Professor Comey? Ex-FBI Chief To Teach Ethics Course Amid Scrutiny

440px-Comey-FBI-PortraitimagesBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the news that former FBI Director James Comey will be teaching a course at William & Mary on “ethical leadership.”  While I believe that having their alum teach a class would be a terrific opportunity for their students, this particular subject is obviously controversial.  Moreover, it seems to fit an agenda by Comey to address criticism over his ethical choices.  There is nothing in Comey’s past that would have made this an obvious choice for his expertise that clearly encompasses national security, surveillance, privacy, and other area of constitutional and criminal law.  Curriculum should not be a vehicle for public relations.

Here is the column

Curriculum changes at the College of William & Mary usually are not national news, but a recent entry on the course selection was something of a surprise: The college will offer a new fall course on “ethical leadership.”

That in itself is unremarkable but the professor is one James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While Comey has much to offer students, given his background and knowledge, it is a bit premature to view him as an expert on ethics, given the allegations concerning his conduct after his termination. Indeed, his record at the FBI would make for a compelling case study of what not to do as an ethical leader in government.

Before Comey’s termination by President Trump, many had called for his removal due to his questionable judgment during the investigation of Hillary Clinton for the use of an unsecured personal email server to handle classified State Department information.

Indeed, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a blistering memo that called for Comey to be fired for “serious mistakes” and noted that both Democrats and Republicans were united on the need to get rid of him. Rosenstein cited a long list of former attorneys general, judges and leading prosecutors who believed that Comey “violated his obligation to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the traditions of the Department and the FBI.”

Rosenstein and these former prosecutors said that Comey “violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition.” Rosenstein added that, despite the wide range of opinions condemning his actions, Comey “refused to admit his errors.”

Comey’s choice for an ethics course, however, is more curious when considering what occurred after his termination. Comey, who was tasked with finding leakers in the Trump administration, immediately became a leaker himself when it served his purposes. He removed seven memos that he had written about the Russian investigation and his troubling interactions with President Trump.

Despite efforts to rehabilitate Comey by experts at the time of his firing, those memos were clearly FBI material — not, as suggested on cable networks like CNN, some type of personal diary or journal entries by Comey — and potentially classified. The FBI later confirmed that, indeed, the memos were FBI material and Comey was barred under FBI rules from simply removing the material.

When Comey decided to become a leaker, it was not (as, again, was suggested) to guarantee that a special counsel would be appointed. Many of us had already called for such an appointment. Moreover, Comey knew that he would called within days to testify before Congress and the Senate Intelligence Committee would inevitably demand these memos. The more obvious reason is that Comey is an old political hand in the Beltway and wanted to control the narrative of coverage, particularly in changing the focus from the Rosenstein memo and those who previously called for his termination.

More importantly, Comey decided to leak the information by passing the memos to his close “friend,” Columbia University Professor Daniel Richman. Now, the FBI has confirmed that four of the seven memos that Comey removed are believed to be classified. He reportedly gave four memos to his friend to leak to the media.

That would suggest that at least one memo given to Professor Richman was classified, meaning that Comey not only removed classified material from the FBI without prior disclosure or approval but then sent the memos to an unauthorized third party for the purpose of disclosures to the media. That is not only demonstrably unprofessional and unethical, but potentially criminal.

Now, the conservative website The Federalist reports that Richman is claiming to be representing Comey. The website also states that Richman refused to say when his status changed from being the “friend” described by Comey in his testimony to “counsel” for Comey. The status change could create barriers for those seeking answers about what Comey said and sent to Richman. However, the addition of a claim of representational status could create new ethical issues regardless of when that status began.

Representing individuals is not a license to violate federal law. Indeed, the use of such status as a shield for unlawful conduct could add an ethics violation to a potential criminal violation. In fairness to both men, it is unlikely that the memos were marked as classified. However, this is due to the fact that Comey appears to have failed to go through the required process of review before removing the material from the FBI.

What Richman knew was that he was being used as a conduit to disclose information to designated journalists. It is not clear if he sought to confirm the status of this material before serving in this capacity. While he would not be the first lawyer to leak information or go “on background” with reporters, he was in possession of material from the FBI and was being asked to secretly distribute it. That is not the role that many lawyers would feel comfortable performing without confirming the details, such as whether the material was reviewed and released by the FBI.

If representational status will be cited to refuse to answer questions, it is a gamble that neither Congress nor Robert Mueller will actively investigate Comey for federal violations. There is a “crime-fraud” exception to attorney-client privilege to such claims of confidentiality.

It is not clear if any or all of this will be material for Comey’s new course on ethics. It is rare for lecture powerpoints to include potential statements against interest by the professor, but this is one course that many people might want to audit.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

155 thoughts on “Professor Comey? Ex-FBI Chief To Teach Ethics Course Amid Scrutiny”

  1. Has anybody here thought about The Wizard of Oz??? (I bet not) Anyway, what was the thing that the Wizard gave to the Strawman??? A diploma! A piece of paper! That sort of post de facto made him smart!

    Sooo, whoever hired Comey is maybe doing the same thing, so that when someone questions Comey’s integrity, he can say, “But look, I have a degree in Thinkology, I mean I teach an Ethics Class! What greater proof of me being ethical do you need???” Now, Comey is post de facto’ed “ethical”.

    Either that, or the guy who hired him in this capacity is trolling the Universe.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    PS: For the non-Wizard of Oz devotees:

  2. Rosenstein cited a long list of former attorneys general, judges and leading prosecutors who believed that Comey “violated his obligation to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the traditions of the Department and the FBI.”

    Traditions? Maybe that’s the problem. I always thought the object of the oath was the constitution. That sentence reminds me of the Tailhook scandal. One could argue those officers violated their obligation to preserve, protect and defend traditions as well. They got caught.

  3. Comey has certainly faced a number of ethical challenges. How ever he presents the material he is bound to be challenged by his students. It should make for a lively class with lots of discussion citing pros and cons of choices in particular situations. I have attended classes in ethics and found that there is rarely one absolutely correct answer and the discussion opened up interesting hard choices. I would love to audit his class.

    1. If you have ever attended a university, have you ever witnessed students challenging the credibility and personal ethics of a professor, in class? Seriously. What dreamworld is it in which you reside? Yes, there are discussions. Yes, there are debates. But, if you think that students, in a classroom, are going to challenge this guy on his personal ethics and biased practices, while he was empmoyed by the FBI, you are living in a fantasy. It will never happen. Ever. These students want good grades. They want a transcript that sparkles. No one. . .and I do mean, no one, is going to challenge his past behavior and questionable ethics. Get it? It’s a death sentence, where grades will, surely, suffer. What? You don’t think that professors are human beings, where insults to their pride and integrity have consequences? Come back to planet earth. You would want to audit the class, where you just get a Pass or a Fail? Go ahead. Audit the class. Question and, more impirtantly, condemb his ethics and questionable behavior, while he was with the FBI. You will flunk. Guaranteed.

      1. bam bam – I spent my college and graduate career attacking professors. The head of my department actually wanted me “deaggressed” whatever that was. If they had not been village idiots they would not have had any problems.

        1. Paul,..
          – One of many funny scenes in “Young Frankenstein” is at the beginning, where the snotty student keeps needling “Professor”Gene Wilder” about his grandfather’s experiments, and the family name.
          I don’t know who the actor was who played the student, but he played the part perfectly.

    2. BettyKath – if you want to audit an interesting class on ethics taught by an actual philosophy prof I’d recommend “Justice” taught by MIchael Sandal. Our local library showed the tapes and we had feisty, sometimes illuminating conversations afterward – excellent community experience.

      At any rate, here’s the link

  4. Turley is right-on here.

    Comey is living off his 2004 “heroic” defense of Ashcroft in the hospital. Comey believes that he is a St. George vs. The Dragon. Anything he does is moral and right because his heart is pure.

  5. Comey is a leaker. In fact he stood on the White House steps and took a leak in full view of Trump’s wife.

  6. Was this topic on this blog before?

    Comey, Comey, bo boni…
    Bananna fanna fo phony…
    Fee fi moe moeny.

    Moe, Larry, Cheese….

  7. I head Baghdad Bob was hired by W&M to teach a course on the ethics of government spokesmen. If Charles Manson were alive, he could fulfill his contract there to teach small group dynamics. And Hillary will reprise her course on how to win friends and influence people. It’s a regular pedagogical Grammy show with Jay-Z doing Biblical readings about the value of marital fidelity to get the party rolling!

    1. You definitely are a ‘head’…you got one thing correct today. When your owners tell you to dance, do you offer up the ol’ soft shoe or the Mississippi slide?

      Why don’t you tell everyone how Trump is a good honest man…along with his stealing $40 million from suckers just like you at Trump University, his 106 crimes of money laundering, 22 sexual assault allegations, 2 crimes of personal tax fraud, mafia connections which destroyed his attempt to get a gaming license in Sydney, drug dealer ties, and bigotry…wasn’t it a type of redlining, (I can go on with this list)?

      Nope, you got the red ass bc Hollywood is in your craw. That’s hilarious. Hollywood has always been hard right wing….but a few stars don’t jump on board and you see corruption and whatnot.

      Your world, it’s small.

      1. Why don’t you tell everyone how Trump is a good honest man…along with his stealing $40 million from suckers just like you at Trump University, his 106 crimes of money laundering, 22 sexual assault allegations, 2 crimes of personal tax fraud, mafia connections which destroyed his attempt to get a gaming license in Sydney, drug dealer ties, and bigotry…wasn’t it a type of redlining, (I can go on with this list)?
        Nonsequitur much? Please carry on since your red face makes me laugh.

    2. William & Mary

      SGD 101 – Small Group Dynamics

      Fall and Spring (3) Manson, C (CSI)

      This course develops the ability to recognize and manage human and behavioral factors in work settings. Topics include: individual differences, group dynamics, motivation, and an introduction to organizational structure and leadership.

          1. mespo – thanks for the clarification. I was scratching my head on that one. 😉

        1. OK. I stand corrected – again! I’ve been so busy. I’m completing my application for W&M; those courses are gong to fill up quick.

  8. I thought Turley published this article already. I guess he has some sort of idea that piling on the ‘classified leaked material’ angle is a real winner. Comey and ethics? Wow that is funny. Except for the assertion that the president did clear the oval office and indicate he wanted the investigation into Flynn ended.

    But no, that’s not what happened according to Turley….no, the president just reasserted his very public wish that the investigation would end. That’s why he cleared the room and gave the fond wish to shut down the investigation directly to the man in charge of executing the investigation.

    Sorry Turley, you’re wrong and you really backed the wrong pony on this one. Your name will tied to this conman, crooked president throughout our history in ignominy.

    And don’t try to slither out of that either….don’t claim you’re just a lawyer looking at the legal significance of unfolding issues. We know what you wrote, what you said, whom you defended and where you did your defending. The rest is white noise.

    You do a grave injustice to your own country. Shame on you.

    1. Ok Durwood, we’ll consider you “triggered.” Maybe give us the list of pundits who lived in infamy for backing any President. Can’t think of any? No one else can either.

      1. Oh, listen to the little girl is calling me names. You would not have the balls to say that to me directly…or anyone else, anonymity is your shield you coward. But I’m a good man, and I’m going to help a coward like you.

        Here’s some help, I’m doing you a favor here. I’m giving you a succinct explanation of why you are a coward and lifelong lackey. Pay attention. This can help you if you listen:

        We know a lot about authoritarian followers, but unfortunately most of what we know indicates it will be almost impossible to change their minds, especially in a few months. Here are a dozen things established by research.

        They are highly ethnocentric, highly inclined to see the world as their in-group versus everyone else. Because they are so committed to their in-group, they are very zealous in its cause.

        They are highly fearful of a dangerous world. Their parents taught them, more than parents usually do, that the world is dangerous. They may also be genetically predisposed to experiencing stronger fear than most people do.

        They are highly self-righteous. They believe they are the “good people” and this unlocks a lot of hostile impulses against those they consider bad.

        They are aggressive. Given the chance to attack someone with the approval of an authority, they will lower the boom.

        They are highly prejudiced against racial and ethnic majorities, non-heterosexuals, and women in general.
        Their beliefs are a mass of contradictions. They have highly compartmentalized minds, in which opposite beliefs exist side-by-side in adjacent boxes. As a result, their thinking is full of double-standards.

        They reason poorly. If they like the conclusion of an argument, they don’t pay much attention to whether the evidence is valid or the argument is consistent.

        They are highly dogmatic. Because they have gotten their beliefs mainly from the authorities in their lives, rather than think things out for themselves, they have no real defense when facts or events indicate they are wrong. So they just dig in their heels and refuse to change.

        They are very dependent on social reinforcement of their beliefs. They think they are right because almost everyone they know, almost every news broadcast they see, almost every radio commentator they listen to, tells them they are. That is, they screen out the sources that will suggest that they are wrong.

        Because they severely limit their exposure to different people and ideas, they vastly overestimate the extent to which other people agree with them. And thinking they are “the moral majority” supports their attacks on the “evil minorities” they see in the country.

        They are easily duped by manipulators who pretend to espouse their causes when all the con-artists really want is personal gain.

        They are largely blind to themselves. They have little self-understanding and insight into why they think and do what they do.
        –Dr. Robert Altemeyer (The Authoritarians)

        See? I can help a sniveling shell of a person become more human. You can do it.

        1. You idiot, you just described the Democratic Party leaders and over half of the Left to a T!!! Let’s take an example or two! How about the “they severely limit their exposure to different people and ideas”. . . Hmmm, doesn’t that sound like Berkeley and UCONN who throw hissy fits every time a conservative speaker is on the way there???

          The “they are easily duped one by con artists out for personal gain” one??? Isn’t that what the whole support for Hillary was, and itsn’t that what Jill Stein ran against???

          “highly fearful”. . . Oh this one is a softball! Uh, who is it who demands “safe spaces” in their colleges and lives??? Yup, the Leftist youth of the nation!

          “They reason poorly” . . . uh have ever tried to engage in argument with a liberal, and their response to you is, “You’e a racisssst!” or “White Nationalism! White Nationalism!” And what earthly, Godly sense does “there are no illegal people” make???

          “They are highly self-righteous”. . . My God, what is the Left anymore except a pile of vacuous virtue signallers! Out there tumpling over statutes like the old Temperance Union harridans busting up saloons!

          I could go on, but let’s end with the final point you made. . .”They are largely blind to themselves. They have little self-understanding and insight into why they think and do what they do.” Darren Rychlak meet Mirror!

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          PS: Based on the above, it goes without saying that the “reasons poorly” one has been amply demonstrated by you, Darren Rychlak!

          1. Good job, Squeeky. I just don’t have the energy anymore to point out their TOTAL lack of self-awareness. Glad you still do.

            1. Thanks, FFS!!! Rychlak made it sooo easy that I didn’t even have to have my morning coffee first. Of course, I did have some dark coffee late last night about 1:00AM so that I could finish some Responses To Interrogatories that are due today, and that the goofy client didn’t turn in until Saturday. But, Penelope tells them up front that she charges extra if they dilly-dally on production. Sooo, that extra goes to me, to stay up late and get the job done. I think I shall buy a new cheap guitar with the money! Or, a floppy eared Canadian hat and a new pipe! A really nice one like Gandalf smoked.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

        2. Donothing:
          I’d like to show you how much of a “little girl” I am, but I wouldn’t want to confront a guy in his Mom’s basement. Keep throwing those softballs, dear.

          1. That might be truer than either of us think! Google “youtube Darrin Rychlak”, and look at the stuff subscribed to that shows up! Then, hit the arrow key on the right to see even more! If it is the same person, then whew!

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Repote

            1. Oh Squeeky, you do have the heart and soul of a detective. I can spot them Momma’s boys like ol’ DR a mile away. All that venom with the feminine sensitivity. Think he loves KidsCamp – Nursery Rhymes or Stories with Toys & Dolls best? I’m going with Barbie!!!

                  1. You might want to lock your doors tonight! And stick a gun in the back of your jammies. Because I am not sure if the basement has bars on it or not.

                    I am wearing my MTech self defense knife around my neck, and my Smith and Wesson Tactical HRT Knife is strapped to my right ankle. Plus, I have my purse near me with the 5 shot 38, and the 357 in the chair with me, The AK47 is on the bookcase behind my pillows. Plus I have the safety bar up against the door knob. But heck, I do that every night anyway. . .


                    Squeeky Fromm
                    Girl Reporter

                    1. Squeeky – you must live in a rough neighborhood. And jamming an AK-47 down the back of your jammies is not going to help you sleep. 😉 Sure you don’t want to trade it for a hair shirt?

                    2. Oh, I keep the AK behind my head in bed. It would never fit in my jammies, which, I don’t even wear jammies. I sleep in a TShirt and a pair of jammie shorts. Unless it is cold, when I sleep in a TShirt and sweat pants.There is only one door into the Music Room, where I sleep now. And two small windows that a person would have a hard time crawling thru, quietly.

                      Squeeky Fromm
                      Girl Reporter

                    3. All good tips. Personally I’m always packing with an alley sweeper close by loaded with double aught, so no one will get a walk-over.

  9. From Executive Order 13526: Sec. 1.3. Classification Authority. 

    (a)   The authority to classify information originally may be exercised only by:

    (1)   the President and the Vice President;
    (2)   agency heads and officials designated by the President; and
    (3)   United States Government officials delegated this authority pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

    (b)   Officials authorized to classify information at a specified level are also authorized to classify information at a lower level.
    (c)   Delegation of original classification authority.

    (1)   Delegations of original classification authority shall be limited to the minimum required to administer this order. Agency heads are responsible for ensuring that designated subordinate officials have a demonstrable and continuing need to exercise this authority.
    (2)   “Top Secret” original classification authority may be delegated only by the President, the Vice President, or an agency head or official designated pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
    (3)   “Secret” or “Confidential” original classification authority may be delegated only by the President, the Vice President, an agency head or official designated pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section, or the senior agency official designated under section 5.4(d) of this order, provided that official has been delegated “Top Secret” original classification authority by the agency head.
    (4)   Each delegation of original classification authority shall be in writing and the authority shall not be redelegated except as provided in this order. Each delegation shall identify the official by name or position.
    (5)   Delegations of original classification authority shall be reported or made available by name or position to the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office.

    (d)   All original classification authorities must receive training in proper classification (including the avoidance of over-classification) and declassification as provided in this order and its implementing directives at least once a calendar year. Such training must include instruction on the proper safeguarding of classified information and on the sanctions in section 5.5 of this order that may be brought against an individual who fails to classify information properly or protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. Original classification authorities who do not receive such mandatory training at least once within a calendar year shall have their classification authority suspended by the agency head or the senior agency official designated under section 5.4(d) of this order until such training has taken place. A waiver may be granted by the agency head, the deputy agency head, or the senior agency official if an individual is unable to receive such training due to unavoidable circumstances. Whenever a waiver is granted, the individual shall receive such training as soon as practicable.
    (e)   Exceptional cases. When an employee, government contractor, licensee, certificate holder, or grantee of an agency who does not have original classification authority originates information believed by that person to require classification, the information shall be protected in a manner consistent with this order and its implementing directives. The information shall be transmitted promptly as provided under this order or its implementing directives to the agency that has appropriate subject matter interest and classification authority with respect to this information. That agency shall decide within 30 days whether to classify this information.

        1. From the Wikipedia article on classified information in the United States:

          “Issued by President Barack Obama in 2009, Executive Order 13526 replaced earlier executive orders on the topic and modified the regulations codified to 32 C.F.R. 2001.”

          Did the CIA or the NSA write that sentence, Paul? Or did they just copy and paste into the Wikipedia article?

          1. Diane – my understanding is that all the EOs are listed at the WH website.

            1. Are you asking me to make your argument for you? You know guessing is allowed. So go ahead on and guess. If you guess wrong it’s no big deal. If I’ve guessed wrong . . . Oh! Wouldn’t that be lovely?

          1. Comey had original classification authority until he was fired on May 9th, 2017. Ask Turley exactly when did Comey remove the memos and when were the memos originally classified. While you’re at it, ask Turley what national security objective was protected by the original classification of the information in the memos Comey removed? Or did the classification of those memos merely hide information embarrassing to Trump? Or did the classification of those memos cover up illegal activity by Trump? I don’t know. What do you think?

            1. Diane – according to the FBI, the memos belong to them, not Comey. And four of them contain classified material. I am not sure why.

              1. Turley said, “Now, the FBI has confirmed that four of the seven memos that Comey removed are believed to be classified.”

                That’s a “confirmed belief” on the part of the FBI. But is it a “confirmed fact?”

                Turley also said, “In fairness to both men, it is unlikely that the memos were marked as classified. However, this is due to the fact that Comey appears to have failed to go through the required process of review before removing the material from the FBI.”

                The required process of review? Somebody posted a bunch of “stuff” about original classification authority, classification standards and classification categories from E.O. 13526 right here on this thread. Somebody else complained that it was ponderous and longer than Turley’s original post for this thread.

                And yet, if you’d only read what Turley wrote, then you’d stand a much better chance of realizing that Turley doesn’t have the faintest idea whether the memos at issue are or are not classified. All Turley knows is that the FBI “believes” that they are classified and that the FBI’s “belief” has been “confirmed.” Of course, Turley also knows that The FBI has “confirmed” that the memos in question are “FBI material.” Presumably that might mean that the memos should have been subjected to a “required process of review” before they were removed. But none of that leads to an assertion that the memos Comey removed were in fact classified. And even Turley concedes that the memos were probably not “marked” classified.

                When will Turley’s blawg-hounds learn how to read Turley’s sentences before chasing The Professors mechanical rabbits around Camptown Racetrack five miles long all the live long day? Doo-dah! Doo-dah!

  10. From Executive Order 13526: PART 1 — ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION; Sec. 1.1. Classification Standards.

    (a)   Information may be originally classified under the terms of this order only if all of the following conditions are met:

    (1)   an original classification authority is classifying the information;
    (2)   the information is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government;
    (3)   the information falls within one or more of the categories of information listed in section 1.4 of this order; and
    (4)   the original classification authority determines that the unauthorized disclosure of the information reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism, and the original classification authority is able to identify or describe the damage.

    (b)   If there is significant doubt about the need to classify information, it shall not be classified. This provision does not:

    (1)   amplify or modify the substantive criteria or procedures for classification; or
    (2)   create any substantive or procedural rights subject to judicial review.

    (c)   Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information.
    (d)   The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.

  11. From Executive Order 13526: Sec. 1.4. Classification Categories. 

    Information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security in accordance with section 1.2 of this order, and it pertains to one or more of the following:

    (a)   military plans, weapons systems, or operations;
    (b)   foreign government information;
    (c)   intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology;
    (d)   foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources;
    (e)   scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to the national security;
    (f)   United States Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
    (g)   vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security; or
    (h)   the development, production, or use of weapons of mass destruction.

  12. From the Wikipedia article on classified information in The United States:

    “Congress has repeatedly resisted or failed to pass a law that generally outlaws disclosing classified information. Most espionage law only criminalizes national defense information; only a jury can decide if a given document meets that criterion, and judges have repeatedly said that being “classified” does not necessarily make information become related to the “national defense”. Furthermore, by law, information may not be classified merely because it would be embarrassing or to cover illegal activity; information may only be classified to protect national security objectives.”

    Pay particular attention to the last sentence of the paragraph posted above. Now ask yourselves what national security objectives were protected by classifying the memos Comey removed from the FBI. Or, if you prefer, ask yourself what embarrassment was caused by Comey removing those memos from the FBI and giving four of them to Richman, who then leaked them to the press. Or, if you prefer, ask yourself what illegal activity might have been exposed by Comey removing the memos and giving four of them to Richman, who then leaked them to the press.

    Moreover, ask yourself exactly when, and by whom, the memos at issue were classified. And who, exactly, had original classification authority for those memos? I, for one, have no idea what the answers to those questions might be. But Turley seems to think that he knows the answers to those questions. And maybe Turley is right. How should we know? Are we supposed to take Turley’s word for it? Seven months ago I would’ve taken Turley’s word for it. I can no longer do that. How about you?

    1. Diane – why would you take Wikipedia’s word for it? How do you know the article was not written by the CIA or NSA?

      1. Turley is perfectly free to correct the record on these or any other questions.

        1. Nevertheless, Turley has no idea whether Comey’s memos are or are not in fact classified. Because the best the FBI can do is to confirm their “belief” that Comey’s memos are classified, that they are “FBI material” and that they were removed before the required review process that might have authorized the original classification of Comey’s memos. Keep in mind that Comey, himself, had original classification authority until May 9th, 2017. So when did Comey remove the memos? Does Turley know? I don’t. How about you, Mespo727272?

          1. I think he’s relying on this L4D:
            “Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stating that he and his staff had reviewed the Comey memos in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the FBI and the Senate. The use of the SCIF was made necessary because of the classified content of most of the memos. He specifically noted that “of the seven memos, four are marked classified at the ‘SECRET’ or ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ levels.” Since”only three did not contain classified information,” it would seem that a delivery of four of the seven memos by definition means that Comey not only removed classified FBI material but leaked at least one classified memo to an uncleared individual.”

            1. What Turley actually wrote was, “Four of the memos that Comey removed are now believed to be classified. He reportedly gave four memos to his friend to leak to the media.”

              Notice the careful phrasing “now believed to be classified” and “reportedly gave four memos.” Since Turley is still a lawyer, I seriously doubt that Turley would hedge his sentences with phrases such as “believed to be” and “reportedly gave” unless Turley does not yet know for a fact that the memos in question were classified. Also notice Turley’s use of the term “now,” which implies that the memos in question were not classified at the time that Comey removed them from the FBI.

              Meanwhile, and even though it’s so very ponderous, the citations of E. O. 13526 posted on this thread clearly delineate the standards for classified information and original classification authority that were in force on May 9th, 2017. In order for Comey’s memos to be classified at any level, the original classification authority has to identify and describe actual damage to the national security that would result from unauthorized disclosure of the information to be classified.

              So what actual damage to the national security of The United States did the unauthorized disclosure of Comey’s memos cause? Embarrassment of Trump? Exposure of Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice? Revelation of sources, methods or assets in an ongoing intelligence gathering investigation? That last option is the likely to be the only one that allows the original classification authority–namely, the FBI–to identify and describe any actual damage to the national security of The United States that could have resulted from the unauthorized disclosure of Comey’s memos. So what sources, methods or assets in an ongoing intelligence gathering investigation did the unauthorized disclosure of Comey’s memos cause?

              I don’t know. And neither does Turley. Unless Turley read the memos. Did he?

              1. Diane – JT has a tip-top security clearance and a SCIF in his house. He can read any memo. He has probably read the memos on how many times Comey used the head during the day (in the FBI that is classified). JT has read stuff that would make your head spin (which would be interesting to watch, btw).

                1. L4D asked “So what sources, methods or assets in an ongoing intelligence gathering investigation did the unauthorized disclosure of Comey’s memos cause?”

                  PCS said, “JT has read stuff that would make your head spin (which would be interesting to watch, btw).”

                  So Turley can’t answer the question because his head hasn’t stopped spinning yet? Curious choice of words–spinning–that is.

                  1. Diane – unless you have a tip top security clearance and a SCIF, JT cannot share what he knows with you.

                    1. So Turley can’t tell us what damage the leak of Comey’s memos did to the national security of The United States without Turley, himself, doing damage to the national security of The United States in the act of leaking to us what Comey supposedly already leaked to the press.

                      Does Turley have a Cone of Silence in his house as well???

                    2. Diane – a SCIF is a Cone of Silence that actually works. Turley can tell you the damage, not the contents.

                    3. Were Comey’s memos leaked to the press or not? If so, then Turley ought to be able to identify and describe what press reports damaged the national security of The United States.

                      Remember Valerie Plame?

                1. And what damage to national security can the original classification authority (the FBI) identify and describe from Turley having read Comey’s memos?

                  1. Sen. Grasdley’s letter to DOJ asks if Comey violated FBI policy/ revulations in taking and forwarding the memos to his friend.
                    A national security threat threshold probably does not have to be met to determine if FBI revulations were violated.

  13. Both Mr. Comey and William & Mary succeeded in their mutual goal: Adding another name to their list of accolades. At some point prestige peddling becomes detrimental.

  14. This makes me think of liawatha( Elizabeth Warren) getting her position at Harvard. Gift for a political friend.

  15. I think it’s a fine idea for Mr. Comey to teach an ethics class. All he has to do is chat about his recent past and tell these students the same thing the late Mickey Mantle did: ‘Don’t be like me. All you have to do is look at me and see where (my life) was wasted. I was given so much and I blew it.’

    Yes, Mr. Comey, you have disgraced yourself. Please share these sentiments with your students.

  16. Just apply Liberal Reasoning . What ever is said look in the mirror and reverse what you see while rectiting “Anything said or done to promote the party ‘is’ the truth. Works every time. Or was that radical reasoning … or both.

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