Former FBI Director James Comey admitted to using his private Gmail account to conduct government business, but only for “incidental” purposes; however, in responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Justice Department withheld at least seven of Comey’s emails due to the sensitive nature of their contents.
> The former top G-man repeatedly claimed he only used his private account for “incidental” purposes and never for anything that was classified — and that appears to be true.
> But Justice acknowledged in response to a Freedom of Information request that Comey and his chief of staff discussed government business on about 1,200 pages of messages, 156 of which were obtained by The Post.
> Justice released 156 of them but refused to hand over seven emails because they would “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.” And another 363 pages of emails were withheld because they discussed privileged agency communications or out of personal privacy concerns.
The CEO of Cause of Action, the conservative watchdog group that requested the emails, blasted Comey for downplaying his use of private email:
> “Using private email to conduct official government business endangers transparency and accountability, and that is why we sued the Department of Justice,” said John Vecchione.
> “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.”
Others noted the hypocrisy involved, as Comey was investigating and later denounced Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business.
> Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open the Government, a nonpartisan coalition that advocates for government transparency, said Comey’s practice of using personal email while investigating Clinton reeks of a double standard.
> “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,” Rosenberg said.