Scott says James Comey may be the least self-aware man in America. I agree. Comey is a legend in his own mind.
Comey is also a legend in the mind of Josh Campbell, his former special assistant at the FBI. In an op-ed for USA Today, Campbell called his former boss “a giant of a man with an even bigger heart, whose focus was always on trying to understand and improve the lives of others.”
Campbell also wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he stated he was leaving the FBI because of “relentless attacks on the bureau.” Campbell claimed that these attacks “undermine not just America’s premier law enforcement agency but also the nation’s security.” Thus, he said, he “was reluctantly turning in my badge and leaving an organization I love.” (If the ability of a GS-13 FBI employee to get an op-ed published in the New York Times strikes you as odd, you are not alone. It struck retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano that way too).
CNN immediately hired Campbell as its “law enforcement analyst,” a gig he no doubt had lined up before he wrote his sanctimonious New York Times piece. Indeed, as this report shows, Campbell had been sucking up to CNN since at least the beginning of the year. He is the news network’s fanboy, as well as Comey’s.
Campbell appeared on CNN the day the Times published his op-ed. He did not disclose that he was about to go on CNN’s payroll.
Dozens of news organizations covered Campbell’s resignation, praising him as a man of integrity for leaving the bureau based on reasons of principle. Fox News’ Brian Flood observes, correctly, that “it’s safe to assume Campbell wouldn’t have gotten so much free publicity if he simply announced he was quitting the FBI to join CNN.”
Meanwhile, the FBI held a farewell party for Campbell. The announcement for the event invited co-workers “to celebrate [Campbell’s] new endeavor defending the bureau as an LE analyst at CNN.” (Emphasis added) A legitimate news organization would not hire an analyst whose purpose is to defend a government agency he covers.
CNN describes Campbell’s “new endeavor” more neutrally. It says he will provide punditry about crime, justice, and national security issues.
The farewell invitation is probably closer to the mark and comports with what Campbell himself says. CNN hired Campbell to bolster its roster of Trump haters. He is there to defend Trump’s FBI enemies, especially Comey.
As for “crime, justice, and national security,” Campbell’s credentials to provide “punditry” have been questioned. According to Saagar Enjeti and Joe Simonson of the Daily Caller, CNN’s decision to Campbell disturbs some veteran members of the FBI. Former special agent Jack Garcia told them:
What can [Campbell] contribute? I don’t think that he would be someone who could offer any type of, really, knowledge about what law enforcement analysts are, because, what is his experience?
According to Garcia and another source, Campbell’s 10 year career was largely marked by time spent at headquarters. In their view, he lacks field knowledge to accurately represent the bureau.
Enjeti and Simonson also cite unflattering tweets about Campbell from veteran agents. They view him as a political animal and a grandstander. No wonder CNN wants him. No wonder Comey did too.
The bio of Campbell on CNN’s website indicates that his credentials are substantial. However, Enjeti and Simonson say individuals who worked at the FBI during Campbell’s time there dispute this rendition of his credentials. I have no way of adjudicating the dispute.
What’s clear is that CNN didn’t hire Campbell because of whatever knowledge and accomplishments he accumulated during his ten years with the FBI. It hired Campbell because he’s an ally of Comey and an enemy of the president.