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Former FBI Director Admitted He Was the Source Of At Least One Leak To the Press (theoutline.com) 559

Shortly after his dismissal as head of the FBI, James Comey authorized "a close friend" to leak the contents of his memos to the press in order to prompt a special counsel investigation, he said today. From a report: Former FBI Director James Comey testified that he asked a friend, a law professor at Columbia University, to leak details of his dinner with the President to The New York Times, including the claim that the President asked Comey to drop the investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian officials. Comey kept meticulous memos of all of his interactions with Trump, and he gave that memo to a friend to pass it along to the Times in order to spark a special investigation. "You considered this not a document of the government, but your own personal document that you could share with the media as you want to?" Senator Roy Blunt asked Comey. "Correct," Comey replied. "I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the President. As a private citizen, I felt free to share that. I thought it very important to get it out." Edward Snowden tweeted, "It seems the [former] FBI Director agrees: sometimes the only moral decision is to break the rules."
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Former FBI Director Admitted He Was the Source Of At Least One Leak To the Press

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  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:13PM (#54578479)
    Who else could leak a private memo written by Comey except Comey himself?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:18PM (#54578533)

      In his written statement (posted several places) he makes it clear that he distributed said memos and discussed them with FBI leadership. So I'm not sure that 'private' is the correct term or that he wrote them as a private citizen outside of his role as FBI director.

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:43PM (#54578807) Homepage

        Also made clear was the fact that the memos weren't classified, and they were deliberately written to not contain information that was classified, so that they specifically could be made public if the FBI needed to defend itself against charges of what Comey perceived to be a White House attempt to influence an investigation.

        Comparing this to the leaking of classified information is silly and bordering on clickbait. And what the heck is this crappy site that Slashdot is linking to as its article source?

        • by clong83 ( 1468431 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @02:26PM (#54579221)
          A thousand times this. Mod parent up.

          "Leaking" the contents of an unclassified memo that you wrote is no different that simply calling the press and saying "Hey, I had a private conversation with Trump about xyz". It just carries a bit more weight when it is written up and dated appropriately. If you aren't divulging classified info, then there is absolutely nothing illegal about publishing it. Unlike what Snowden did....
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Obfuscant ( 592200 )

            "Leaking" the contents of an unclassified memo that you wrote is no different that simply calling the press and saying "Hey, I had a private conversation with Trump about xyz".

            Right. When it's the content of a private meeting between the chief of the executive branch and the chief law enforcement officer, it's BUSINESS, not PERSONAL, and it is not Comey's memo to release.

            It just carries a bit more weight when it is written up and dated appropriately.

            It carries no more weight. Anyone can write a "memo" and put a "date" on it and have it say whatever he wants it to. I could have a memo here that says clong83 told me he was the mastermind behind the assassination of JFK, and it has a date just a week after that shooting took place. Does it carry any more weight

            • Right. When it's the content of a private meeting between the chief of the executive branch and the chief law enforcement officer, it's BUSINESS, not PERSONAL, and it is not Comey's memo to release.

              Sure it is. When I make private business conversations, I'm allowed to talk to other people about them so long as it doesn't harm the business (i.e. divulging trade secrets, security posture, etc.) What Comey leaked did none of the above, and it wasn't classified either.

              Does it make the president look bad? Yup, but that's not a crime by any definition.

        • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @02:40PM (#54579345) Journal
          The problem is that it undermines his assertion that he was doing things 'by the book' and a non-political person. It is the same kind of thing that he did with his Clinton investigation announcements.
    • This. I'm surprised this comes as news to anyone.

  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:15PM (#54578499) Homepage
    Yes, yes, I would say this headline is absolutely, 100% the key takeaway of the Comey testimony, yes.
    • No. I think the key takeaway was:

      I first met then-President-Elect Trump on Friday, January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York. I was there with other Intelligence Community (IC) leaders to brief him and his new national security team on the findings of an IC assessment concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the election. At the conclusion of that briefing, I remained alone with the President- Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.

      The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ganjadude ( 952775 )
      to me the key take away is that loretta lynch did in fact ask the FBI to stop investigating hillary clinton
      • That is not true. Read his deposition again.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Right. It's not an "investigation" it's a "matter".

          What is "is"?

        • i watched it live... its an accurate representation of what happened according to comey
  • Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:19PM (#54578547) Homepage

    No rules were broken. The documents were completely unclassified, and he was fully within his rights to release them. The only mistake is calling it a "leak".

    • Tag it "clickbait". Basically, Comey transferred information he was legally and ethically allowed to transfer in a situation where it seemed the best course to protect the integrity of the investigation and minimize the damages. Someone is making a big deal about releasing previously-unreleased information.

    • Re:Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:31PM (#54578669) Journal
      Mod parent up. I don't believe he broke any laws, either. Furthermore, I think he did what he did knowing damned well that he'd probably get canned regardless, but thought that the truth of things getting out into the light was more important than his own personal welfare, which is admirable.
    • Memos he recorded as an FBI representative are the property of the FBI. What if you take your notepads home from work and sent them to the press when you were no longer an employee?
    • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @04:16PM (#54580227) Homepage Journal

      I guess you [BradleyUffner] deserve the insightful mod, but you didn't dig deep enough. There's another "mistake" when Slashdot uses that framing of the disclosure of the information. My question is whether Slashdot's mistake was an innocent form of clickbait or symptomatic of a deeper and darker sickness. Here's a couple of darker theories:

      One theory is that Slashdot has been invaded and largely destroyed by rightwing trolls and (paid?) thugs merely because it was there and a soft target. Not a juicy target these days, since it is obvious that the readership and participation are way down, but Putin's novice cyber-warriers have to start somewhere.

      Another theory is worse. Maybe Slashdot's bad financial model and possible desperation from the new owners (of the debt?) are making it cheap and easy to bribe them to tilt the system in that direction.

      Anyway, I think there is a fairly skilled liar at work here. The premise of this story is a high-level lie of framing. Reporting the truth about matters of public record to the media, even through an intermediary who has friends who are reporters, is NOT the same thing as leaking secret information. Trying to present the information in the "Leak" frame is a LIE, and no more truthful just because it is a "clever" Level 4 lie. In contrast, #PresidentTweety is a quite unskilled liar, usually operating at Levels 0 (self-contradiction) and 1 (counterfactual statements (where any fool can check the facts)). Quite rare that the Donald can even get as high as Level 2 (partial truth) as in his recent out-of-context attack on the Mayor of London.

      The REAL issue here is whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses. I'm convinced he has, but it might be that his feeble attempts to obstruct justice are his most serious offenses since he got into the White House. That also depends on the definitions of "emoluments" and "bribery", and as regards bribery, the directions of the bribes. I'm not at all certain about what sorts of pre-White-House crimes would really carry forward as grounds for impeachment. I actually believe that Trump's most serious crimes are hidden in his tax returns and they involve money laundering for Putin and his cronies.

      Closing with a joke: Be careful what you wish for, Vladimir. How much money will you lose if Trump's dirty laundry gets unlaundered? The fall of the house of Trump could be costly--but I suppose you were too smart to trust the Donald with much money anyway.

  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @01:20PM (#54578557) Homepage
    The director of the FBI leaks his own memos in order to spur an investigation outside his agency.
  • As the summary states:

    "You considered this not a document of the government, but your own personal document that you could share with the media as you want to?" Senator Roy Blunt asked Comey. "Correct," Comey replied. "I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the President. As a private citizen, I felt free to share that. I thought it very important to get it out."

    If that is the case, then it really isn't a leak, or the breaking of a rule. Or, at the least, he didn't believe it was the violation of a rule - perhaps others may feel differently.

    • He was no longer employed by the government. Any such rules outside classified information no longer applied to him. These memo's are the equivalent of a diary, they are a personal recollection of events. They didn't contain classified information. He was free to read them on the nightly news himself.

  • If we operate under the assumption that it's normally not okay to reveal the details of an investigation of the executive branch, there are no guidelines in existence to govern the exceptions.

    Conversely, if all the branches of government conducted the people's business honorably, the exception to the rule would be a rare withholding of information for some aspect of genuine national security.

  • At the time, Comes was a private citizen who shared his knowledge of the contents of an unclassified document. Please explain to me how that is illegal.
  • All the stuff from and about Comey today, and this is the one and only article posted up to this point?

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