As fired FBI director James Comey dominates the front pages of America's corporate media outlets with explosive denunciations of President Donald Trump's immorality and utter lack of fitness for office, many commentators have hastened to remind the public that while his claims about the president may be accurate, Comey himself is hardly worthy of praise and is certainly "no martyr for democracy."
"Friendly reminder: James Comey advocated endlessly for expanding mass government surveillance, had no shame about targeting Muslims, activists, and communities of color. If he's a hero of #TheResistance, count me out."
—Evan Greer, Fight for the FutureIn addition to highlighting Comey's abrupt public announcement during the 2016 election that the FBI was reopening its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails—which violated FBI policies against making public statements about ongoing investigations and may have played a significant role in swinging the election in Trump's favor—The Week's Ryan Cooper notes that the former FBI director has a long history of approving warrantless wiretapping and a slew of other "authoritarian abuses."
"He spent years trying to force Apple to undermine its security by putting in an backdoor for authorities, and worked hard to outlaw end-to-end encryption altogether," Cooper observed in a column on Monday. "He defended the arrest and due process-free detention of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil for well over three years. He signed off on the illegal Bush torture program, despite his own doubts."
"At bottom, he's just another grifter out to cash in on his carefully-crafted reputation," Cooper concludes, alluding to the fact that Comey is making the media rounds to promote his new book, A Higher Loyalty, which has already skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller lists.
James Comey is about to get very rich by selling an anti-Trump book to adoring, swooning Democrats even though, according to Nate Silver, Comey is the person most responsible for Trump's win. Politics is weird & Comey is the most skilled opportunist ever https://t.co/0lk5qMBkBL
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 29, 2018
While his book has been marketed as a guide to "ethical leadership," many critics echoed Cooper in pointing out that Comey's leadership of the FBI was anything but ethical and denouncing the "pious sloganeering" that erases his actual record.
Following Comey's televised ABC News interview that aired Sunday night, media critic and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) contributor Adam Johnson highlighted the FBI's mass surveillance and entrapment of vulnerable Muslims under Comey's leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
pious sloganeering aside Comey’s greatest legacy was helping throw the election to Trump b/c he wanted to maintain his above-the-fray brand for the speaking circuit & entrapping scores of mentally unwell Muslims b/c he needed to justify the FBIs bloated budget & US permawar state
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) April 16, 2018
"Friendly reminder: James Comey was considered an extremist even within the FBI," wrote Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer in a tweet on Sunday. "Advocated endlessly for expanding mass government surveillance, had no shame about targeting Muslims, activists, and communities of color. If he's a hero of #TheResistance, count me out."