Even as he investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email account for sensitive government emails, former FBI Director James Comey was doing the same thing, according to a watchdog group.
The Cause of Action Institute filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Comey’s Gmail correspondence that involved FBI business.
Cause of Action revealed Friday that the FBI had released 156 pages and withheld seven emails under the exemption granted for law enforcement purposes.
On its website, the group called that “particularly troubling” because Comey had told the Justice Department’s Inspector General that he never used his personal email for sensitive government work.
We had a guy who mishandled classified information investigate Hillary for mishandling classified information.
— Ken Webster Jr (@ProducerKen) November 10, 2018
“The records also show that Director Comey used his Gmail to discuss the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. In other words, Comey was using a non-governmental email account while he was investigating Secretary Clinton for the same unlawful behavior,” the group wrote in its website.
That was not all. Comey and his chief of staff emailed each other on government business enough to generate 1,200 pages of messages, the New York Post reported.
Some emails were withheld because disclosure would either invade personal privacy or reveal privileged FBI information, the FBI said.
Some defended Comey’s actions.
huge numbers of high government officials do this which is another reason why the Hillary email story was wildly over-hyped and misleadingly covered/exploited https://t.co/aNbAPVs4e1
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 10, 2018
Others were highly critical of Comey.
“Using private email to conduct official government business endangers transparency and accountability, and that is why we sued the Department of Justice,” said John Vecchione of Cause for Action.
“We’re deeply concerned that the FBI withheld numerous emails citing FOIA’s law enforcement exemption. This runs counter to Comey’s statements that his use of email was incidental and never involved any sensitive matters.”
On Oct. 7, 2015, Comey asked an aide to send to his private account him testimony he was to deliver to the Senate.
“He (the aide) will need to send to personal email I suppose,” Comey wrote. “Embarrassing for us.”
Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open the Government, said Comey’s actions show a double standard in action.
“It’s just so transparently hypocritical to have one standard for a person you are investigating and an entirely different standard for yourself when you are the one who’s enforcing the law,” Rosenberg said.
Comey did not respond to media requests for comment.
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