Nearly nauseous Comey: “Concealing would be catastrophic” … more stochastic media effects

By ann summers


At the time, Comey probably knew that #TrumpRussia could be far more disruptive to the electoral process considering that they were in the midst of that investigation (see FISA) and couldn’t comment on it, whereas the FBI could comment, however disastrously, on Clinton emails, even if they knew they’d be possibly be compromised by Russian influence (WikiLeaks).

Comey fails to admit that he calculated his letter as political and that his leadership decision was random, yet conditioned by media effects, even considering his other Constitutional obligations. As such, Comey has become a Gambian Pouched Rat for the electoral system, but however intentioned, an asset for domestic intelligence, and ultimately an agent for justice, if kleptocracy is even a US crime.


Speaking about the emails again was also catastrophic, and suggests that the letter was designed for Comey’s CYA, not exactly a profile in courage. And like law enforcement in the field, decisions, often fatal are made using mass communication to incite a random actor to carry out acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. Such actions as we now know, have even symbolically violent consequences, like electing a candidate who increases the probability of nuclear state-sponsored terror.

Denial is a river in Egypt… although a more interesting research question would be to look at such a media effect specifically in the crucial swing states of 2016 at the district level.

Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28. The letter, which said the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into the private email server that Clinton used as secretary of state, upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton’s lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College.

The letter isn’t the only reason that Clinton lost. It does not excuse every decision the Clinton campaign made. Other factors may have played a larger role in her defeat, and it’s up to Democrats to examine those as they choose their strategy for 2018 and 2020.

But the effect of those factors — say, Clinton’s decision to give paid speeches to investment banks, or her messaging on pocket-book issues, or the role that her gender played in the campaign — is hard to measure. The impact of Comey’s letter is comparatively easy to quantify, by contrast. At a maximum, it might have shifted the race by 3 or 4 percentage points toward Donald Trump, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida to him, perhaps along with North Carolina and Arizona. At a minimum, its impact might have been only a percentage point or so. Still, because Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 point, the letter was probably enough to change the outcome of the Electoral College.

This entry was posted in 2016 Election, FBI, Government, History, Jurisprudence, Media, NSA, Political Science, Politics, Presidential Elections, Presidents, Treason, United States and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Nearly nauseous Comey: “Concealing would be catastrophic” … more stochastic media effects

  1. Terry Welshans says:

    Comey could have waited a few days to inform Congress and then reported that an investigation was made and nothing became of it or not announced it at all as it was a negative result investigative outcome. There was no need to rush the letter at all. Strictly political, and he needs to go because of it.

    • He did try to shift blame by throwing Jason Chaffetz under the bus. Gave it to Chaffetz, who leaked it, as Comey knew he would, but made it all Chaffetz fault.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      ‘Guilt by Insinuation’ is replacing ‘Innocent until Proven Guilty’ – shameful and definitely grounds for firing him – unfortunately, Comey has insured his place, at least until he pisses off Trump, by making sure the person most likely to get rid of him wasn’t elected.

      Political,but also self-serving.

      • Guilt by association is a well-worn time honored tactic among propagandists. Just look how modern political campaigns are run. Inference is as strong a tool as connotation and is quite closely related psychologically. Humans are pattern seeking creatures. We see patterns where none really exist too. Our brains are wired to fill in missing data. This perception can be (and is) manipulated.

        • Terry Welshans says:

          I believe that is why CT is prevalent in politics. We love to connect the dots and easily buy-in when someone using false-authority does so for us. I think we take the easiest course when we accumulate information and once we have a logic path in place, we resist any alternate assembly of facts, even though that new assembly has a simpler design.

        • ann summers says:

          indeed, so very few were willing to have the email issue framed and didn’t take the time to actually read them or consider how tainted the sources were at the time, much like “third-rate burglary” that was Watergate

  2. Comey may have a chance to redeem himself. Redemption will never be complete, but he may manage to wash some of the stench off his hands. Especially if he follows through on this. Bill Palmer has been wrong before, but when he is wrong, he usually prints a retraction or correction as soon as he finds out. However, he is right more often than he is wrong. In this story, he sources Claude Taylor who seems to have informants deep in the IC. I am old enough to remember VP Spiro Agnew going to prison, and Nixon could very well have spent time in the slammer if Gerald Ford had not given him a blanket pardon.

    Given the fact that any Federal indictments may result in preemptive presidential pardons (remember Scooter Libby?), Comey and his staff may elect to let NY AG Eric Schneiderman take the lead on indictments and arrests. From a legal tactical standpoint, that would be the safest approach if they really want to get convictions. The President cannot pardon or commute a state sentence. That pesky “state’s rights” thing will get in the way.

    • Terry Welshans says:

      There is a link on the linked page that goes to a WaPo transcript of the testimony given by Comey. I just copied the text and pasted it into a blank word processor document verbatim which I formatted in ten point text. It is a 59 page long pdf file.

      Of interest is this exchange:

      GRASSLEY: You testified before the House Intelligence Committee that a lot of classified matters have ended up in the media recently. Without getting into any particular article — I want to emphasize that, without getting into any particular article — is there an investigation of any leaks of classified information relating to Mr. Trump or his associates?

      COMEY: I don’t want to — I don’t want to answer that question, senator, for reasons I think you know. There have been a variety of leaks — well, leaks are always a problem, but especially in the last three to six months.

      And where there is a leak of classified information, the FBI — if it’s our information — makes a referral to the Department of Justice. Or if it’s another agency’s information, they do the same. And then DOJ authorizes the opening of an investigation. I don’t want to confirm in an open setting whether there are any investigations open.

      Later, this is part of COMEY’s statement in reply to a question by Diane FEINSTEIN concerning the letter about HRC’s email that he sent to congress:

      Everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to October 28 with me and stare at this and tell me what you would do. Would you speak or would you conceal? And I could be wrong, but we honestly made a decision between those two choices that even in hindsight — and this has been one of the world’s most painful experiences — I would
      make the same decision.

      I would not conceal that, on October 28, from the Congress. And I sent the letter to Congress, by the way, people forget this, I didn’t make a public announcement. I sent a private letter to the chairs and the rankings of the oversight committees.

      In the last sentence he defends his action by saying the letter was not intended to be public, but the Chairman leaked the letter to the public. Basically, this is where he throws Jason Chaffetz under the bus. I wonder if Trey Gowdy is still interested in seeking out and prosecuting leakers as he said he would in the previous hearing regarding this investigation.

  3. Terry Welshans says:

    I have put a little thought into this. Back before the election, when Comey sent that letter about the reopening of HRC’s emails, everyone though Comey had done a very bad thing – perhaps a Hatch Act violation -, and everyone wanted his head. What we did not know (for certain at that time) was that the FBI had a trump/russia investigation going full-steam behind the curtain. So, not knowing of the other investigation, we wanted him fired.

    Time passes and he became our hero when he confirmed the trump/russia investigation. We set aside his previous disclosure and put him in high regard. Then when the water got too deep at the WH, he got fired, for whatever reason the WH says or not. I believe in the rule of law and it is my opinion that he should have been fired – not then, but by Obama before the election.

    He became too political for his own good and overstepped his bounds. He was between a rock and a crazy place, and trapped himself by his actions because of his involvement in politics, something that, in my opinion, is unforgivable. Firing him after the investigation became known was not right, and it smacks of pettiness and was a feeble attempt by tRump to stop the investigation, which will certainly have the opposite effect.

    Comey is not the FBI. The FBI will continue the investigation, and the proof of that was the action taken today in the search warrant served in Annapolis. That is just the first step in bringing this monstrosity down, as RICO cases can deliquefy his bank account and that will put a stop to the whole rotten mess. If we wanted him fired in October, he should have been fired then.

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