roughly 20 of her former colleagues. She characterized the opinion of Comey among the FBI’s rank and file as almost universally positive. “Nearly everyone loved him,” she wrote, and the “degree of consensus on this point … has been incredible.” She went on: “All of the people I talked to described having the same reaction when they heard that the director had been fired: complete shock, followed by deep sadness.”

The president of the FBI Agents Association, Thomas O’Connor, called Comey’s firing a “gut punch.”