Among the casualties of our domestic political war is the abandonment of professional standards. For proof, consider how two of America’s premier institutions are being dragged through the mud because their leaders decided that standards are for other people.
I speak of the FBI and The New York Times, and the men who damaged them, James Comey and Dean Baquet. It is no coincidence that Baquet’s newspaper became an errand boy for Comey’s corrupt team of G-men. Birds of a feather, you know.
They were united against Donald Trump. Both tried to block him from becoming president, and both tried to get him removed. And are still trying.
Comey and Baquet decided their agendas were more important than the time-tested rules of behavior that built the credibility of their respective institutions. Like arrogant leaders everywhere, they believed the end justified the means.
The standards that Comey trashed are the ones the inspector general of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, cited in referring Comey for criminal prosecution. By writing memos about his meetings with Trump and leaking them to the Times, Comey created a “dangerous example” for other agents, Horowitz said.
His concern, he told Congress, was that Comey, even as FBI director, had no right to decide he was “not going to follow established norms and procedures.”
Recall that Horowitz also criticized Comey last year for “usurping the authority of the attorney general” when he announced that Hillary Clinton would not face charges over her handling of classified materials.
Those incidents have done incalculable harm to the nation’s top law-enforcement agency and prove that Comey’s self-created image of a choir boy was a sham. He was as dirty as J. Edgar Hoover but not half as smart.
And the full damage is not yet known.