Saturday, October 29, 2016

Calling on FBI Director James Comey To Resign

The FBI Director should resign - immediately.

Not only because, in violation of FBI policy, he released a political bombshell fewer than 60 days before an election - 11 days, and the most important election in our country, the election of President - but because his announcement contained no evidence, and is in fact just a fishing expedition having nothing to do with why the FBI had previously been investigating Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.

That case, the results of which also should not have been announced, was closed, with no charges recommended against Clinton.  FBI policy regarding cases which are closed is to announce just that, not to offer songs and dances about what the subject of the investigation might have done wrong, but was not illegal.  What someone might have done wrong, if not illegal, has always been nobody's business except the FBI and its closed case files.

But in many ways, Comey's announcement yesterday was even more irresponsible and reprehensible. Why was the FBI looking at Hillary aide Huma Abedin's computer in the first place?  Because her sicko husband Anthony Weiner might have used it to send pornographic pictures of himself to underage children.   What does that have to do with Hillary - so much so that the Republicans in Congress gleefully announced that the FBI was "re-opening" its investigation into Hillary Clinton which it closed this summer?  Nothing.

The FBI did discover that Huma Abedin used the same computer as Anthony Weiner on occasion. So?  Having already gone over with a fine-tooth comb thousands and thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails already, and found nothing actionable, what is the likelihood that FBI will now find something, anything relevant to Clinton's emails on Abedin's computer?  Hillary never used the computer herself, and we don't even know if any of Hillary's emails were ever on Abedin's computer.

So this is a fishing expedition.  The FBI is entitled to waste its time, and examine any computer they like.  But announcing this expedition-in-near-absurdity 11 days prior to the most important election in our lifetime is way beyond the pale, and an extraordinary violation of what the FBI is supposed to be: a politically neutral investigative bureau, not an organization than inserts itself in elections - vitally important elections - on the wispiest of reasons.

My father was a lawyer, had friends in the FBI - one lived in our apartment house in the Bronx.  My father was even thinking of joining the FBI.  That was in the 1960s, when the FBI was in the forefront of protecting the civil rights of African-Americans and all Americans.  I was proud of the FBI, then.  More recently, in the past few decades, I have had occasion to give glowing references in FBI interviews to two of my former students at Fordham University who were applying to join the Bureau.  I have hosted FBI agents at conferences I helped organize at Fairleigh Dickinson University about kinesics (non-verbal communication) in 1977 and about The Sopranos at Fordham University in 2008.

I'm still proud of the FBI.  It's one of our great American institutions.  But Director Comey has disgraced the organization - twice now - with his kowtowing to his Republican Party.  He needs to leave.  If not, President Hillary Clinton's Attorney General will need to ask him to leave as a first order of business.

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