Former FBI Director James Comey, who led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email while secretary of state, also used his personal email to conduct official business, according to a report from the Justice Department on Thursday.
The report also found that while Comey was “insubordinate” in his handling of the email investigation, political bias did not play a role in the FBI’s decision to clear Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing.
The report from the office of the inspector general “identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business.”
In three of the five examples, investigators said Comey sent drafts he had written from his FBI email to his personal account.
In one instance, he sent a “proposed post-election message for all FBI employees that was entitled ‘Midyear thoughts,'” the report states. In another instance, Comey again “sent multiple drafts of a proposed year-end message to FBI employees” from his FBI account to his personal email account.
In other instances, Comey sent himself an email of “proposed responses to two requests for information from the Office of Special Counsel” that contained two attachments. One attachment was “a certification for Comey to sign” and the other was “a list of FBI employees” that included “their titles, office, appointment status, contact information, and duty hours.”
The report states that when asked if he was concerned with his use of personal email or laptops, Comey said he was not, because he wouldn’t use either for classified or sensitive information:
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.
Rybicki refers to Comey’s former chief of staff, James Rybicki.
Comey also said he used personal email or laptops “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.”
Investigators also asked Comey if his use of personal email “was in accordance with FBI regulations,” to which he responded, “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.”
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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