John Solomon recently broke the news that former FBI director James Comey will soon face a “reckoning” for leaking memos of his conversations with the president. Solomon means Comey will be embarrassed by an imminent inspector general report containing stern language. Solomon does not mean that Comey will face any legal consequences, however, because “prosecutors working for Attorney General William Barr reportedly have decided to decline prosecution.”
Many recognize Comey as a central figure in the Russia collusion hoax, the U.S. Department of Justice’s interference in the 2016 election, and subsequent resistance to the transfer of power to President Trump. It’s frustrating for knowledgeable observers to see Comey’s elite status confer immunity from crimes for which less-privileged citizens are routinely prosecuted.
A deeper look at the article provides a clue that the memo-leaking investigation may have been abandoned, however, because it’s insignificant compared to the real reason Comey needs to be held to account. Solomon wrote, “‘There are significant issues emerging with how the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court-supervised surveillance] was handled and other conduct in the investigation, and everyone involved remains under scrutiny,’ a second source said.”
As I previously reported, even before the Russia collusion hoax, Comey signed his name on sweeping surveillance violations. Pursuing Comey on the memo-leaking offense would be like charging Comey for jaywalking after he crossed the street to fire a close-range kill shot at our Constitution.
There have been increasingly serious scandals regarding U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Americans. In 2013, for example, the National Security Agency found its employees had used the most powerful spying tools to monitor their spouses and lovers.
In 2014, The New York Times reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had hacked emails of Senate investigators. This is an extremely serious assault on Congress’s oversight powers under Article I of the Constitution, and a violation of the CIA’s charter. Yet the Department of Justice declined to prosecute, and the CIA got away with it.
The NSA has compiled a database of all the data. What kind of data? All of it: Facebook posts, emails, voicemails, facial recognition, communication on dating apps, naughty pictures you send your wife, and your college transcript. As our devices increasingly listen and watch their owners, the NSA has found ways to access images and sounds captured by your computer, phone, and iPads.
Comey once confided in a reporter that he keeps tape over his laptop camera. Now, why would he do that, as the court charged with ensuring that the government does not abuse this database required he and former CIA director John Brennan to certify the FBI did not use this database to spy on Americans without a warrant?
This may be why. Since 2017, we’ve known that Comey lied to this court to cover for FBI abuse of the database. He signed a false affidavit certifying that the FBI did not query the database on Americans without a warrant.
Keep in mind, this database has what George Orwell foresaw in his famous novel “1984,” the ability to invade every corner of American life from the comfort of a government computer. As I wrote recently, “The [court] noted that the FBI not only accessed the database, but it did so with such frequency that it resorted to the extra manpower of outside contractors to conduct the searches.”
Comey presided over an assembly line of constitutional violations. As I noted, “The FISC court did not provide numbers but it’s reasonable to infer that the term ‘widespread’ in reference to ongoing violations by multiple officials could mean thousands of felonies under the cover of the Comey and Brennan affidavits that apparently remain uncorrected, in spite of having been found false by a published court opinion.”
Solomon recently filed his own motion to publicize FISA records. Solomon has reason to suspect that the court knows of serious misconduct by multiple government attorneys appearing before it. If the government can lie without consequence to a court charged with supervising the FBI’s surveillance of Americans, that operates as a de facto repeal of the constitutional amendment prohibiting warrantless search and seizure. We have reason to hope for Solomon’s success.
Unlimited access to American secrets offers the intelligence bureaucracy unlimited power to “secure” U.S. citizens. Former director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover used the investigative forces of the FBI to develop blackmail files against public officials. Hoover brought presidents to heel with his secret files, placing himself above the electorate.
Such power undermines self-government and, as noted by the Washington Times, remained a temptation for Hoover’s successor, Comey. If Attorney General William Barr says he’s more interested in looking at Comey’s FISA abuses than leaking memos of his conversations with the president, there might yet be hope for our republic.
This article has been edited since publication.