As expected, there is no shortage of FBI agents who are upset about the way their boss handled the bureau’s year-long probe into Hillary Clinton’s compromise of top secret materials via her private email server.
In a word, many are angry that Director James Comey not only let her off the hook, but altered the conditions and parameters of the investigation in such a way there was never going to be a serious examination of all the facts. And, hence, no recommendation for prosecution.
As noted by veteran investigative reporter Paul Sperry, writing at the New York Post, agents in general are “ready to revolt” following the pseudo-probe. He notes that veteran agents are blaming Comey for permanently damaging the FBI’s once-established reputation as a non-partisan law enforcement entity that rarely compromised investigations, especially over politics.
In response to congressional critics, Comey said last week that the case was handled by career FBI agents, adding, “If I blew it, they blew it too.” But agents past and present are telling a different story – namely, they’re not letting Comey lay his “cowardly” whitewash on them.
For one thing, agents say Comey tied their hands by agreeing to unprecedented ground rules and other outlandish demands made by lawyers for Clinton and her aides that severely hampered agents.
Dennis V. Hughes, the first head of the FBI’s computer investigations unit, told Sperry, “In my 25 years with the bureau, I never had any ground rules in my interviews.”
In addition, Comey did not to go to Justice Department prosecutors or insist in convening a grand jury that could compel testimony and authorize the seizing of evidence. Rather, he granted immunity to several key witnesses, including some potential targets.
And those immunity deals came with ridiculous side deals, including one that prevented agents from searching for any documents on a Dell laptop owned by former Clinton chief of staff and longtime loyalist Cheryl Mills that were generated after Jan. 31, 2015, when she had back-and-forth conversations with the server administration who destroyed emails that had been subpoenaed.
In addition, Comey even agreed to allow Mills to destroy the laptop after the very restricted search, meaning he may have been an accessory to the destruction of evidence.
“The FBI has politicized itself, and its reputation will suffer for a long time,” Hughes said. “I hold Director Comey responsible.”
Other retired and current agents agreed, with some even suggesting that Congress subpoena the agents who actually conducted the investigation to answer questions about how Comey – who had them all sign non-disclosure agreements – ordered them to investigate.