Former FBI Director James Comey responded Thursday in The New York Times to a bombshell inspector general report criticizing his stewardship of the agency.
In the op-ed, published just minutes after the report was released, Comey makes an extended defense of his decision making, and explicitly rejects the IG’s findings.
“I do not agree with all of the inspector general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism,” Comey wrote. “All of our leaders need to understand that accountability and transparency are essential to the functioning of our democracy, even when it involves criticism.”
“This is how the process is supposed to work,” he added.
The former director said the report was significant for two reasons: firstly because it “resoundingly demonstrates” that there was no prosecutable case against Hillary Clinton, and secondly because it provides an exhaustive anatomy of law enforcement investigations for future leaders.
Whatever the IG’s views, Comey emphasized his team faced novel situation in the Clinton and Russia investigations, with practically no precedents on which to rely. He elsewhere claims that the IG’s scrutiny helps protect the FBI’s institutional integrity.
Thursday’s IG report concluded that Comey “engaged in ad hoc decision-making based on his personal views, even if it meant rejecting longstanding Department policy or practice.” In the Times op-ed, the former director admitted the inquiry has been painful, but believes his choices were consistent with institutional norms.
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