James Comey famously lambasted Hillary Clinton’s “extremely careless” use of her personal email account for government business as a security risk. A few months later, he used his own personal email for FBI business, a report by Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz says (p.425).
The report listed five times he had done so:
- Forwarding “a proposed post-election message” to all FBI employees from his unclassified FBI account to his Gmail account on Nov. 8 2016 (election day), explaining his fateful decision to reveal that the FBI had found more Clinton emails just 11 days before the election.
- Forwarding drafts of a year-end message to FBI staff to his Gmail in late Dec. 2016.
- Forwarding draft replies to his Gmail for “two requests for information from the Office of Special Counsel” on Dec. 30 2016. There were two attachments: “(1) a certification for Comey to sign; and (2) a list of FBI employees with information responsive to this request, including their titles, office, appointment status, contact information, and duty hours.”
- Forwarding to his Gmail an email from his chief of staff about a correction needed in a Wall Street Journal article, on Jan. 6, 2017.
- Writing from his Gmail to his chief of staff and his unclassified FBI email in mid-March 2017, with multiple drafts of his statement testimony to the House on March 20, 2017.
Comey told the inspector general that he used his personal email because he didn’t have a working FBI internet connection at home and he “didn’t bother to fix it.” He said he “wasn’t concerned” about using his Gmail, since it was for unclassified work and he kept records by forwarding it all to his FBI email.
He also said he didn’t know if it was in line with Justice policy; Horowitz concludes that it wasn’t.