Former FBI Director James Comey used his personal Gmail to discuss his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal server use, a new report by the New York Post reveals. According to documents the newspaper obtained from a conservative watchdog group, Comey discussed FBI-related business on 1,200 pages of messages, at least seven of which were so sensitive that the Department of Justice refused to release them after a request through the Freedom of Information Act.
An additional 363 pages were withheld because they contained information that was personal in nature or because they were related to agency communications. All of the messages, which were obtained by the Cause of Action Institute, a conservative watchdog group, were sent between 2013 and 2017. Many of the messages were heavily redacted. More emails are likely to be obtained in the near future, according to the Post.
During his tenure as FBI Director, Comey said that he had conducted business related to the agency on his personal laptop, but that business was “incidental.” The Cause of Action Institute expressed concern at the news that the ex-directors had, in fact, used his personal email account for official business.
“Using private email to conduct official government business endangers transparency and accountability, and that is why we sued the Department of Justice,” said John Vecchione, Cause of Action CEO.
“We’re deeply concerned that the FBI withheld numerous emails citing FOIA’s law enforcement exemption. This runs counter to Comey’s statements that his use of email was incidental and never involved any sensitive matters.”
Lisa Rosenberg, director of the nonpartisan coalition Open the Government, called Comey’s use of his personal Gmail account a double standard.
“It’s just so transparently hypocritical to have one standard for a person you are investigating and an entirely different standard for yourself when you are the one who’s enforcing the law,” Rosenberg said.
Comey was fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017 for his role in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers, according to the president.
Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
Clinton had pointed out that Comey had allegedly used his personal email for government business earlier this year. Comey pushed back against Clinton, saying that she just didn’t understand what the investigation was really about.
“It was not about her use of a personal email system. It was about communicating about classified topics on that system when those topics have to be done on a classified system,” he said at the time.