James Comey’s lit­er­ary apol­ogy

He’s writ­ing the book about his bun­gled pur­suit of Hil­lary Clin­ton

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

James Comey has good rea­son to de­spise Don­ald Trump. He would hardly be hu­man if he doesn’t. The pres­i­dent cashiered him with­out cer­e­mony, and no­body likes to hear “you’re fired!” Now the di­rec­tor of the FBI un­til he was sacked has a book con­tract, and he’s in the dilemma sim­i­lar to that of Zsa Zsa Ga­bor’s sev­enth hus­band. He knew what was ex­pected of him on their wed­ding night, but de­spaired of making it fresh and sur­pris­ing.

Mr. Comey, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports, “will write about ex­pe­ri­ences that made him the FBI’s best-known and most con­tro­ver­sial FBI head in re­cent times, from his han­dling of the bureau’s probe into Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server to al­le­ga­tions of ties be­tween Rus­sia and Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.” That looks like a lot of ma­te­rial, but his pub­lisher, Flat­iron Books, is pay­ing him $2 mil­lion for it, and a reader has a right to ex­pect more than what an old re­write man in a green eye­shade would call “a clip job.”

Reader will ex­pect more than what the pub­lisher breath­lessly calls “yet-un­heard anec­dotes from his long and distin­guished ca­reer,” and even more than the sto­ries that fill the pages of The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post and other ex­hausted or­gans of the main­stream/legacy/mag­pie me­dia ev­ery day about how much the au­thor of a piece de­spises Don­ald Trump. Not an­other warmed-over noth­ing­burger. That me­dia has de­liv­ered more noth­ing­burg­ers than McDon­ald’s has Big Macs, and at $40 a copy Reader de­serves a $40 Kansas City sir­loin.

The pub­lisher at Flat­iron Books prom­ises “an un­prece­dented en­try into the cor­ri­dors of power, and a re­mark­able les­son in lead­er­ship.” Mr. Comey does in fact have a block­buster at hand if he can bear tak­ing the heat of the kitchen to cook one. Why did he stay si­lent and docile at the sight of eth­i­cal collapses and na­tional-se­cu­rity crimes of Hil­lary Clin­ton? Why didn’t he blow the whis­tle on his boss, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch, when she held her tete-a-tete with Bill Clin­ton aboard her air­plane on the tar­mac of the air­port in Ari­zona, where the boss and Bubba talked about more than grand­chil­dren, as cute and cud­dly as grand­chil­dren are.

Mr. Comey can be tu­tored by his pub­lisher, if he needs it, into what Reader ex­pects in the way of teas­ing and tit­il­la­tion. This will be dif­fi­cult, per­haps, for the ul­ti­mate Boy Scout who has care­fully cul­ti­vated a rep­u­ta­tion for piety. No­body wants to hear about what he has learned in Wash­ing­ton about “eth­i­cal lead­er­ship,” be­cause no­body re­ally be­lieves that duty, ethics and pro­bity are sub­jects that very much in­ter­est a Wash­ing­ton lawyer.

The New York Times, tak­ing note that there are na­tional-se­cu­rity limits to what Mr. Comey can say or write, ob­serves that “Mr. Comey’s book will go through the stan­dard le­gal and gov­ern­men­tal vet­ting to en­sure that noth­ing clas­si­fied is dis­closed.” True, and he must be more care­ful with na­tional-se­cu­rity se­crets in his book than Hil­lary Clin­ton was with those se­crets on her in­fa­mous email server.

Hil­lary blames Mr. Comey for her los­ing the elec­tion to Don­ald Trump, with his re­open­ing of his in­ves­ti­ga­tion of her cam­paign on the eve of the elec­tion. If that’s so, the na­tion owes him its grat­i­tude — for his good cit­i­zen­ship. Judg­ment of his book will have to wait.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.