Comey’s defense

FBI Director James Comey has made himself a laughingstock with his disposition of the Clinton email investigation and his announced rationale for it. I therefore turned to his memo to FBI employees with interest. CNN obtained a copy of the memo and posted it here; Paul posted the text on Power Line and added his own comments here.

This is what Comey had to say on the disposition of the case:

I explain to our alums that I’m okay if folks have a different view of the investigation (although I struggle to see how they actually could, especially when they didn’t do the investigation), or about the wisdom of announcing it as we did (although even with hindsight I think that was the best course), but I have no patience for suggestions that we conducted ourselves as anything but what we are – honest, competent, and independent. Those suggesting that we are “political” or part of some “fix” either don’t know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both).

Comey offers what is sometimes known in the legal trade as an ipse dixit. His rationale is “because he said so.” He relies on his and his agency’s reputation (those criticizing him “don’t know us”) — a form of ad hominem argument. Beyond ipse dixit and ad hominem lies nihil.

We are therefore relegated to the rationale stated in Comey’s July 5 press conference. Taking Comey’s statement at face value, we can judge that the facts found don’t square with the law as we know it. We don’t have to participated in the investigation to arrive at the conclusion that the “full of baloney” bit represents a transparent case of projection.