FBI Director James Comey’s news conference on the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton investigation reminded me of another staged media event in a hostile environment almost 50 years ago.
During the Vietnam War Commander Jeremiah Denton had been shot down on a bombing raid and was being held in a Hanoi prison camp. In May 1967 Denton was marched out by his captors to face a battery of television cameras. The goal of the propaganda event was to “prove” to gullible leftist journalists that the prisoners were well-treated in Hanoi.
During his forced testimony Denton fooled his captors by blinking out the Morse code letters that spelled “torture.” This was the first proof the Pentagon had that POWs were being tortured.
Denton paid the price for his courage by suffering more beatings.
In some ways the stakes at Comey’s event were as momentous as those at Denton’s: Potential duress, hostile leftist environment, psychological pressure and anxiety about his future. And although the final conclusion let Hillary off the hook, for a while it looked as if Comey was trying to undermine the general tone of exoneration by using facts to contradict her lies and the administration’s pre--determined outcome for the investigation.
(For those of you who don’t believe it was pre-determined, note the timing: Comey recommends no indictment on the same day Obama travels with Hillary to Charlotte for a public endorsement.)
Comey stated the felony portion of the investigation was to determine if classified information was mishandled “either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way.”
He then methodically proved Clinton had been lying to the American public for months, which is not usually the script for a government whitewash.
Instead of a single email server for “convenience” Hillary “used several different servers and administrators... and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail.”
Although the Nixon-like Hillary has denied ever sending classified email, the FBI found 110 messages containing classified information when Hillary sent or received the email.
Classification varied from Top Secret, to Secret, to Confidential.
Hillary assured the public — a statement not covered by perjury law — that all non-yoga email had been returned to the State Department. Comey said “thousands” of work-related email had been withheld from investigators.
During the tooth-extraction like process that characterized Hillary’s return of official business communication, she promised the public her legal team “read” every email to see if it was official. Comey found the Clinton team “did not individually read the content.”
Even after finding thousands of email messages not returned to investigators, Comey explained, “It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce” and will never be produced because her lawyers erased the server in a manner that left the email impossible to recover.
Just offhand it seems to me we have obstruction and conspiracy, in addition to the other offenses. Comey then, as if waking from a trance, returned to the official line that there was no intent to violate the law, just “extreme carelessness.”
Anyone whose ever gotten a speeding ticket for unknowingly going faster than allowed knows ignorance of the law is no excuse, unless you’re a Clinton. Comey knows this and maybe it bothered his conscience, briefly, hence the damning details.
Regardless, the conclusion he delivered exonerated Hillary and confirmed that henceforth under Democrat rule we will have a two-tier system of justice. One for Hillary and administration favorites and another for us little folks. That’s why NBC’s David Gregory can violate DC gun laws and face no consequences and Katie Couric can violate federal gun laws and not even get a call from ATF.
Meanwhile, David Daleiden, who went undercover to videotape the damning Planned Parenthood organ selling scandal, is now the one under indictment.
Even Comey recognizes that now the law “defers to the great” as he sheepishly explains, “this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”
Maybe Comey thought pointing out the lies and laying out the evidence was enough to absolve him of blame for this travesty. But it most certainly was not.
When faced with a career-defining test Jeremiah Denton did all he could do, I’m not sure Comey did the minimum he could do.
— Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant. He can be reached at email@example.com.