A journalist who is a friend of FBI director James Comey has come to his defense in a critique of what he calls “an astonishingly bad” article in Politico contending that “not since J. Edgar Hoover has an FBI director shown such a lack of accountability.” The article, written by former Attorney General Eric Holder speechwriter Riley Roberts, was summarized last week in Crime & Justice News.
“The thesis is bold. The evidence is shockingly weak. Critical history and information is left out. Quotations are seemingly intentionally distorted. And important information in the story is just wrong,” Benjamin Wittes writes in Lawfare. Roberts’s thesis is that “there is a growing consensus that Comey has wielded the powers of the [FBI] directorship more aggressively than anyone since Hoover—to the consternation, and even anger, of some of his colleagues.” Wittes argues that Roberts is wrong and, “There is absolutely no consensus about the aggressiveness with which Comey has wielded the powers of the directorship.” Wittes maintains that the notion Comey has been more unaccountably indepdendent than prior directors is also wrong; he cites Louis Freeh, FBI director under President Bill Clinton.