Everyone’s favorite public moralist, former FBI Director Jim Comey, appears to be under investigation once again. Though, to be fair, it’s probably the case that he’s been under investigation this entire time and we’re simply learning new details.
Federal prosecutors in Washington are reportedly investigating a years-old leak of classified information about a Russian intelligence document, and they appear to be focusing on whether Comey illegally provided details to reporters.
Investigators are scrutinizing at least two news articles about the FBI and Comey, published in The Failing New York Times a and The Failing Washington Post in 2017, that mentioned the Russian government document. Hackers working for Dutch intelligence officials obtained the document and provided it to the FBI, and both its existence and the collection of it were highly classified secrets.
Clinton Case Connection
Remember back in July 2016, when Comey took the extraordinary step of sidelining the DOJ and announcing on his own that charges would not be recommended against Hillary for her use of an illegal private server while secretary of state? The classified document in question reportedly played a key role in his decision to do that.
The document allegedly involves material that Dutch intelligence operatives siphoned off Russian computers and provided to the United States government. The information included a Russian analysis of what appeared to be an email exchange during the 2016 presidential campaign between then-DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundation. If that name sounds familiar, it should. The Open Society Foundation is the supposed “democracy-promoting organization” founded by none other than George Soros.
In the email, Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch would make sure that Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Wasserman Schultz and Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.
That document was reportedly one of the key factors that drove Comey to hold his infamous July 2016 news conference announcing that Hillary would skate. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Comey was supposedly concerned that if Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Hillary, Russia could leak the email. After all, they had the other emails. Who’s to say they wouldn’t have access to others?
It is noteworthy that Comey and others in the bureau apparently took the DWS-Bernado email seriously enough to reverse decades-old protocol to bypass the DOJ altogether when making charging recommendations for Hillary. I have not been able to examine the document for myself, nor has anyone else outside of the immediate investigative group. Thus, neither I nor anyone else can say definitively whether the document is fake. What we can say is that the FBI did not take Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s word for it.
I can also say that Russian disinformation isn’t typically disseminated via Dutch computer hacking. It’s not out of the question that the Russians were aware of Dutch activity within their systems and planted goodies for them to steal, but that’s not the ordinary protocol for disinformation campaigns. It’s not like Putin or the GRU to rely upon a European country to ensure their dirty work gets to the United States.
Whether the document was fake remains an open question. But American officials at the time, at least according to the Failing NYT, did not believe that AG Lynch would hinder the Clinton email investigation, and neither Wasserman Schultz nor Benardo had any inside information about it. That is what is being reported, anyway. I’ll allow you to decide for yourself whether that reporting is credible. Still, the overarching concern was that if Russians had released the information after the inquiry was closed, it could have tainted the outcome, hurt public confidence in the Justice Department and sowed discord.
Cos you know, none of that stuff would happen otherwise. (I really wish WordPress had a sarcasm font.)
Something Larger Brewing?
This is an odd story in several ways, and all of them make one wonder whether this investigation is part of a larger operation underway from AG Barr, John Durham and the crew.
According to multiple outlets, the investigation into the leaks began in recent months, but it is not clear whether prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury or how many witnesses they have interviewed. What prompted the inquiry is also unclear, although it is worth noting that the Russian document was mentioned in a book published last fall, “Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law” by James B. Stewart.
Typically, prosecutors would decline to open investigations into older leaks of classified information because the passage of time makes such cases much harder to pursue as the memories of witnesses fade. Also, the initial leaks can generate more leaks as more officials feel comfortable discussing the information with journalists because it has become public.
Multiple news stories about the classified disclosures also make it harder to determine whether one person was speaking to reporters or several people. And the larger the universe of government officials who have been briefed on classified information, the more difficult it is to find the leaker. In this case, lawmakers were briefed on the Russian document in addition to executive branch officials.
In inquiries where investigators determine that a leak is coming from members of Congress or their staff, political sensitivities make those cases difficult to investigate. Most of the time, such inquiries are dead on arrival. Additionally, investigators could also decline to open an investigation into an older leak because it might further harm national security if the information once again made headlines, as in this inquiry.
Yet, all those rules of thumb have been discarded in this case, which is extremely rare. The mainstream media point to these facts as evidence of a politically-motivated investigation. In their eyes, if the DOJ pursues a leaking case that would be declined 99 times out of 100, it must be due to some sort of political vendetta. In this case, the narrative is that President Trump still has it in for Jim Comey, and thus prosecutors are being pushed to pursue things they never would otherwise.
I think it may be something else.
Consider the fact that the IG report outlined clear misconduct on behalf of Comey relating to the handling of classified information, including misleading investigators about official memos locked in his personal safe. Recall that amidst all the outrage regarding the DOJ’s decision not to pursue charges for his conduct, many posited that it could very well be that they were working on a larger case and didn’t want the IG report to screw up the bigger picture.
Now, all these months later, the revelation that Comey is indeed still under investigation regarding leaking only reinforces that theory. And the fact the leak in question deals with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Loretta Lynch and a George Soros subordinate working to cover for Hillary, the theory that the DOJ is working on something of greater magnitude has been all but proven.
Also consider that Comey’s former #2, ex-Deputy Director Andy McCabe, has been facing similar charges of leaking and lying to FBI investigates for over 20 months now. By all accounts, his case is straightforward. The bureau’s own internal watchdog determined that McCabe lied to them on no fewer than four occasions regarding his own leaks. Despite the slam dunk nature of the case, prosecutors won’t even tell McCabe’s lawyers what type of charges, if any, he’ll be facing.
Letting a guy go is one thing. Catching him redhanded and then leaving him in the dark for nearly two years afterward is quite another. When examining all the facts of both the Comey and McCabe cases, the only explanation that brings everything together is that a larger case is being constructed regarding the conduct of the top levels of the FBI in the years both before and after President Trump was elected.
The only explanation that logically fits our current set of facts is that investigators have been working to deconstruct a larger scheme from the 7th floor of the FBI…or possibly higher. To say that McCabe and Comey have been let off is simply untrue. The former is still waiting to learn his fate while the other remains under a highly sensitive, highly classified investigation. Logical inference leads us to believe that both of them are actually still being probed, and that it doesn’t end with them.
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