WASHINGTON — Pizzagate became personal for former FBI Director James Comey.
An acquaintance of Comey’s unwittingly got wrapped up in the conspiracy theory and sought help from the law enforcement chief, according to a new batch of Comey’s personal emails.
Comey’s contact, a woman, emailed him on March 1, 2017, with the subject: “Need a favor.”
The woman said her school held fundraising events at Comet Ping Pong, the DC restaurant shot up by a man who sought to investigate the debunked human trafficking allegations known as Pizzagate.
The Comey pal complained that there are “nut jobs who spend their days and nights making this stuff up” and worried the conspiracy theorists might pose a threat to her school.
She asked Comey for help and he obliged, asking his chief of staff, James Rybicki, to get involved.
“This woman is a serious person …Can you get this to the right people,” Comey wrote.
The Cause of Action Institute, a conservative watchdog group, filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit for Comey’s work-related personal emails and found that he and Rybicki discussed government business on about 1,200 pages of messages.
The government initially turned over 156 pages in November. The Justice Department produced 439 more this month.
None were marked classified. But emails were partially redacted in the new batch at least 17 times because they would “disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.”
That’s in addition to seven pages withheld in the first round for the same reason.
Comey had previously downplayed his use of personal email as “incidental” and only used for word processing a “public speech or public email.”
John Vecchione, director of the watchdog group, said the new releases show “it is vitally important that all public officials adhere to all rules governing public records.”
“Government transparency laws are in place in order to hold our government officials accountable, expose the inner workings of government, and create a historical record relating to government action,” he added.
The latest emails include many from Rybicki, who regularly forwarded himself articles that mentioned his boss or were critical of the FBI. They also reveal the frustration at the FBI in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting and Apple refusing to unlock the terrorist’s iPhone.
James Baker, then-general counsel at the FBI, was fuming that Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) sided with Apple and said the tech giant shouldn’t be forced to violate customers’ privacy.
“Outrageous,” Baker wrote on Feb. 19, 2016, to top FBI officials. “What can we do to get the Congressperson whose district includes San Bernardino to say something? What about the California Senators?”
The emails also disclosed how mistakes can get made at even the highest levels of government.
A Jan. 24, 2017, message showed Comey was invited for dinner with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) — except that the invitation was intended for someone else with a similar name and mistakenly ended up in the FBI chief’s inbox.
The mistake was discovered before the dinner and Comey and Klobuchar made plans to have coffee at a later date.
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