OIG report on Comey

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OIG report on Comey

Post by PainRack » 2018-06-14 10:16pm

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/201 ... lol/?amp=1
The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General has dropped a 500-page report detailing its investigation into the conduct of FBI personnel, including former FBI Director James Comey, during the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server (code-named "Midyear Exam") and related events just before the 2016 presidential election. The report reveals details of the FBI's internal communications, including an apparent agency-wide distaste for Lync, the mandated official messaging application for the FBI's internal networks.

Sure to be a hot summer read for some in Washington, DC, the review does not find fault with the Justice Department's decision not to pursue prosecution of Clinton or members of her staff, and it finds no evidence of political bias. But it does call out Comey and others for violations of policy and calls Comey's decision to independently announce the results of the Clinton investigation as insubordination.

Comey immediately responded to the report in a New York Times opinion piece, stating that while he did not agree with all of the OIG conclusions, "I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism. All of our leaders need to understand that accountability and transparency are essential to the functioning of our democracy, even when it involves criticism. This is how the process is supposed to work."

While the report mostly makes recommendations about clarification and adjustment of FBI policies and procedures, the investigators also recommended further review of the actions of some FBI agents who sent text messages with derogatory statements about then-candidate Donald Trump via FBI-owned mobile devices.

The heartbreak of autocorrect
The OIG inspection requested text messages between members of the Midyear Exam investigation team and found that the FBI retained only five days of messages on its text messaging platform: Microsoft Lync. The team also found that, on several occasions, some of the investigation team—including Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, who was also involved in the investigation into Russian interference in the election, and FBI attorney Lisa Page—used personal email accounts and devices on some occasions to conduct official business. Both Strzok and Page blamed this largely on the horridness of the auto-completion and autocorrect features on their FBI-issued Samsung phones. Page told investigators:

n particular, the autocorrect function is the bane of literally every agent of the FBI's existence because those of us who care about spelling and punctuation, which I realize is a nerdy thing to do, makes us crazy because it takes legitimate words that are spelled correctly and autocorrects them into gobbledygook. And so, it is not uncommon for either one of us to just either switch to our personal phones or, or in this case, where it was going to be a fairly substantive thing that he was writing, to just save ourselves the trouble of not doing it on our Samsungs. Because they are horrible and super-frustrating.

Strzok also said that he on occasion forwarded documents to his personal computer to view them because he couldn't see the markup in documents or properly edit them on his FBI-issued phone. The OIG investigators referred a decision on Strzok's use of personal email to the FBI for a decision on whether he had violated policy; Page left the FBI in May of 2018.

The OIG took issue with Strzok's and Page's mixing of political expression with work over Microsoft Lync from their phones as well. Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team last summer when questions were raised about the texts between him and Page, who were having an extramarital affair. The most critical text messages of them all were in an August 8, 2016 exchange:

Page stated, "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Strzok responded, "No. No he's not. We'll stop it

As the election approached and then arrived (and passed), the messages became more despondent.

November 3, 2016, Page: "The nyt probability numbers are dropping every day. I’m scared for our organization."
November 3, 2016, Strzok: "[Jill] Stein and moron [Gary] Johnson are F'ing everything up, too."
November 7, 2016, Strzok: Referencing an article entitled "A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible," Strzok stated, "OMG THIS IS F*CKING TERRIFYING."
November 13, 2016, Page: "I bought all the president's men. Figure I needed to brush up on Watergate."
Several FBI agents who were not named in the report also expressed personal opinions. The OIG investigators wrote:

So many leaks
The OIG also found that the FBI was full of leakers, with dozens of FBI agents having regular contact with media. This was not a result of poorly defined policy, the investigators found: "The FBI updated its media policy in November 2017, restating its strict guidelines concerning media contacts, and identifying who is required to obtain authority before engaging members of the media, and when and where to report media contact," the office reported.

But while the policy itself was "clear and unambiguous," the OIG team blamed a "cultural attitude" within the FBI for blatant disregard for the policy. "Accordingly, we recommend that the FBI evaluate whether (a) it is sufficiently educating its employees about both its media contact policy and the Department's ethics rules and (b) its disciplinary penalties are sufficient to deter such improper conduct."

The biggest communications faux-pas collection, however, was credited to Comey. The OIG report was especially critical of Comey's decisions regarding release of information about the Clinton investigation and his decision to publicly announce his finding without discussing it first with Department of Justice leadership:

Comey admitted that he concealed his intentions from the Department until the morning of his press conference on July 5 and instructed his staff to do the same, to make it impracticable for Department leadership to prevent him from delivering his statement. We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so, and we found none of his reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions.

This conclusion gives some cover after the fact for Comey's dismissal, as does the OIG's conclusions about Comey's letter to members of Congress in late October regarding the Clinton emails found on the laptop of former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Comey sent the letter, he said, because he feared that if the details were not shared before the election, it would have been considered concealing of information to swing the election Clinton's way—and a later disclosure would have tainted her administration.

But the OIG team rejected his logic:

Comey's description of his choice as being between "two doors," one labeled "speak" and one labeled "conceal," was a false dichotomy. The two doors were actually labeled "follow policy/practice" and "depart from policy/practice." Although we acknowledge that Comey faced a difficult situation with unattractive choices, in proceeding as he did, we concluded that Comey made a serious error of judgment.

There's much more to mine from the OIG report. We'll update this story with additional details as we discover them.

So, I guess the takeaway is Page must be fuming that she's taken off the Mueller investigation, since the Watergate comment made it clear that she thinks Trump was in a conspiracy but her lack of professionalism got her removed.

The FBi leaked stuff to the press.

Comey and others used their own emails.

Lastly, Comey justification was against department policy and he screwed up,throwing the election to Trump.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by Mr Bean » 2018-06-14 11:08pm

PainRack wrote:
2018-06-14 10:16pm

Lastly, Comey justification was against department policy and he screwed up,throwing the election to Trump.
Yes it was Comey who did the deed not Russian interference, not Clinton campaign incompetence, not Democratic infighting due to institutional arrogance, not Clinton's mistakes herself on the campaign trail, not the self reinforcing Fox news making machine, not the double edge sword that is Bubba nor was refusing to take Trump seriously or the self inflicted campaign wounds or at last the poor ground game in key states.

No it was James Comey he did it, he's the reason for Trump. That's the man who did us wrong.

But then again this review once again finds the same thing the Mess said three years ago now, one set of rules for the normal folks (Under which Hillary Clinton would have been charged and it turns out Comey might well have been as well) and another set of rules for the powerful who can run around with TS documentation like it's scrap paper and at most face a slap on the wrist. And a very light slap at that.

At the end of the day Comey went off the reservation with the investigation and acted off with a few of his actions. Beyond that it was just another leak on the ship Secretary Clinton rode down to defeat.

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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by Dominus Atheos » 2018-06-14 11:23pm

Hillary should have won by at least 10%, but instead lost (the electoral vote) by less than a percentage point, so anything that cost her even 1-2% (of which there were at least 5-10) could be said to have cost her the election.

(a few percentage points were lost by her own mistakes and tactical errors, of course)

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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-15 06:00pm

Mr Bean wrote:
2018-06-14 11:08pm
PainRack wrote:
2018-06-14 10:16pm

Lastly, Comey justification was against department policy and he screwed up,throwing the election to Trump.
Yes it was Comey who did the deed not Russian interference, not Clinton campaign incompetence, not Democratic infighting due to institutional arrogance, not Clinton's mistakes herself on the campaign trail, not the self reinforcing Fox news making machine, not the double edge sword that is Bubba nor was refusing to take Trump seriously or the self inflicted campaign wounds or at last the poor ground game in key states.

No it was James Comey he did it, he's the reason for Trump. That's the man who did us wrong.

But then again this review once again finds the same thing the Mess said three years ago now, one set of rules for the normal folks (Under which Hillary Clinton would have been charged and it turns out Comey might well have been as well) and another set of rules for the powerful who can run around with TS documentation like it's scrap paper and at most face a slap on the wrist. And a very light slap at that.

At the end of the day Comey went off the reservation with the investigation and acted off with a few of his actions. Beyond that it was just another leak on the ship Secretary Clinton rode down to defeat.
Dominus Atheos wrote:
2018-06-14 11:23pm
Hillary should have won by at least 10%, but instead lost (the electoral vote) by less than a percentage point, so anything that cost her even 1-2% (of which there were at least 5-10) could be said to have cost her the election.

(a few percentage points were lost by her own mistakes and tactical errors, of course)
Indeed.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is no single reason that Hillary Clinton lost (though if you want to pick one, I suggest the Electoral College, seeing as she, you know, won the popular vote). Anyone who says there is is misinformed, or pushing an agenda. Given how close it was, any of about a dozen things could have probably changed the outcome if it had gone slightly differently. If Comey hadn't reopened the investigation right before the election. If Anthony Weiner hadn't been a sex offender (the reopening of the investigation into the emails was triggered by something turned up during the Weiner investigation). If Hillary Clinton hadn't been an uncharismatic nominee with a lot of baggage. If she had run a stronger campaign in key states. If the Bernie or Bust people hadn't bolted. If Russia hadn't interfered, or if the US government under Obama had more effectively countered that interference. If our election map wasn't riddled with voter suppression laws. And probably other things.

So yeah, in a sense Comey may have cost Clinton the election, if you want to look at it that way. He also didn't. Same with it being Hillary Clinton's fault.

As to this report, from what I've heard, it seems to be much ado about nothing. It says that Comey was "insubordinate" and violated the usual FBI procedure. Well, we kind of already knew that- the dispute is over whether the circumstances justified him in doing so. To my knowledge, nothing in the reports says that any laws were broken. And the report confirms what anyone with half a brain should have known- that Comey was not motivated by partisan bias.

It also basically torpedoes the Trump conspiracy theories of a Deep State/FBI plot against Trump, as it confirms that:

a) Comey does not appear to have been motivated by partisan bias.

b) To the extent that he acted outside of FBI procedure, it was in a manner that more likely hurt Clinton than Trump.

c) The report says fuck all about collusion (despite Trump claiming once again that it clears him), or about the Russia investigations/Mueller.

The grand extent of the evidence for FBI bias against Trump appears to be two individual agents on the investigations (who have since been moved off the Mueller investigation by Mueller himself) who said anti-Trump things in emails to one another, having turned out to have said even more anti-Trump things in emails to one another. As to the fact that the report superficially bolsters the "official" Trump excuse for firing Comey, one still has to deal with the fact that Trump admitted firing Comey over Russia (and has made many attempts to impede the investigation since), so the Obstruction case is still alive and kicking.

Naturally, all of this will be ignored so that people can use the report to bolster said theories, or to scapegoat Comey for Clinton's defeat.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by Tribble » 2018-06-15 06:17pm

Clinton was not guaranteed to win if it was a popular vote, as Trump almost certainly would have had a different strategy to suit that style of election. We'll never know for sure who would have won, as the whole strategy behind the current system is to try and win the most electors. Which Trump certainly capitalized on to the fullest.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-15 06:29pm

Well, there is that. Still, its not like her popular vote win was razor tight, like with Bush v Gore. It was a margin of millions.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by Tribble » 2018-06-15 07:02pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-06-15 06:29pm
Well, there is that. Still, its not like her popular vote win was razor tight, like with Bush v Gore. It was a margin of millions.
True, but if there are three things Trump is good at it's getting publicity, gaming the system and conning people. In a contest where both were running for the popular vote IMO Trump could have still won, or at least it would have been a closer race than the actual vote suggests. Again speculation on my part since that's not how the US presidential election works. Point being that "Clinton would have won via popular vote" isnt really accurate since that's not what either candidate needed to win, and IIRC Trump focused a lot more on swing states than Clinton did.
Last edited by Tribble on 2018-06-15 07:06pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-15 07:06pm

Fair enough. All we know is that as things stand, Clinton won the popular vote by a decent margin, and lost the Electoral College. We can only guess at how an alternate universe would have proceeded.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by White Haven » 2018-06-15 09:43pm

I like how one of your points is 'if Hilary Clinton were someone entirely different' right before complaining about Sanders supporters. Classy.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-15 09:52pm

White Haven wrote:
2018-06-15 09:43pm
I like how one of your points is 'if Hilary Clinton were someone entirely different' right before complaining about Sanders supporters. Classy.
I like how you equate "Bernie or Bust" with "Sanders supporters", then imply that I am shilling for Hillary Clinton because I'm realistic enough not to put the entire blame for the election on her.

Either you know absolutely nothing about my politics (unlikely, since I haven't exactly been secretive about them on this board), or you are deliberately trying to misrepresent or bait me.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by White Haven » 2018-06-15 09:58pm

Naah, I'm just painfully aware that you're an enormous twat, and I'm occasionally unwilling to avoid highlighting that.

Let's be absolutely clear, here. The job of a candidate is to get people to vote for them, both their own party and whatever they can pick up elsewhere. If a candidate is so unappetizing to a substantial section of his or her own party that they refuse to come out and vote for him or her, that is a failing of that candidate. Now, would I be happier with Clinton in the White House over Trump's House of Horseshit? Absolutely. That doesn't somehow mean that failing to secure her own party's votes is on anyone but Clinton herself.

EDIT: Pronoun fix, because fingers are silly things that fire on their own sometimes.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-15 10:25pm

White Haven wrote:
2018-06-15 09:58pm
Naah, I'm just painfully aware that you're an enormous twat, and I'm occasionally unwilling to avoid highlighting that.
Because I have a different view than you on Clinton's defeat? Or are you simply using this opportunity to carry on an unrelated grudge?

I particularly object to the claim that I am blaming Sanders supporters. I do not. I (partially) blame the Bernie or Busters who cared more about their vendetta than about the things Bernie and his supporters were trying to achieve, who used our movement and then stabbed it in the back. Those are two very different things.

Now can that be the end of this tangent, please?
Let's be absolutely clear, here. The job of a candidate is to get people to vote for them, both their own party and whatever they can pick up elsewhere. If a candidate is so unappetizing to a substantial section of his or her own party that they refuse to come out and vote for him or her, that is a failing of that candidate. Now, would I be happier with Clinton in the White House over Trump's House of Horseshit? Absolutely. That doesn't somehow mean that failing to secure her own party's votes is on anyone but Clinton herself.

EDIT: Pronoun fix, because fingers are silly things that fire on their own sometimes.
That's a nice simplistic view, but it isn't really accurate. Does Clinton bear partial responsibility? Sure. But only partially. When multiple extraordinary things outside the norms of the US system occurred, challenges which a candidate does not normally have to face (Comey, aka the actual thread topic, as well as Russian interference), it does not seem fair to put the entire blame on the candidate.

And dismissing the significance of those things to put all the blame on Clinton is in my view dangerous, as failing to understand why Clinton lost will make it harder to prevent such defeats in the future.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by PainRack » 2018-06-16 05:03am

Er... Just how on god green earth did this derail to Sanders vs Clinton ?

The report torpedoes comey justification as still being a breach of FBI protocol , confirms no bias against trump and the best response has to be Hillary tweeting But my Emails, in response to finding out Come also used gmail for work purposes.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-16 07:26pm

PainRack wrote:
2018-06-16 05:03am
Er... Just how on god green earth did this derail to Sanders vs Clinton ?
Because its basically impossible to discuss the causes of Clinton's defeat without someone trying to blame it all on Clinton, and someone else trying to score cheap points against Sanders?

More specifically, I believe it went from discussing the role Comey played in Clinton's defeat (which is directly related to this report), to the various factors that were responsible for Clinton's defeat, to White Haven seizing the excuse to jump on me over my supposed critique of Sanders supporters (false) and the fact that I don't put the entire blame on Hillary Clinton, which then necessitated a response from me to clarify what I was actually saying.
The report torpedoes comey justification as still being a breach of FBI protocol ,
I don't think anyone disagrees that he acted outside the norm, though. The disagreement is over whether extraordinary circumstances justified him in doing so. And I'll note that nothing in the report suggests that he actually did anything illegal.
confirms no bias against trump
Yup. Of course, considering that Comey's actions likely hurt Clinton during the election, the notion that he was biased against Trump was always ridiculous. But in Trump land, anyone who does not show the Dear Leader unquestioning loyalty at all times is a biased partisan who's out to get him. They simply can't (or refuse to) discern the difference between a hostile partisan, and a civil servant who's loyal to the law, not the leader.
and the best response has to be Hillary tweeting But my Emails, in response to finding out Come also used gmail for work purposes.
Yeah. What nobody seems to be pointing out is that a) Comey did not have a dedicated server, and b) his gmail did not include anything classified.
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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by JCady » 2018-06-24 03:26am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-06-16 07:26pm
Yeah. What nobody seems to be pointing out is that a) Comey did not have a dedicated server, and b) his gmail did not include anything classified.
I would point out that Comey not having a dedicated server makes his actions vastly worse from a security standpoint. He put sensitive government work on a public commercial server, creating a massive security exposure for the ridiculously petty excuse of, "But I don't like this model of phone!"

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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-06-25 03:13pm

JCady wrote:
2018-06-24 03:26am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-06-16 07:26pm
Yeah. What nobody seems to be pointing out is that a) Comey did not have a dedicated server, and b) his gmail did not include anything classified.
I would point out that Comey not having a dedicated server makes his actions vastly worse from a security standpoint. He put sensitive government work on a public commercial server, creating a massive security exposure for the ridiculously petty excuse of, "But I don't like this model of phone!"
This is incorrect.

Putting classified information on a public server would no doubt be worse from a security standpoint, for the reasons you said. However, to my knowledge, there is ZERO indication that any of the emails Comey had on his private email contained anything classified. We know Clinton's did. That's a pretty big distinction. Unless you can show me evidence to the contrary, saying that Comey "put sensitive government work on a public commercial server, creating a massive security exposure..." is frankly defaming Comey.

Trying to equate Comey's actions with Clinton's is just another lame attempt at ass-covering by Clinton and her supporters, long past the point where there's any reason to do it other than wounded pride. It says a lot about how awful our current President is that I still genuinely wish that this jackass had won (well, that and she won the popular vote, and I don't believe we should have Presidents elected against the will of the people).
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: OIG report on Comey

Post by FireNexus » 2018-06-25 07:29pm

I’ve never been so glad to come upon a thread when tired from work and arguing with Nazis on reddit than I am in this moment.
I had a Bill Maher quote here. But fuck him for his white privelegy "joke".

All the rest? Too long.

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