James Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) appointed by President Barack Obama, has never been a man independent of the law. This is not because his heart wasn’t in the right place or because his intentions may have been malicious. Instead, Comey has always been a man of the state — much like any other person to have occupied this position in history. What does that mean? That personal responsibility, morals, and any other ethical framework aren’t applied if what’s at stake is the government’s hold on the narrative.
Ever since the days of J. Edgar Hoover, when the bureau became what it is now - a politicized powerhouse where anyone and everyone is the target — presidents have relied on the FBI as a tool, not a force for what’s right.
But calls for an “independent” bureau, headed by someone who only has the U.S. Constitution in mind, have been popping up here and there, leading many to believe that the FBI could, under the right leadership, be a force for good.
Unfortunately, that wish will never materialize so long as the agency is an arm of the state.
But for the sake of argument, what constitutes a “good reason” to let go of an FBI director? And how low or how absolutely immoral can an action undertaken by said FBI director be for a president to make the decision to fire him? In this article, we attempt to look at instances in Comey’s career as the G-men’s boss that should have been enough reason to let him go.
1. He Could Have Stopped the Boston Bombers and the NY Terrorist but Let Them Go
We all know Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the brothers responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. What many may not know, or not remember, is that the FBI, under the watch of none other than Comey, interviewed Tamerlan in 2011 after the Russian Federal Security Service (FBS) tipped off the agency about his radical beliefs. After looking into this complaint, the FBI dismissed the Tsarnaevs. But during a trip to Dagestan in 2012, Tamerlan frequented a mosque believed by the FBS to be associated with radical Islamic activities.
After a second warning, the FBI again failed to keep track of the older brother and his moves. Ultimately, the duo produced two homemade bombs and had them detonated near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring several hundred others.
But the Tsarnaev brothers weren’t the only ones the FBI had the power to stop under Comey’s watch.
Ahmad Rahami was responsible for the September 2016 bombings of New York City and nearby towns, which injured 31 people. His father had called the authorities two years prior to the incidents, telling them his son was a terrorist. After briefly interviewing him, the FBI let him go. Two years later, Rahami attempted to kill people with three bombs and several explosive devices.
2. The FBI Competed with the NSA and Spied on Innocent Americans (Still, Comey Lied About It)
After former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden stepped out of the shadows as a whistleblower, his revelations proved the NSA mass-spied on innocent Americans without due process. Not too long after we learned about this, it was also unveiled that the FBI conducted its own data mining, also targeting innocent Americans.
Unfortunately, Comey wasn’t upfront about any of the then-recent discoveries. Much like James Clapper, the former U.S. Intelligence Director who lied under oath when asked if the NSA collected “any type of data at all on millions of Americans” — to which Clapper said “No, sir” — Comey denied that the FBI was involved in any illegal activities.
During a 2014 speech at the Brookings Institution, Comey said:
“In the wake of the Snowden disclosures, the prevailing view is that the government is sweeping up all of our communications. That is not true.”
3. FBI Demanded Apple to Create ‘Backdoor’ to iPhones
Who can forget the bloody and tragic San Bernardino shooting? No one. But what many appear to have forgotten is how the FBI pressed Apple to create a “backdoor” that would give them access not only to the two suspects’ phones but also to any of Apple’s phones.
This very public feud pitted the country’s most notorious tech companies against the most powerful law enforcement agency in the land, sparking everybody’s fears that, perhaps, Apple would cave.
But Apple didn’t. Due to this alone, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook may deserve to be given a new nickname, “the man with the balls of steel.”
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If these three very important moments of irresponsibility and rights violations weren’t enough to prompt Obama to put an end to Comey’s career as the head of the FBI, then why not let him go now – even if over something else entirely?