Former FBI Director James Comey defended the bureau Thursday against the “weasels and liars” who he suggested are trying to bring it down.
Comey’s thinly veiled tweet came after the FBI thrust itself into the intense debate over the release of a controversial memo that allegedly details abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act under the Obama administration.
“All should appreciate the FBI speaking up,” the former FBI chief tweeted, while also indicating he wants more American leaders to do the same.
“I wish more of our leaders would,” he added.
“But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy,” Comey wrote, referring to the Wisconsin senator who launched an intense hunt for communists within the U.S. government during the Cold War.
Comey did not directly mention the memo, but he seemed to be talking about a statement the FBI recently put out, in which the bureau said it had “grave concerns” over the memo’s release.
“The FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Moreover, CNN reported that current FBI Director Christopher Wray has clashed with President Donald Trump over the memo’s release, which is expected to come Friday.
On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release the controversial memo, thus giving Trump five days to object to it being made public.
Following his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump was caught on a hot mic saying he will “100 percent” approve of the document’s release.
The next day, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said on Fox News Radio that the White House would release the memo “quickly.”
“It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it,” Kelly said, adding that both he and the White House counsel had looked over the document, according to The Daily Caller.
Though Democrats — particularly House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schif — have warned against the memo’s release, many Republicans disagree.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has called for the four-page document to be made public, while GOP Rep. Devin Nunes — the chairman of the intelligence committee who oversaw the creation of the memo — fired back after the FBI expressed its concerns.
“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies,” Nunes said in a statement.
But Comey’s thoughts on the matter are not particularly surprising, especially considering that he has previously taken to Twitter to defend the bureau.
Earlier this week, after hearing that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was stepping down early, Comey expressed his support for his former number-two man.
“Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on,” said Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017. “He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.”
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