Former FBI Director James Comey said many news stories are “dead wrong,” called a New York Times story false, and compared reporters to hungry seagulls during his Senate testimony Thursday.
The February Times story said that intercepted phone calls and phone records showed that Trump campaign officials and associates were in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Comey said: “In the main – it was not true. The challenge — and I’m not picking on reporters — about writing stories about classified information is that people talking about it often don’t really know what is going on.”
“And those of us who actually know what’s going on aren’t talking about it,” he added. “And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there.”
The Times said in a statement: “We are looking into James Comey’s statements, and we will report back with more information as soon as we can.” There has yet to be a correction added to the story.
Later in the hearing, Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford asked Comey, “Have there been news accounts about the Russian investigation, about collusion, about this whole event or accusations that as you as read the story you were stunned about how wrong they got the facts?” The former FBI director replied, “Yes, there have been many, many stories purportedly based on classified information about…about lot’s of stuff, but about Russia that are just dead wrong.”
Comey also admitted in his testimony that he leaked memos about his meetings with President Trump through a friend to a reporter. He was worried about doing it directly, as “it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach.”