Published in the Irish Voice newspaper on Wednesday, Nov 9th.
FBI Director James Comey, an Irish American kid from Yonkers, should consider his position irrespective of who was elected president on Tuesday.
He has hopelessly compromised himself and his agency and blatantly interfered in the election process despite warnings by the Justice Department to desist.
There is no rational explanation to his behavior, especially after his investigation of the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner computer turned up zero, zilch.
Many experts on both sides believed there surely had to be something new for Comey to take the drastic step of informing Congress that the FBI Clinton email investigation, shut down in July after no potential crime was discovered, was once again examining potential evidence.
But it still turned out to be a nothing-burger, an empty bun, a bottomless BBQ pit of smoke without fire, a crime with no name.
In the process both parties have every right to feel aggrieved.
For Democrats, Comey’s announcement two weeks ago sent a shiver down voters’ spines and quite likely ushered some undecided voters away from her camp. In addition, down ballot races were likely affected as few voters look beyond the headlines these days.
Even the announcement of the exoneration on Sunday was hardly all that helpful. Having emails and FBI, irrespective of the story, as the main headline on the final weekend of campaigning deeply interfered with Clinton’s closing message of the need to work together once the national nightmare is over.
For Republicans, the final Comey statement was another example of how a botched investigation continued to dominate headlines at a time when they too were focused on their final message.
Outside of the two parties, however, there was a real sense of deep damage being done to the FBI. It has rightfully enjoyed a nonpartisan reputation, far from its Herbert Hoover days when it was used to pry into the private lives of Hoover’s enemies.
It took the FBI a long time to overcome that stain, but now it finds itself floundering at a crucial moment in the history of the nation.
Intervening in the most toxic election season perhaps in American history and mishandling an inquiry so poorly raises fundamental questions about the FBI’s competence that must be answered.
That can only be laid at the door of Comey, who has navigated the treacherous waters around the Clinton email issue with all the skill of a drunken sailor. It seemed at times he was guarding his own reputation rather than thinking of the legacy of the agency he was leading.
The other unwritten aspect of this is surely the focus of the FBI, which needs to be squarely on the domestic threat to America from jihadi forces. We can only hope this current donnybrook has not brought about any diminution in that task.
Comey must know that, despite his mandated 10-year term, he is a deeply damaged figure in Washington, D.C. as a result of this partisan intervention.
If there was some smoking gun that related to “pertinent” information in his own words, it might perhaps be justified.
However, such was not the case, and a proud agency has seen its reputation besmirched from the top down.
There is only one obvious reaction: reset the relationship, start over again with a new face. James Comey now inhabits the worst of all worlds, with everyone mad at him and nothing to show for it. He should do the honorable thing.