Former FBI director James Comey’s testimony that provoked conflicting reactions on Capitol Hill similarly sparked diverse responses from two former high-ranking FBI agents contacted by Breitbart News.
“I don’t think Comey did much to help himself,” James Kallstrom, a former assistant director of the FBI, told Breitbart News. “He showed clearly why he was not fit to be the FBI director in my view.”
Comey’s admission that he surreptitiously took notes of a private meeting with the president and then leaked the contents to the press through a third party irked the FBI’s former assistant director.
“This nonsense about his conversations with the president and feeling necessary to write down notes,” Kallstrom pointed out. “He didn’t write a memo when the attorney general met with President Clinton on an airplane in Arizona. He didn’t write a memo when the FBI was told to not investigate (or on their own refrained from investigating) the IRS, which was violating the rights of Americans by the thousands…. What did Comey do when he was told to shut down the investigation of the Clinton Foundation? Did he write a memo then?”
Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that he construed a conversation with President Donald Trump as pressure for him to drop his investigation into Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who resigned just weeks into his tenure as national security advisor due to undisclosed communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. He admitted to leaking notes on a private conversation with the president to the New York Times. He also noted that Obama administration attorney general Loretta Lynch prevailed upon him to call his “investigation” into Hillary Clinton a “matter.”
Retired FBI special agent Kenneth Maxwell described Comey as a “dedicated patriot.”
“Jim Comey presented himself [Thursday] in front of the American people as a classic example of what integrity and honesty looks like,” Maxwell told Breitbart News. “He was forthright and spoke with a calm and professional tone that exuded ‘truth.’ I believe he proved for most clear-thinking Americans that he is not a ‘grandstander’ or ‘Hollywood showboat’ nor is he looking for some type of political award or self-aggrandizement. Rather, he was the epitome of strong and refined leadership, a model, quite frankly, that our elected officials should emulate.”
The president called the former director a “grandstander,” among other unflattering terms. Trump fired Comey on May 9, citing low morale within the bureau, the director’s mishandling of the Clinton email investigation, and his zeal in investigating the administration’s ties to Russia that the president regards as a red herring. Comey cites the Russia investigation as the alpha and omega explaining his dismissal. He noted that interference in the 2016 election did not mark a first for Russia and predicted that further intrusions would follow.
“The president demanded ‘loyalty,’” Maxwell explained. “How ironic is it that Jim Comey is perhaps one of the most loyal and faithful public servants our government has had in the modern era, but loyal to the things that count among all of the law enforcement profession—the rule of law and our country”?
Where some saw a dedication to the rule of law, others saw a politicization of investigations that applied different rules to different parties.
“The FBI is supposed to be there to investigate crimes against the citizens of the country,” Kallstrom told Breitbart News, “not to be a card to be played by the political parties of the country.”