By Paul Bremmer
It didn’t have to end this way for James Comey.
The former FBI director could have avoided the national embarrassment of being fired by the president of the United States if he had only done one thing differently. So says a former Department of Homeland Security officer and whistleblower.
“Mr. Comey made a fatal error, and I can tell you exactly when it was,” Philip Haney told host John Wells on a recent episode of “Caravan to Midnight.” “When he finished his investigation of the Hillary email stuff, he gave the press conference, and he came right up to the ultimate edge of saying that she committed criminal acts, and then, all of a sudden, in another blink, the next sentence he said, ‘But no reasonable judge would indict her on criminal charges.’
“That was his fatal error, because what he should have done right there is simply said, ‘And now, I’m going to give it to Loretta Lynch and let her make the final decision.’ That was the moment right there. Everything else has been downhill from there.”
Haney, who worked in Customs and Border Protection during his DHS career, said he and his fellow law enforcement officials all knew it was over for Comey at that point. He said if he had been Comey’s friend, he would have sat him down before the press conference and asked if he realized he was about to face the biggest moral challenge of his career. He would have encouraged the FBI director to do the right thing regardless of the potential blowback from the Obama administration.
“If he had stood up to Obama, Inc. and simply handed the case to Loretta Lynch, hey, even if they fired him, he would have been a national hero and he would have been able to go to work for any Fortune 500 company in the country,” Haney speculated. “But now? Not so much.”
In the end, Comey attracted scorn not only from conservatives angry about his refusal to recommend charges against Clinton, but also from liberals angry about his decision to reopen the investigation just days before the election.
Haney said Comey’s ordeal shows why it’s important for a person to always maintain his or her integrity no matter what the consequences may be. And Haney, as a whistleblower, knows all about maintaining personal integrity.
“That’s the only reason why I survived what I went through,” he said. “It comes down to personal integrity. I would not compromise what I knew was right.”
As a CBP officer, it was Haney’s job to enter information into the organization’s database on individuals and organizations that posed a threat to America’s national security. But when he entered derogatory information on certain people with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or its front groups, Obama administration officials within DHS ordered Haney to remove critical linking information from the records. Similarly, when he entered records that connected members of the Tablighi Jamaat movement to terrorist organizing and financing, his superiors deleted all of the records from the database. They then launched an investigation against Haney for “misuse” of the database.
Haney was investigated nine times over the course of his 12-year DHS career. He gives all the details in his book, “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad.” He faced several other embarrassments as well, such as being stripped of his weapon and his job duties.
Yet, through it all, Haney knew the information he was entering into the database was correct and valuable. He believes the Obama administration simply found it inconvenient because it was trying to work with various Muslims with potential terror ties; in fact, the administration even brought some of these individuals into its inner circle.
Haney resolved to always work within the chain of command while he was on active duty. He had no desire to illegally disclose information like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning did. It was not until after he retired from DHS in 2015 that he went public with his story.
Now he hopes President Trump will appoint a new FBI director with a high level of integrity, someone who will allow FBI agents to pursue the truth in ways Haney’s superiors at DHS did not allow him to do.
“I can tell you what [FBI officers] are hoping for, that President Trump will appoint somebody who they already know, not an outsider, not a former businessman, but a seasoned, trained law enforcement officer who will come in there and cut those handcuffs off their hands and let them really do their job,” Haney declared.
“If he does that, you’ll be surprised how fast things will turn around, not just in FBI, but also in DHS, DOD, CIA, the whole spectrum. There are a lot of people that are more than capable of helping protect our country from threat if they’re simply given the opportunity.”
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Paul Bremmer is a WND staff writer based in Washington, D.C.