FBI Trick (or Treat)

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Last Friday the presidential campaigns were respectively surprised and shocked by the news that James Comey, Director of the FBI, had sent a letter to members of Congress informing them that the FBI had discovered a trove of emails belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin on the laptop of her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.  Weiner is a sad case of sexually frustrated narcissism, who cannot stop tweeting lewd pictures of himself to women he doesn’t know, and usually pays a high price for it.  The first time he got caught it cost him his job as a US Representative, the second time it blew his minimal chances of becoming New York City’s mayor, and the third time it cost him his marriage.  The FBI was investigating Weiner’s laptop because he had tweeted pictures of his dick to a 15 year old girl and apparently hoped to start a relationship, a federal offense.  Abedin’s emails were thus discovered by accident, but Comey felt that he had to inform Congress after having testified earlier that Clinton had committed no crime by operating a private email server.
      After the initial news broke, it became clear that Comey had no idea if Abedin’s emails contained any classified or otherwise incriminating information, because the FBI had not yet obtained a warrant to review them.  Subsequently, it turned out that the FBI had known for weeks that the laptop contained these emails, making it a mystery why a warrant was not obtained and why Comey waited until eleven days before the election to inform Congress.  The most plausible explanation is that Comey knew or suspected that some of his underlings would leak the information to the press, which explains why Comey sent an email to FBI personnel informing them that he had contacted Congress, where his letter was leaked immediately. The whole affair shows at least that Comey doesn’t have a grip on the organization he’s supposed to be in charge of, but it may be a lot worse.  He should never have sent his letter without first having established if the emails changed his earlier conclusion, and if they didn’t he was under no obligation to inform Congress at all.
      If it turns out that Abedin’s emails were already known to the FBI and/or don’t contain incriminating information, Comey has violated a rule that prohibits disseminating information that may affect the outcome of an election within 60 days of the election date. It is an inexplicable blunder for a civil servant who is highly regarded on both sides of the aisle, and Comey, who is tenured in his position, will have a lot of explaining to do.
      Today the FBI has suddenly acquired the warrant that allows agents to review the emails, and it is reasonable to assume that they are already working overtime to provide the answers that everybody, but mostly Democrats, are demanding.  Comey may still be able to reduce the damage he has done if he can elaborate on or withdraw his letter tomorrow.
      Of course the Trump campaign is jumping on the news like a fly on a pile of shit.  Without any new facts Hillary Clinton’s handling of her emails is declared worse than Watergate.  By a different token, Comey can now be considered worse than Wikileaks.

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