By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Fact: The Justice Department, of which the F.B.I. is a part, has a longstanding rule against disclosing inflammatory information to the public, and even to Congress, about an investigation within 60 days of an election, because that might be influencing the vote.
With that being the case, what was James Comey, the F.B.I. director, thinking when he opted to send Congress a brief, inscrutable, election- shaking letter about emails that may or may not be new or relevant to the previously concluded investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server a week ago?
To make matters worse, it now turns out that Comey knew nothing about the substance of the emails, which were found during a separate investigation of a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides.
Now, because of Mr. Comey rash and irresponsible decision, the Justice Department and the F.B. I. are scrambling to process hundreds of thousands of emails to determine whether there is anything relevant in them before Nov. 8. More importantly, this is not how federal investigations are conducted.
Comey’s last minute decision to cast his agency into the political fray looks even more nefarious now considering new information. On Monday, CNN reported that in early October, Mr. Comey fought successfully to keep the F.B.I. name off a government report regarding evidence that Russia was attempting to interfere in the presidential election.
He believed the report was accurate but did not want to sign on to it so close to the election.
Thus, his recent decision absolutely makes no sense. Mr. Comey demonstrated prudent reticence in opting not to thrust the F.B.I. into the presidential crosshairs in October, but was unwilling to exercise that same, sound restraint a mere 12 days before the General Election.
From all indications, the director’s misguided letter is having a definite impact on this election, as Trump continues to climb in the national and battle ground polls.
But, will it be enough to deliver the White House to Donald Trump? Only time will tell.
The F.B.I. has an essential role in national security and law enforcement, and it also has the awesome power to destroy someone, delivering blows as only the bureau can.
It cannot and must devolve into what it was in the 20th century after the Cold War – a backbiting, bitter, badly led phalanx of spies with guns – or revert to its old role under J. Edgar Hoover as an instrument of political warfare.