Martin Luther King Jr.’s nephew argues that former FBI Director James Comey exhibited J. Edgar Hoover-like behavior in the way he concluded the Hillary Clinton email investigation which led to Donald Trump’s election.
I took comfort learning that then FBI Director James Comey kept a copy of a letter signed by former Attorney General Robert Kennedy on his desk, the letter gave former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover permission to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, Dr. King turned out to be the most spied on citizen in American history. Director Comey says he kept the letter on his desk to remind him not to repeat the abuses of J. Edgar Hoover. After he admitted in a Senate hearing his deliberate interference with our 2016 Presidential election and his comments this week to promote his new book, I have to ask James Comey, did you really read the King letter on your desk?
Based on his Senate testimony I assume that he placed the letter on his desk with every intention of reading it, but unfortunately, due to the demands of being America’s top cop, he never got a chance to read it.
During the testimony, Comey sounded like a clone of J. Edgar Hoover. It was very scary and depressing to hear an American FBI Director in 2017 attempt to justify being insubordinate to his boss, the Attorney General of the United States. Every time Hoover abused his position he said the same stuff we heard from Comey, “For the good of the Bureau”. Comey is apparently a legend in his own mind. He said that after his boss Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton he lost confidence in her judgment. So he alone had to take the Hillary Clinton investigation matters into his own hands for the good of the FBI and the Justice Department.
Did James Comey think he was equal to the President?
This was a sign that he was suffering from Hoover ego delusion syndrome. If in fact there was a legitimate issue with Atty. Gen. Lynch then the next move was to take it to President Obama. Not to make unilateral decisions about what his boss, the nation’s chief law enforcement official, should or should not be made aware of. Last time I checked James Comey was an appointed manager of a government department elected by the people to nothing.
This is how Dr. King became the most spied on person in American history, Hoover decided that his boss Atty Gen. Robert Kennedy’s judgment was wrong for the country. He unilaterally like Comey decided that Kennedy was compromised by King’s popularity, so therefore he had to take matters into his own hands without consulting his ultimate boss President John Kennedy. The result was most the brutal case of government persecution of a citizen in American history.
Comey like Hoover has a high personal profile separate and apart from the FBI. And like in Hoover’s case it was at the core of the problem we experienced with Comey. Both these guys presented the false premise that it was about the institution when in fact it was about them, and their reputations around town as the non-political great public servant above reproach.
Comey shares history with J Edgar Hoover
This is why Comey joined Hoover in doing what no other Director in FBI history has done or would do. Back in July 2016 when Comey called a press conference to announce that “no reasonable prosecutor” would recommend charges be brought against Hillary Clinton, he riffed on for 20 minutes giving the great public servant above reproach Comey perspective on the case like Hoover was known to do. At no time during his 20-minute reproach of Clinton did he mention once the on-going FBI investigation of her opponent then-candidate Donald Trump.
All other Directors who served in between the two would have taken 5 minutes to announce a “nothing but the facts Mam” recommendation to bring no charges. Comey the great former Deputy Atty. Gen. who stood up to President Bush had his great man reputation to uphold. He couldn’t let the country, the FBI or the Justice Department down by simply announcing no charges to be brought without speaking Comey wisdom. After all, like Hoover the moral condition of the government rested on James Comey’s shoulders, he alone had to rectify Atty. Gen. Lynch’s so-called wrong behavior.
Comey predecessor total opposite, no high profile.
It was this type of arrogance and ego trip that after Hoover Congress said no more. All Directors after Hoover were limited to a onetime 10-year appointment. One exception was Robert Mueller who President Obama asked to serve an additional 2 years. The same Robert Mueller that is currently serving as Special Counsel investigating Russian interference and Russian/Trump collusion in the 2016 Presidential election. As he has demonstrated in his current position of Special Counsel, Mueller is so focused and low key when doing a job, and not on his profile that had he still been Director last July, he would not have even called a press conference. He would have issued a one-paragraph written statement that said no charges would be brought against Hillary Clinton. That’s why the Senate, with no debate, overwhelmingly voted to let him serve beyond the 10-year term, no fear of a creating a Hoover monster with just the facts, mam Mueller.
A famous Hoover tactic was the one-on-one private meeting to respectfully inform someone of negative information the FBI had on them. This was a Hoover move meant to intimidate all incoming Presidents, his way of saying ‘there will be consequences if you don’t play my game my way!’ As FBI Director, Comey held a one-on-one meeting with President-elect Trump in January 2016 to inform him of a 35-page dossier of negative allegations against him. Was this James Comey’s way of trying to intimidate President-elect Trump? Was this the reason why President Trump as President felt the need to ask Comey for a loyalty oath? Without being in either man’s head we can never know the answer to these questions, but Comey’s actions make the questions credible.
Based on Comey’s latest public pronouncements while promoting his new book, he still doesn’t get it!! He is still on the same Hoover ego trip, admitting that actions he took as FBI Director were influenced by who he thought would win an election prove it. Unfortunately, after all the humiliation James Comey has suffered, it still has not humbled him to the point of realizing that these were decisions above his pay-grade. He and Hoover were paid fact collectors and distributors of those facts and only those facts, to their governing superiors who are empowered by, trusted by and held accountable by and to the American people.
James Comey had served our country well until he unilaterally decided to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election. His Senate testimony and latest public pronouncements make it clear he knew what he was doing, but he decided that the credibility of great man Comey was more important than the sanctity of the election of the most important person in America. Somewhere and sometime before July 2016, James Comey lost his way and his sight of what public service is all about, and it became about him and not about the service. Fortunately for him, losing his way only lost him his job. Unfortunately for America, Comey losing his way may have lost it an election!!!🔷
(This piece was first published on Isaac Newton Farris Jr.’s blog.)