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July 10, 2017

FBI: Half of Comey's "Private" Memos About Conversations With Trump Contain Classified Information

Importantly, we don't know if the memos he leaked to his "friend" to leak to the media are among those containing classified information, or he shared the classified parts with his friend.

Still, a very interesting development, and I think a Special Prosecutor is necessary to get to the bottom of it.

More than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.

This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency's rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton over in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election.

Is this funny yet? Hold on a tic, it'll get funnier in a minute or two.

A little more, including the FBI's finding that while only some were classified, all were "government documents," and thus leaking them was against the FBI's rules:

“I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership,” he testified about the one memo he later leaked about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

He added, “My view was that the content of those unclassified memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.”

But when the seven memos Comey wrote regarding his nine conversations with Trump about Russia earlier this year were shown to Congress in recent days, the FBI claimed all were, in fact, deemed to be government documents.

Now for the funny bit. Remember that Hillary Clinton tried to distinguish between "marked classified" and "classified"? I believe James Comey himself informed us that something that's classified is born classified and whether or not it's marked classified is irrelevant.

Now Comey's "friend," or possibly fwiend, is claiming that none of the memos Comey gave to him were marked classified:


Of course they weren't marked classified. Comey specifically wrote at least one of them with the intent to leak it, by his own admission, so of course he wouldn't mark documents he intended to leak classified -- he'd be branding himself with his own Confession of Guilt.

But if they are classified, it was illegal for Comey to leak them-- marked or not.

More from Jonathan Turley -- "Why Does the Media Still Portray James Comey as a Hero?," he asked rhetorically.

Yes, the memos were classified.

If Comey did leak government property, a third issue was whether the information was considered classified. Once again, the classified status does not determine if this was a leak (it was) or if it was government information (it was). However, many experts insisted that the material was clearly unclassified.

Comey’s representation of the unclassified status struck me as highly questionable at the time. I noted that the information would have likely been classified on some level, including “confidential” under governing standards. Moreover, FBI employees are not given free license (or sole authority) to write things in an “unclassified fashion.” That is why there are classification reviews. Information coming out of meetings with the president are routinely classified, let alone information deemed material to pending investigations.

As I noted earlier, the standards that Comey enforced as director belied his own account. The FBI restricts material generated in relation to investigations as “FBI information.” FBI rules cover any “documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated.” Under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI routinely claims this type of information as either classified or privileged or both.

Comey however repeatedly assured the Senate that there was nothing classified or privileged in the memos. In an exchange with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Comey said, “Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. I need to document it and preserve it in a way — and — and this committee gets this, but sometimes when things are classified, it tangles them up. It’s hard…” Then Warner interrupted to say, “Amen.”

However, the issue was not the writing of the memos but their removal from the FBI and their leaking to the media. There is a reason why “sometimes when things are classified, it tangles them up.” It is called classification review. That does not give you license to transfer the information into a separate document and declare it a “Dear Diary” entry. That is a loose interpretation that Comey as FBI director never afforded to his subordinates and it would effectively gut the rules governing privileged and classified information.



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posted by Ace at 05:03 PM

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