Former FBI Director James Comey received heavy criticism from the Justice Department’s inspector general in a blistering report released Thursday about his infamous memos documenting his discussions with President Trump.
The report found that Comey violated bureau policies by drafting, leaking and retaining the memos. However, it noted that the Justice Department declined to prosecute Comey over the violations.
For his part, Comey responded by insisting that he is not a "liar and a leaker,” saying an apology from his critics “would be nice.”
The following is a digest of the numerous times Comey was criticized and cited in the report for violations:
“Comey did not seek authorization from the FBI before providing Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to his attorneys.” (page 2)“Comey did not seek FBI authorization before providing the contents of Memo 4, through Richman, to a reporter.” (page 2)“As described in this report, we conclude that Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.” (page 3)“Comey told the OIG that he did not notify anyone at the FBI that he was going to share these Memos with anyone, and did not seek authorization from the FBI prior to emailing these four Memos to Fitzgerald.” (page 38)“Accordingly, Comey stated that he did not notify anyone at the FBI that he was going to share the contents of the Memo 4 with Richman or the media, and that he did not seek authorization from FBI to provide Memo 4 to Richman.” (page 40)“Accordingly, after his removal as FBI Director, Comey violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement by failing to either surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the FBI or seek authorization to retain them; by releasing official FBI information and records to third parties without authorization; and by failing to immediately alert the FBI about his disclosures to his personal attorneys once he became aware in June 2017 that Memo 2 contained six words (four of which were names of foreign countries mentioned by the President) that the FBI had determined were classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level.” (page 52)Video“Despite knowledge that Memo 3 contained classified information, Comey did not appropriately mark Memo 3 with classification banners, portion markings, or a classification authority block. By failing to do so, Comey violated Executive Order 13526 and Intelligence Community, Department, and FBI policies governing marking of classified information.” (page 53)“Comey’s actions with respect to the Memos violated Department and FBI policies concerning the retention, handling, and dissemination of FBI records and information, and violated the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.” (page 54)“Comey violated Department and FBI policies, and the terms of his FBI Employment Agreement, by retaining copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 after he was removed as Director, regardless of each Memo’s classification level.” (page 55)“As a departing FBI employee, Comey was required to relinquish any official documents in his possession and to seek specific authorization from the FBI in order to personally retain any FBI documents. Comey failed to comply with these requirements.” (page 55)
Video“As the FBI Director and Head of a Department Component, Comey was required to apply for and obtain authorization from the Assistant Attorney General for Administration to retain any FBI records after his removal. Comey violated these Department and FBI policies by failing to surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 upon being removed as FBI Director and by failing to seek authorization to retain them.” (page 55)“Comey violated FBI policies and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement when he sent a copy of Memo 4 to Richman with instructions to provide the contents to a reporter, and when he transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and a redacted version of 7 to his three attorneys.” (page 56)“Comey violated FBI policy and the requirements of his FBI Employment Agreement when he chose this path.” (page 56)“Comey was not authorized to disclose the statements he attributed to President Trump in Memo 4, which Comey viewed as evidence of an alleged attempt to obstruct the Flynn investigation and which were relevant to the ongoing Flynn investigation.” (page 56)“Rather than continuing to safeguard such evidence, Comey unilaterally and without authorization disclosed it to all.” (page 56)“However, Comey’s own, personal conception of what was necessary was not an appropriate basis for ignoring the policies and agreements governing the use of FBI records, especially given the other lawful and appropriate actions he could have taken to achieve his desired end.” (page 57)“The unauthorized disclosure of this information—information that Comey knew only by virtue of his position as FBI Director—violated the terms of his FBI Employment Agreement and the FBI’s Prepublication Review Policy.” (page 57)“However, Comey was not authorized to provide these Memos to his attorneys without prior approval from or coordination with the FBI.” (page 58)“By providing Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to his attorneys without seeking FBI approval, Comey took for himself the ‘carte blanche authority’ expressly denied by the courts, in clear violation of the FBI’s Prepublication Review Policy and the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement. As a result, Comey not only disclosed sensitive law enforcement information to his personal counsel but also a small amount of information contained in Memo 2 that the FBI subsequently determined was classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level.” (page 58)“Once he knew that the FBI had classified portions of Memo 2, Comey failed to immediately notify the FBI that he had previously given Memo 2 to his attorneys.” (page 59)“The FBI’s Safeguarding Classified National Security Information Policy Guide clearly states that ‘[a]ny person who has knowledge that classified information has been or may have been lost, compromised, or disclosed to an unauthorized person must immediately report the circumstances to his or her security office.’ Comey violated this requirement by failing to immediately inform the FBI that he provided Memo 2 to his attorneys.” (page 59)“By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.” (page 59)“However, after his removal as FBI Director two months later, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4, which Comey had kept without authorization, to Richman with instructions to share the contents with a reporter for The New York Times.” (page 60)“But even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information. Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.” (page 60)“We have previously faulted Comey for acting unilaterally and inconsistent with Department policy. Comey’s unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information about the Flynn investigation merits similar criticism.” (page 61)“Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.” (page 61)