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Comey Faces Congress: Mild Nausea and "Intelligence Porn"

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-05-03 23:21:30
Digital Liberty

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FBI Director James Comey appeared before a U.S. Senate panel [thehill.com] on May 3rd to defend his agency's conduct under his leadership during the 2016 elections:

Comey acknowledged that the realization the bureau could have affected the election's outcome left him feeling "mildly nauseous." But, he added, "honestly, it wouldn't change the decision." Comey has been transformed into an unusual kind of political celebrity over the past year, his decisions coming in for sharp criticism from almost every point of the political spectrum.

News reports have cited anonymous sources within the intelligence community casting him as too fond of the spotlight, despite his repeated insistence to the contrary. Whether he sought it or not, Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing was yet another center-stage moment for the FBI director. Cable networks carried virtually uninterrupted coverage of his testimony from the moment he took his seat before a scrum of news photographers.

Comey explained his reasoning behind the decision to inform Congress about Clinton emails discovered during an investigation into Anthony Weiner, and said that he had made the right choice [theatlantic.com]. One event that factored into the decision and his earlier July 2016 announcement about the Hillary Clinton investigation was Bill Clinton's meeting with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch [washingtonpost.com]. At Wednesday's hearing, Comey faced criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike on topics including the FBI's delay in disclosing an investigation into the Trump campaign and the decision to not charge Huma Abedin for mishandling classified information. On the day before the hearing, Hillary Clinton blamed the FBI Director for her loss [washingtonpost.com], while President Trump tweeted [twitter.com] that [twitter.com] "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!"

Comey appeared to confirm that the FBI is investigating whether its agents leaked information to Rudy Giuliani, a Trump ally. He also took the time to denigrate WikiLeaks by calling it "intelligence porn" [rt.com], and alleging that WikiLeaks acted as a "conduit for the Russian intelligence services or some other adversary of the United States just to push out information to damage the United States". Here's what Julian Assange had to say in response [twitter.com]. Comey did not confirm whether or not the government is planning to charge Julian Assange with crimes related to his organization's recent activities. CNN reported in April [cnn.com] that the U.S. is preparing to charge Assange with... something, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently called WikiLeaks a "non-state hostile intelligence service" [soylentnews.org].

Also at The Washington Post [washingtonpost.com], CNN [cnn.com], and NYT [nytimes.com] (editorial).


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