Chris Swecker is a 24-year veteran of the FBI who recently excoriated former FBI Director James Comey for the manner in which he led the agency.
It pains me – as a former FBI executive who loves and respects the organization – to say that Comey’s short tenure at the FBI has proven to be the worst thing to happen to the agency since L. Patrick Gray withdrew his nomination for FBI Director and resigned from the Bureau during the Watergate scandal…
The 2016 FISA approvals in question were signed by none other than FBI Director Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The buck stops there. They were the top two officials in the FBI at the time.
McCabe, enabled by Comey, created an attitude among his inner circle that flaunted well- established laws and regulations. Comey usurped the role of the Justice Department in publicly exonerating Hillary Clinton from wrongdoing in her handling of government emails when she was secretary of state.
At the same time, Comey took highly conflicted Attorney General Loretta Lynch off the hook to formally recuse herself from the Hillary Clinton probe as a result of Lynch’s own inexcusable and inept conduct in meeting former President Bill Clinton while his wife was under Justice Department and FBI investigation.
With his conduct, Comey set in motion a cascading set of events that resulted in the FBI becoming a pawn in a political firestorm. He justified making up his own rules because he felt righteous.
On Sunday Swecker than appeared as a guest on Fox & Friends where he argued that Comey’s “hubris” led to politics infecting investigations, the bureau predetermining how investigations would go, and even deciding to run a “non-investigation” of the Clinton email scandal.
In effect, Swecker says that Comey simply made up his own rules about how things would be run at the FBI and in the process ignored the many guidelines and processes by which the FBI normally operates.
Partial Transcript from RCP:
TODD PIRO, FOX NEWS: Joining us now to react is Chris Swecker who served 24 years as an FBI special agent. Sir, with all due respect, to our other guests today this interview is arguably the most important because of your background as an FBI agent. So I’ll ask you right off the bat, you’ve heard other individuals saying the FBI is going to go after the president, the FBI hates the president, this was bad, this is now FBI versus president. How do you react to that?
CHRIS SWECKER, FMR. FBI AGENT: Well, I’d say, look, Chris Wray the new deputy director David Bowdich are going to do no such thing. What we’re talking about here is a breakdown in the senior leadership of the FBI under Jim Comey and Andy McCabe as deputy director. I would hate for the public to think that the FBI as an institution is flawed or biased.
What this is is a very small inner circle of senior leadership under Jim Comey at a very critical time period, and I just don’t want this to reflect on the 35,000 very — you know, the excellent men and women of the FBI who are doing a great job every day.
ED HENRY: So Chris, let’s get specific. And we’ve heard the partisan attacks on all sides, people who don’t like the president, people who like the president and people who like James Comey and don’t like James Comey. So I think as Todd said, it’s very important to get your perspective as somebody who was inside the FBI so James Comey holds himself out there even today on Twitter and Instagram as this paragon of virtue, above the fray. You were there for 24 years. How do you think he’s behaved over the last couple of years, you know, his public performance as FBI director, both in the Clinton probe and then how he handled President Trump?
CHRIS SWECKER: I had the perspective of serving directly under Director Mueller. I bet I sat in on 500-plus meetings with him and Director [Louis] Freeh, and these were two great leaders. They stayed in the background. I never saw a hint of bias. Unfortunately, under Jim Comey, that hubris that you just mentioned caused him to make up his own rules — leaks, permissive leak environment, predetermining investigations, a non-investigation of the Clinton email investigation, thumb on the scale on the Russian investigation in the beginning here with the FISA applications, and just generally making up their own rules and letting their own political opinions infect their investigation. That is something you learn at the FBI academy. You can’t let your personal bias — you’ve got to leave those at home. If, not you need to be in another line of business.
ED HENRY: I want to get you in on something. Defenders of James Comey have said, oh, it’s not a big deal that he and Andrew McCabe and others were drafting this exoneration statement for Hillary Clinton months before they even interviewed her. I’m an outsider, we’re outsiders, we don’t know how the FBI does its job. Is that the proper way? I mean, people on the outside hear that and say, three months before she was exonerated, they were already drafting the statement. Doesn’t that sound like it was cooked?
CHRIS SWECKER: Yes, it does. It sounds like the thumb is on the scale. Those of us that have done criminal investigations and counterintelligence investigations know that the Clinton email investigation was not a real investigation. They never even once used a grand jury that I know of. We’re hearing, those of us that are in the retired agent community, we’re hearing that deputy director McCabe was expressing his opinions in closed-door meetings all the time about Trump, so we’re talking about a predetermined investigation. And that is just not how the FBI as a whole operates.