- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 21, 2018

The James Comey memos were just released for public viewing and with a quick glance, a most cursory of looks, it’s obvious: The former FBI guy looks guilty enough to go to jail now. In fact, an American with lesser political protection and Deep State shield would probably already be behind bars, awaiting trial.

Just ask Reality Leigh Winner, ex-Air Force linguist who stands accused of leaking government intel to a news outlet. She was sent directly to jail, Do Not Pass Go, and denied bond because she was deemed a flight risk — all while awaiting trial to prove her guilt or innocence of willful intent to give out sensitive national security information. Her trial isn’t until October. She’ll stay behind bars until then.


Well, Comey’s not admitted any wrongdoing. But the proof seems in the memo pudding. Here’s why.

In mid-2017, James Comey testified to Congress that he leaked memos of his personal conversations with President Donald Trump to “a friend,” with intent that this friend “share the content” “with a reporter.”

His words; his testimony.

That friend, according to Comey, was a professor at Columbia Law School, later learned to be Daniel Richman.

Key word: Friend.

Then it turns out Richman, who confirmed he leaked contents of at least one of the Comey memos to the New York Times, was actually more of a friend — he was, as his own Columbia University website bio described, “an adviser to FBI Director James B. Comey.”

How about that, a friend who’s perhaps more than a friend — who perhaps is in a position to provide legal duck and cover.

Then in January, there was this headline, from The Federalist: “Comey ‘Friend’ Who Leaked FBI Memos Now Claims To Be His Attorney.”

The story opened this way: “A friend of former FBI director James Comey who leaked sensitive FBI memos to The New York Times in the wake of Comey’s firing in 2017 now claims to be Comey’s personal attorney. Daniel Richman … told The Federalist via phone … that he was now personally representing Comey.”

Well now, isn’t that a nice tight circle of swamp-minded, friendly collaboration? 

But back to the memo leaks.

The FBI’s own internal policies suggest Comey committed a policy crime by leaking the memos in the first place. And Comey’s congressional downplay of who’s-who in this ongoing leak scandal — characterizing Richman to Congress as simply a friend, when he’s really the legal wind behind Comey’s legally suspicious wings — only adds fuel to the whole line of thought that says the former FBI chief ought to be headed to prison. It gives the semblance of a coverup, of a purposeful intent to deceive Congress and the American people.

And maybe, just maybe, the coverup includes the number of memos that Comey leaked to his “friend”-slash-lawyer?

Could be, could be. Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a letter to the Department of Justice in January that Comey gave Richman not just one but four memos; that his Senate Judiciary Committee staff then reviewed the total of seven Comey memos and found four that were marked classified; and that mathematically speaking, if Comey had transferred four to Richman, at least one had to have been classified.

Richman, for his part, back in 2017, denied the memos he received were marked classified. But then this, from an end-of-week Wall Street Journal report: “At least two of the memos that [Comey] gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified.”

Two memos, not one.

But here’s the thing: Now those memos have been made public.

And they’re redacted. In lots of spots.

Even without reading them, the contents scream guilt. Why? They point to proof of a crime committed by an official who should have known better than to leak them, whether one or four or seven, in the first place. The redactions indicate classified; the notes in the margin confirm as much. “Classified,” they read. In fact, Comey knew at least parts of the memos were classified. 

“He himself redacted elements of one,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Comey, for all his Boy Scout, clean-cut self-portrayals, can hardly deny knowing his leaks were barely this side of shady, at best — outright hazardous for the nation, at worst.

He’s an intel guy, for crying out loud. It’s his job to know. 

Now a dozen or so Republicans in Congress want an investigation of Comey, as well as of others tied to 2016 campaign controversies. It’s high time. It’s high time for blind justice to come on into the room.

When 25-year-old Winner was accused of leaking national defense information while serving as a government contractor, she was jailed and denied parole, left in her cell to ponder a possible 10-year prison sentence. She’s still in prison, awaiting trial.

When former FBI top dog Comey faces similar fire for leaking classified information, he gets to hit the media circuit to promote his new book, and along the way, take potshots at the president.

Something’s amiss in America’s justice system.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide