First, we learn that former FBI Director, James Comey, drafted an exoneration statement months before Hillary Clinton and other witnesses were interviewed, making the lengthy FBI investigation into the Clinton “matter” a complete farce. Next, we find out that Comey’s original draft included the words “grossly negligent” to describe Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. After reviewing the initial draft, one or more of his aides suggested that Comey change the words to “extremely careless” since the term “grossly negligent” are the exact words used in subsection 793(f) of the Espionage Act. After all, the art of the cover-up demands attention to detail. And this was a detail that jumped off the page and needed to be corrected.
It would be poor form, not to mention a major faux pas, to publicly exonerate someone while using the precise statutory language, “grossly negligent,” that would be applied if a criminal indictment were handed down instead. So, one of the FBI operatives thought it would be a stroke of genius to substitute the adverb “grossly” with its equivalent “extremely,” and then replace the adjective “negligent” with its synonym “careless.” Not only would the term “extremely careless” avoid the statutory language problem, but it would also soften the rather harsh and legally inexcusable behavior of being “grossly negligent.” More to the point, Americans wouldn’t want a president who is grossly negligent with classified material at the helm. Better to have a president who is “extremely careless” in this respect. Or so thought the wordsmiths at the FBI, who conspired to let Hillary Clinton off the hook.
Sure the fix was in, but that comes as no surprise. No one really thought Clinton would ever be found guilty of anything no matter how damning the evidence might be. It would have been political malpractice for a Democratic administration and its Justice Department to do otherwise. Imagine indicting your own front-running presidential candidate, especially one whom most pollsters considered a shoo-in at the time. It wasn’t going to happen. And it didn’t.
What is surprising is that several high-ranking FBI officials left a paper trail, or electronic files to be more accurate, of themselves editing and nitpicking a draft of Comey’s exoneration of Clinton before she and a host of other witnesses were interviewed by the FBI. By tampering with two damning words, grossly negligent, in Comey’s first draft, they inadvertently brought the essence of Clinton’s crime into sharp relief while documenting their participation in what appears to be a prima facie case of obstruction of justice. Before the Clinton investigation was completed, the FBI’s top brass had made up its mind. They were busy dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s before the investigation had run its course, effectively clearing the path for Clinton’s campaign for president. Justice would have to take a backseat to power politics.
Comey and his assistants never thought any of this would ever see the light of day. Consequently, they themselves were extremely careless or to be more accurate, grossly negligent. They foolishly put themselves on record and into legal jeopardy as they tried to protect an individual who has proved adept at staying beyond the reach of the law for decades. In effect, they provided the smoking gun pointing to their own involvement in what appears to be a textbook example of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Comey and his co-conspirators evidently thought this would be an excellent way to ingratiate themselves with their next boss, Hillary Clinton, who, at the time, was a strong favorite to win the forthcoming presidential election. Unfortunately, their scheme backfired. Clinton lost and they eventually got caught with their thumbs on the scale of justice. Maybe there is an innocent way to explain this away, but it’s highly unlikely many observers with a pulse would believe it. Why wasn’t an alternative statement drafted that recommended Clinton be indicted if the evidence of the investigation supported that position? Probably because that scenario was never seriously considered. The fix was in. Period. Even if Comey and the FBI proofreaders are never charged for obstruction of justice, the perception of a cover-up is sufficient to condemn them in the court of public opinion. Sure, a conviction in a court of law would be better, but don’t hold your breath. The Praetorian Guard within the Justice Department and the FBI covers its ass even better than it protects powerful politicians.
FBI officials didn’t seem too concerned that taxpayers picked up the tab for one-hundred-plus rank-and-file FBI agents, who worked on the Clinton investigation. They dismissed mountains of incriminating evidence FBI agents had gathered for well over a year and characterized it as nothing more than the product of extremely careless behavior — behavior that included the willful destruction of subpoenaed evidence. The entire probe into the Clinton email scandal turned out to be an expensive charade. Why? You guessed it. Because the fix was in.
To say Comey and his cohorts trivialized the case would be a gross understatement. FBI agents, whose hard work was discarded by a few punks at the top of the food chain, could not have been pleased with the result. It’s not too late for them come forward to report what they know about their superiors’ involvement in the cover-up.
Apparently, it never occurred to any of the editors of Comey’s exoneration statement to express outrage that the FBI would dare to prejudge the outcome of a case when the target of an ongoing high-profile investigation, among other witnesses, had not been interrogated yet. Instead, Comey’s assistants, all sworn to uphold the law, helped him exonerate Clinton before the probe was completed. And they did so despite mountains of evidence that showed Clinton had feloniously mishandled classified information and deliberately destroyed subpoenaed records. They firmly believed the deep state in which they were immersed would provide all the cover they would ever need. Indeed, all of the officials who assisted Comey in this travesty of justice still have their jobs at the FBI.
As they say, the cover-up is worse than the crime. But the bigger crime is mistaking Americans for blithering idiots and rubes. Trying to make us think there is some kind of legal or meaningful distinction between “extremely careless” and “grossly negligent” is insulting. The attempt to baffle us with bullshit assaults our intelligence. For that transgression alone, corrupt FBI law enforcement officials need to be held to account. No one likes dirty cops, especially when they offend our sensibilities.