In the New York Post Marisa Schultz takes a look at the first tranche of work-related emails from forner FBI Director James Comey’s personal gmail account released to Cause of Action under the Freedom of Information Act.
What do we have here? Cause of Action has posted its own account here. It has uploaded the Department of Justice’s FOIA response here. Cause of Action states: “The FBI reviewed 526 pages, released only 156 pages, and withheld 370 pages in full. Notably, the FBI withheld seven emails under the FOIA’s law enforcement exemption [i.e., exemption 7], which applies only where the government can show that (1) a law enforcement proceeding is pending or prospective, and (2) release of information about that proceeding could reasonably be expected to cause some articulable harm.” The department relied liberally on FOIA’s exemption 5 in withholding emails.
Schultz quotes Cause of Action CEO John Vechione: “We’re deeply concerned that the FBI withheld numerous emails citing FOIA’s law enforcement exemption. This runs counter to Comey’s statements that his use of email was incidental and never involved any sensitive matters.” Among other things, according to Schultz, “[t]he emails show that Comey used personal email throughout his investigation into Clinton and even talked about it.”
At the least, the department’s FOIA response reflects poorly on Comey. Schultz quotes Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open the Government, to this effect: “It’s just so transparently hypocritical to have one standard for a person you are investigating and an entirely different standard for yourself when you are the one who’s enforcing the law.”