(CNSNews.com) - “You just can’t take anything that James Comey says at face value anymore,” said Tom Fitton, president of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch.
On Fox’s “Outnumbered Overtime” on Wednesday, Fitton was commenting on former FBI Director James Comey’s explanation (see below) for his own use of private email to conduct government business:
“It’s the convenience excuse, which is something we’ve heard from Mrs. Clinton disingenuously," Fitton said. "The IG concluded that it was inappropriate, and he shouldn’t have done it, and it raises questions about responses to congressional inquiries, Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits, and whether his email account, personal email account, should have been searched as well.”
Fitton continued, “You just can't take anything that James Comey says at face value anymore, and we need some verification and the FBI and DOJ need to investigate.”
Fitton noted the irony of Comey using a private email system to conduct some government business while serving as FBI director, when he was investigating Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing. The But IG report said there’s no evidence that Comey was sending classified information through his private email account, as Hillary Clinton did.
Fitton described Clinton and Comey “as two peas in a pod” from a legal standpoint.
“There is some irony because he [Comey] did improperly use a private email system to do some government business, and on top of that, he’s being investigated for mishandling classified information, just like Hillary was, and so many ways legally speaking they’re two peas in a pod.”
Comey’s alleged transmittal of classified information came after President Trump fired him – and Comey released notes of his conversations with the president in an attempt, he admitted, to force the appointment of a special counsel.
Page 425 of the DOJ-IG report says: "We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business."
The report cites five examples, including a November 8, 2016 message Comey forwarded to his personal email account from his unclassified FBI account. That document summarized Comey's reasons for notifying Congress about the reactivation, in late October 2016, of the Clinton email investigation.
According to the IG:
We asked Comey about his use of personal email for FBI business and showed him the November 8, 2016 email...as an example. Comey stated:
"I did not have an unclass[ified] FBI connection at home that worked. And I didn’t bother to fix it, whole ‘nother story, but I would either use my BlackBerry, must have been or Samsung...my phone, I had two phones--a personal phone and a government phone. Or if I needed to write something longer, I would type it on my personal laptop and then send it to Rybicki, usually I copied my own address.... Yeah. And so I would use, for unclassified work, I would use my personal laptop for word processing and then send it into the FBI."
We asked Comey if he had any concerns about conducting FBI business on his personal laptop or personal email. Comey stated that he did not and explained:
"Because it was incidental and I was always making sure that the work got forwarded to the government account to either my own account or Rybicki, so I wasn’t worried from a record-keeping perspective and it was, because there will always be a copy of it in the FBI system and I wasn’t doing classified work there, so I wasn’t concerned about that."
Comey stated that he did not use his personal email or laptop for classified or sensitive information, such as grand jury information. Comey told us that he only used his personal email and laptop “when I needed to word process an unclassified [document] that was going to be disseminated broadly, [such as a] public speech or public email to the whole organization.”
We asked Comey if the use of personal email in this manner was in accordance with FBI regulations. Comey replied, “I don’t know. I think so, but I don’t know. I remember talking to Jim [Rybicki] about it at one time, and I had the sense that it was okay.”