The New York Post exclusively obtained 156 of 1,200 pages of messages in which the former FBI director and his chief of staff James Rybicki discussed government business. DOJ refused to hand over seven of the messages because they “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.” Another 363 pages were withheld because they contained privileged FBI communications or out of personal privacy concerns.
The messages–which span from 2013 to 2017, with many highly redacted–were obtained by the Post after conservative watchdog, Cause of Action Institute, filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking Comey’s work-related emails from his private account.
The emails–according to the Post–show that the former FBI director used his personal email throughout the Clinton email investigation.
“Using private email to conduct official government business endangers transparency and accountability, and that is why we sued the Department of Justice,” Cause of Action Institute’s CEO John Vecchione told the Post.
He continued, “We’re deeply concerned that the FBI withheld numerous emails citing FOIA’s law enforcement exemption. This runs counter to Comey’s statements that his use of email was incidental and never involved any sensitive matters.”
Highlights from Comey’s Messages:
October 7, 2015: Comey complains that his “mobile is not sending emails” and asks an aide that documents be sent to his private account. Comey said the request was “embarrassing for us,” seemingly acknowledging the hypocrisy of his use of a private email account while the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton for the same practice.
September 30, 2015: Comey emailed Rybicki an article about Russian hackers trying to gain access to Hillary Clinton’s email server. He wrote, “Need to be sure our colleagues across the street don’t think I actually said most of the stuff they attribute to me.”
July 25, 2016: Comey apparently emailed Rybicki a link to a Lawfare article questioned what the US government knew about Russia and the DNC hack, writing “I suspect there will be more of these kinds of stories.”
The messages also contained emails about changes to Comey’s security detail and concerns about a mass shooting at a Chicago school in 2016.