DOJ Report: Comey Violated FBI Policy by Leaking Memos

Comey avoids prosecution, but sets 'dangerous example'

Former FBI Director James Comey Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee
Former FBI Director James Comey / Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general found that former FBI Director James Comey violated FBI policy by retaining and then leaking a series of memos concerning his interactions with President Donald Trump during the early days of his administration.

The report concluded "that Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement." Seven memos were leaked to the media, four of which were eventually deemed to have contained classified information, CNN reported

"Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure," the report states. "What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome."

"The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties," it states. 

It then blasted Comey for setting "a dangerous example":

Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.

Comey defended himself on Twitter, writing, "DOJ IG ‘found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media.' I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you' would be nice."

Comey will not be prosecuted for his handling of the memos, the DOJ said in a statement.