Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Every agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation takes an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” And he swears to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office.”
It is much the same oath taken by members of Congress, by military officers and government employees. It is an oath that goes back to Washington and Lincoln. Its origins lie in the Constitution.
And FBI Director James Comey violated it.
The oath is not to any president or government, but to the impartial law of the Constitution. It says that no one is above the law. James Comey twice stated implicitly that one politician is above the law.
Twice now, Comey faced a choice between his own rank and file agents who dutifully followed their oaths and faithfully discharged the duties of their office by investigating criminal conduct at the highest level and his political superiors who sought to protect the criminal conduct from coming to light.
Twice now, Comey submitted to a cover-up. Twice he violated his oath, sold out his own investigators and got nothing for his troubles except a swift kick in the teeth from the national press corps.
Like the Weebles, Comey wobbles. The Bureau’s agents pursue their leads. The DOJ scowls and warns. And Comey tries to serve both masters. He compromises both the investigation and the cover up. He serves up information while selling out its conclusions. His people find evidence of criminality while their boss whitewashes the culprits. Even as new damning emails come out every day, Comey shambles out to wave the whole thing away. He tries to do the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time.
Now Comey did the right thing and the wrong thing again. The order is predictable. The FBI director will only do the right thing until he’s intimidated into doing the wrong thing.
The last time around, one side wanted a cover-up and the other side wanted an investigation. And Comey obligingly gave them both what they wanted. His investigation also doubled as a cover-up. And his cover-up also doubled as an investigation. It all worked very well until Comey had to make a choice.
And Comey chose the cover-up. He laid out evidence of illegal actions and denied they were illegal.
He tried to play the trick a second time, but by now everyone was wise to it. The left demanded an instant cover-up and lambasted the looming lawman for even considering an investigation. It didn’t take long before Comey folded like a cheap Korean car. After being threatened with violations of the Hatch Act and Maureen Dowd no longer telling her media friends that he looks like Henry Fonda, he gave up.
If Comey was expecting gratitude for eventually agreeing to a cover-up, he had misjudged his audience.
“Today’s letter makes Director Comey’s actions nine days ago even more troubling,” Senator Feinstein hissed.
Al Franken shoved his Droopy Dog face into the lens of the nearest CNN camera. “We will have hearings. I’m sure that FBI Director Comey will be before us,” he bellicosely lisped.
Poor Comey. One investigation slash cover up gets you muted applause and sighs of relief. Two and Franken and Feinstein start eyeing your neck like vampires at a blood bank. Sooner or later each man must pick a side. The side of the right or the wrong. The side of the law or the crime. The side of the truth or the lie.
That is the tragedy of James Comey. He wants to be on the side of right and law and truth. At least until days of uninterrupted screeching from CNN talking heads calling for his neck makes him rethink things.
If Comey were thoroughly and irredeemably corrupt, he would be hardly worth mentioning. The Federal bureaucracy is thoroughly rotted with men and women whose venal purposes render all their oaths worthless and others who have already sworn a red oath to aid the supreme power of the left.
We already know that Justice Department officials will collaborate with those whom they are meant to be investigating, that politicians receive debate questions beforehand allowing them to deliver their studied responses and that investigations are as rigged as schooners by the political establishment.
Comey is neither thoroughly corrupt nor a career leftist. The FBI Director is simply a coward. He is not without his convictions. If he were, the investigation that he has belatedly quashed twice, would have been aborted far earlier. He would never have mentioned the Ferguson Effect, despite the displeasure of the White House, or engaged in sundry other violations of the politically correct norms of Obamastan.
Instead Comey exemplifies the famous quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Comey is not evil. He is one of the many “good men” in our government and private life who do nothing. And he doesn’t even quite do nothing. Instead Comey pushes the moment to its crisis and then conducts a rapid retreat to save his political skin. Unlike his previous maneuver, this time he miscalculated the timing of the retreat and came under vicious fire.
Why did Comey come under such a torrent of attacks from the White House to CNN? Because he had shown in his previous outing that he will fold under pressure. And after a brief few days of barraging, of being threatened by Harry Reid and denounced in the press, he waved a white flag.
We often wonder why the left has been allowed to conduct its long institutional march with so little opposition. How have we lost so much of the Constitution without more encountering more opposition?
The tragedy of James Comey provides a very revealing answer. Even the men who have been chosen to stand on the wall as the first and final defense of the Constitution lack the stomach for the task. Their service is honorable only until they face sufficient opposition to persuade them that their six figure salaries and lovely homes would be endangered by actually doing their jobs. And so they go along, inwardly grumbling at the compromises they are forced to make while shushing their subordinates.
James Comey took an oath. But he also has a $3 million house in Westport. The same is true, in various price ranges, across the government. Comey tried to keep his oath until it posed too much of a risk.
And then he broke it.
There are many Comeys in our government. Some are elected officials and others appointed ones. They hate the compromises that they are forced to make. And they push back to the extent of their courage.
And then their courage fails. And they get into their long black cars and their drivers take them back home. The Constitution can be smelled burning in their tailpipes. They turn on the television at home and they watch it, wishing that someone out there would have the courage to do the right thing.
There are those who hoped that James Comey would be that man. But, like so many of them, he chose his career, his home and his ambitions over his oath.