Former CIA director Morell: Comey ‘made a series of terrible mistakes’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former acting CIA director Mike Morell says he has “deep respect” for FBI Director James Comey but that he “made a series of terrible mistakes.”
“I think he was trying to protect his organization,” Morell, who backs Hillary Clinton, told David Axelrod in a recent interview for “The Axe Files.” “But as (former Attorney General) Eric Holder wrote in The Washington Post over the weekend in response to Comey’s actions, people make mistakes. And I think (Comey) made a series of terrible mistakes here.”
The full interview is set to publish on November 10.
Comey set off a political firestorm after he sent a letter to lawmakers Friday that said the FBI is reviewing new emails potentially related to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
He said that Comey handled the situation with the emails in the wrong manner, which has led people to start questioning the “integrity” of the FBI.
“Back in July, when he stood up and said, ‘We’re not recommending prosecution,’ but proceeded to prosecute her publicly, and then went to the Hill a number of occasions and answered a number of questions about this, he went outside the norm,” Morell told Axelrod.
“And I think he did it with the intent of protecting his organization and trying to keep his organization out of politics but the effect has been just the opposite. And now people are now questioning his integrity, they’re questioning the integrity of the FBI, they’re questioning whether this is an independent organization,” he said. “I feel sorry for him but he made the wrong decisions here.”
Comey has faced criticism not only from Morell and Holder, but Republican former US Attorney Generals Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, who slammed the way Comey acted, especially with the presidential election looming just days away.
“I’ve been in situations where you have to make a decision to do your job and that decision has political consequences,” Morell said. “And what I’ve learned is that the best approach is to do it the way you always do it. Whatever the issue is, do it the way you always do it and let the chips fall and always fall back on, look I just did my job, politics in mind, and we did this the normal way. We didn’t do anything differently.”
Morell left the CIA in 2013 to join Beacon Global Strategies, which is a consulting firm founded by longtime Clinton State Department aide Philippe Reines. Reines isn’t a paid campaign official, but he played Republican nominee Donald Trump during Clinton’s debate prep.