- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2016

FBI Director James B. Comey’s testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday prompted a laugh from the gallery and a rebuke from Rep. Jason Chaffetz during an exchange about background checks.

Mr. Comey was grilled by a slew of lawmakers about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret email server, but one particular question prompted different answers when the name “Hillary Clinton” was replaced with a generic, nameless person.

“The FBI does background checks. If Hillary Clinton applied for the job at the FBI, would the FBI give Hillary Clinton a security clearance?” asked Mr. Chaffetz, a Republican and chairman of the committee.

“I don’t want to answer a hypothetical,” Mr. Comey responded, “The FBI has a robust process in which we adjudicate the suitability of people for employment in the bureau.”

“Given the fact pattern you laid out less than 48 hours ago, would a person who dealt with classified information like that, would that person be granted a security clearance at the FBI,” the congressman asked.

“It would be a very important consideration in a suitability determination,” Mr. Comey replied.

“You’re kind of making my point, director,” Mr. Chaffetz said as a loud laugh erupted from the gallery, Mediaite reported. “The point being, because I injected the word ‘Hillary Clinton,’ you gave me a different answer.”

Mr. Chaffetz then ran through a litany of facts linked to Mrs. Clinton’s private email server.

“I hope I’m giving a consistent answer,” Mr. Comey said. “I’m not saying what the answer would be. I’m saying that would be a important consideration in a suitability determination for anybody.”

The congressman then said he found it hard not to interpret the FBI director’s response as anything other than a political answer.

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