Lawyer Who Leaked Comey Memos Speaks: "They Were Not Marked Classified"

One day after The Hill reported that "more than half" of Comey's leaked memos of his conversations with Donald Trump contained classified information, the Columbia University Law School professor, confidant of former FBI Director James Comey, and ultimately leaker to the NYT has spoken up, and in taking another page out of Hillary Clinton's playbook, countered the accusation that Comey violated FBI protocol because none of the memos were marked classified.

According to CNN, Daniel Richman, with whom Comey shared at least one memo the contents of which Richman shared with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, said President Trump was wrong in accusing Comey of sharing classified information with journalists.

"No memo was given to me that was marked 'classified,'" Daniel Richman told CNN. "No memo was passed on to the Times."

Well, not quite: Richman did share the contents of one memo, he said, but "the substance of the memo passed on to the Times was not marked classified and to my knowledge remains unclassified."

Well, not quite again: During his June testimony Comey said he specifically wrote the memos to avoid including classified information to make them "easier to discuss."

"My thinking was, if I write it in such a way that I don't include anything that would trigger a classification, that'll make it easier for us to discuss, within the FBI and the government, and to -- to hold on to it in a way that makes it accessible to us," Comey told senators.

And here, as in the case of Hillary Clinton, is where the problem emerges, because what Comey considered not confidential - just like Clinton - has differed from others' opinion. As The Hill reported late on Sunday, "more than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents."

In other words, whether he wrote or rewrote the memos to make the leak "easier" - which also begs the question what else was redacted or added to the original content - the confidential information remained.

As we discussed yesterday, the first similarity with the Clinton case is that according to The HIll's original report, by leaking confidential information, Comey likely "broke his own agency's rules and ignored the same security protocol" that Comey criticized Hillary Clinton for disregarding.

As CNN adds, in yet another similarity with the Clinton email server case, some of the info in the memos may not have been deemed classified - supposedly by Comey who was the only one to have access to his own creations - but have since been upgraded to classified, although that does not answer who would have done that, considering the only person to have possession of said memos is Special Prosecutor Mueller who, as his recent interactions with the president suggest, is not exactly a fan of Trump.


SWRichmond Mercury Mon, 07/10/2017 - 17:14 Permalink

So Comey wrote his own notes of conversations, notes containing classified information, and didn't mark the newly written notes classified, and that's OK?Tell it to any of the people in jail for that.This is fucking unbelievable.So if I recopy H bomb plans in my own notes, and publish that, that's OK?OK cool.

In reply to by Mercury

RAT005 hooligan2009 Mon, 07/10/2017 - 17:40 Permalink

We've been through this with Illary.  The exact marking on a piece of paper or document is not what defines "Classified".  Classified is content that the "authorized" person is trained to know is Classified.  I'm a nobody.  If I find a piece of paper that isn't marked Classified, I'm not responsible for realizing the content is Classified.  If Comey or Illary are passing info around they are responsible for knowing what is likely classified.  If either idiot puts the most Classified info on a piece of paper and hands it out on the street corner to everyone, they aren't off the hook because they didn't mark Classified at the top.

In reply to by hooligan2009

CheapBastard NoDebt Mon, 07/10/2017 - 18:54 Permalink

Running the STOP sign is illegal?How as I supposed to Know dat?This highly educated lawyer who worked in the doj for years KNEW or HAD REASON TO KNOW this stuff was classifed.He deserves to be indicted at the minimum, and 5-20 years in jail maximum.Would someone pleeze give Sessons a shot of narcan and wake him up from his stupor?!

In reply to by NoDebt

lurker since 2012 RAT005 Mon, 07/10/2017 - 18:39 Permalink

Comey said,

"My thinking was, if I write it in such a way that I don't include anything that would trigger a classification, that'll make it easier for us to discuss, within the FBI and the government, and to -- to hold on to it in a way that makes it accessible to us," Comey told senators.The problem is why would the FBI want to discuss a 'persons personal document'  IMO Comey's memo's are Government documents. And Comey at least should have marked his own Menos with Secret and/or classified. Who did this person work for?

In reply to by RAT005

swmnguy SWRichmond Mon, 07/10/2017 - 17:59 Permalink

Actually, the H-bomb was the focus of the case, United States v. Progressive, Inc.  The Progressive magazine was going to publish an article by Howard Morland, who pieced together the plans for the H bomb from unclassified documents and interviewing scientists at various US nuclear facilities.  The US government sued to suppress the article.  When The Progressive resisted, eventually the government dropped the case because their case was unwinnable.The article was published in November, 1979.

In reply to by SWRichmond

swmnguy Bay of Pigs Tue, 07/11/2017 - 14:14 Permalink

No, I've never defended Comey.  He's a poisonous snake by nature and profession.I have said I'd be surprised if he outright lied about anything.  Not because he's so upstanding but because he knows the rules and how the game is played.  He knows how to lie without being held accountable for lying.  Because he's not just a professional lawyer but a longtime political professional and an insider.I have never defended Comey.  I have resisted some of the more ignorant and hyperventilating assertions made by people who don't understand how dirty political maneuvering work.In this comment, I was struck by the hypothetical example "SWRichmond" chose, because it's actually happened.  So I mentioned that fact.Again, trying to clarify the context of a situation leads to better understanding.  If you choose not to understand what's going on around you because it takes some of the wind out of simplistic outrage, that's your affair entirely.

In reply to by Bay of Pigs

dark fiber SWRichmond Mon, 07/10/2017 - 18:46 Permalink

You don't get to choose your classification for your notes.  You have to submit them for evaluation and request clearance to release them, because there may be other classified information there that you may not be aware of yourself (because classified).  Comey has broken so many rules it is surreal.  This is bellow banana republic standards.

In reply to by SWRichmond

MaxThrust SWRichmond Mon, 07/10/2017 - 19:05 Permalink

"Ok Cool:"     It is actually.This means all those people with Top Secret clearence and above can now start informing us sheep all about  some really exciting things like: Zero Point Energy Tech, Alien Contacts, The Deepstate Hierarchy.Their defense, simply "I made my own notes and made sure not to include the Clasification of the information"If Comey is not charged with a crime the Deepstate is really going to start squirming. Think of the secrets that people could be able to tell us all if Comey's action are innocent. Free James Comey

In reply to by SWRichmond

auricle Mercury Mon, 07/10/2017 - 17:25 Permalink

So, every document that is created that contains classified information, technically isn't classified until someone puts a stamp on it saying it is? And during the period of non-classification anyone is free to do with it what they want even post it up on social media. Is this the shit show that is our FBI? That is exactly what Clinton and now Comey have used for their defense. Two people at the highest ranks of government. What an absolute embarassement.  Leakers in government should go full on with this. Leak all your investigations prior to classification. In fact, make memo's about existing classified information so you can promptly leak anything you want. 

In reply to by Mercury

jcaz SubjectivObject Mon, 07/10/2017 - 17:15 Permalink

Wow- playing the "I was too stupid to know" card pretty early in the game.....  What- did you think your buddy Comey was sharing hush-hush baking tips with you?   Didn't you pause when you actually READ really important shit and think "Hmm, maybe this isn't for my eyes..."?   Isn't reading comprehension kinda important for any lawyer???Funny to watch Comey's buddy abandon ship, tho-  notice that he didn't exclude Comey from culpability, as he easily could have done.

In reply to by SubjectivObject