Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s interview reignites questions about Comey’s handling of confidential info
Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein joined Fox News to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
During the interview, Rosenstein criticized Comey’s decision to leak confidential FBI memos to the New York Times.
From Fox News:
“If we decide not to prosecute,” he added, “we don’t make any disparaging comments about the people we investigate,” an apparent reference to Comey’s harsh criticism of Clinton even as he announced she would not be charged.
Rosenstein also expressed disapproval when asked about Comey’s recent admission that he enlisted a friend to leak memos of Comey’s conversations with President Trump to the New York Times.
“As a general proposition, you have to understand the Department of Justice. We take confidentiality seriously, so when we have memoranda about our ongoing matters, we have an obligation to keep that confidential,” Rosenstein said.
When asked if he would prohibit releasing memos related to a discussion with the president, the deputy attorney general said, “I think it is quite clear … we have a responsibility to the people who we are investigating, we have a responsibility to the people conducting those investigations, to keep our investigations confidential.”
Last month, The Federalist discussed Comey’s decision to leak confidential documents via a friend, asking whether doing so violated FBI rules:
Comey explained that he shared the memos with his friend, a professor at Columbia University, who then shared them with the New York Times, actions that may violate the FBI’s own employee agreement.
“My judgment was I needed to get [the memos] out into the public square,” Comey said. “So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
By his own account, it seems that Comey may not have followed the agency’s employee agreement, which places numerous restrictions on the use of information or documents acquired during an individual’s employment by the FBI. Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of the FBI employment agreement appear to cover Comey’s distribution of content he says he created on government property in his capacity as a government official.
Paragraph 2 states that all materials acquired in connection with an employee’s official duties are property of the U.S. government and that such materials must be surrendered to the FBI upon an employee’s separation from the agency. Paragraph 3 states that employees are prohibited from releasing “any information acquired by virtue of my official employment” to “unauthorized individual[s] without prior official written authorization by the FBI.” Paragraph 4 of the agreement requires FBI employees, prior to disclosing or publishing information acquired during their employment, to submit the information to FBI authorities for review to determine whether it is authorized for public release.
While the media continues to focus on the Trump/Russia Collusion boogeyman, no one seems concerned about the fact that Comey’s leaking could be a serious violation of FBI rules.
The political media set is still incensed that Comey was fired mid-investigation, a recommendation Rosenstein still defends. If Comey did break rules concerning the handling of confidential information, he should be investigated accordingly. Sadly, it makes him no better than the Clinton camp who willingly disseminated classified information, even though Comey advised they never intended any harm in doing so.
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