Column: Retired FBI Official: I ‘Felt The Air Being Forced Out of My Body’ While Watching FBI Director Comey Announce Recommendation in Hillary Clinton Case

Anthony Riggio is a former lawyer who went on to work for the FBI for 24 years. He held a number of posts during that time including assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office. He retired in 1995 as a senior executive at FBI headquarters.

Anthony Riggio
Anthony Riggio

By Anthony Riggio

Thoughts on the investigation and pronouncement of a negative recommendation by the head of the FBI to the Department of Justice regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton:

As a retired FBI agent, who has witnessed many struggles of the FBI with both prosecutorial authorities as well as the public, I watched Director James Comey’s televised presentation of the facts contained in the FBI’s (prosecutorial) report to the Department of Justice presented in an atypical manner.

He chose to deliver it via a press conference.  Normally, when an agent presents a final report on an investigation, the agent has a clear understanding of the intent to prosecute on the part of the government.  The agent has a working relationship with the representative of the government, to wit the United States Attorney and his assistant who will handle the prosecution responsibilities on behalf of the United States.  Usually, both the agent or agents involved in the investigation are on the same page as the federal prosecutor and the relationship is one of harmonious pursuit of trying the bad guy in a federal court, or causing the subject/defendant to take or “cop” a plea.

In the Hillary Clinton investigation the relationship between the investigating agents and the government was mired in a swamp of political intrigue, primarily because Mrs. Clinton was a Presidential candidate and was also a protégé of the current President.

This was further compounded by a meeting between the current Attorney General, Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton almost immediately prior to Comey’s pronouncement as to the conclusion of the FBI’s long investigation into Hillary’s handling of Department of State communications on a private server, which were both sensitive to National Security and classified.

Obvious Violations

There was also the issue of  the destruction of other documents in the possession of Hillary, which belong to the people of the United States. That Hillary co-mingled personal communications with those of the People, exacerbated the whole magillah.

It was obvious to me that Hillary violated every rule written within every agency of the United States. Furthermore, it was patently clear that this mishandling of U.S. documents violated National Security matters.  The average person who ever worked for the U.S. Government knew that this was not only improper but was also a violation of federal law.

Federal laws were broken,  and orbiting around this debacle, was the Congressional investigation into the Benghazi tragedy, where our Secretary of State and government failed to raise the hue and cry to save our ambassador and his workers.  I cannot recall in American history a more perfect storm of events surrounding one person, to wit Hillary Clinton.  It should become obvious to any objective thinking American that Hillary was at the center of a storm of untruths, that unfortunately were not the first in her history of “public service”.

The only agency capable of investigating the e-mail debacle was the FBI, especially considering that her mentor, the President, would not allow an independent prosecutorial investigation to give an unbiased outsider’s look into these violations of law.

I believe firmly that this placing of the e-mail scandal into the arms of the FBI was a political move engineered by the powers that be to control the probe.  The average citizen knew that any finding by the FBI would be held to public scrutiny, and there would be political fallout.

The FBI was placed in an awful situation because of the characters involved and the sensitivity of a Presidential election hanging in the balance. It was the most obvious Hobson’s choice situation.

Apolitical Organization

As a former Special Agent of the FBI, I am very familiar with the strains placed on every agent connected with this massive investigation, and can only barely see the strains of the head of the FBI, an agency built on the idea of being an apolitical organization and an objective finder of facts.

Being a former FBI agent, I know I would have had my career and figuratively my head handed to me if anything in my report of interviews and records smacked of a political leaning.  The FBI does not conduct investigation in a vacuum and is in contact with the prosecutor’s office every step of the way.

In the current FBI investigation into the use of personal servers for government materials, I can only imagine the thousands of investigative steps and findings the FBI agents uncovered, all to the detriment or proof of innocence of the subjects involved in this matter.

Director Comey in the presence of all the investigative findings had to normally present them to the United States Attorney. However, in this case, it was to the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, an appointee of Hillary’s mentor.

To conclude that this was not a political situation for the FBI is to believe that Alice in Wonderland is a work of non-fiction.

What is the Director to do to remain apolitical and deal with the agents under him and the thousands of former FBI agents who would raise critical questions about his investigation?

Comey had to ponder the “damned if you do” and “damned if you did not” issues.

I watched Director Comey live when he announced “his recommendations” on television and felt the air being forced out of my body. How could the Director of the very agency I dedicated my life to, decline a recommendation for prosecution of a person most ordinary Americans viewed as a congenital liar?

How could I have to now hear another Clinton say, “I did not have sex with that woman,” or that I only followed procedures accepted before I became Secretary of State?

Quite honestly I was very disappointed in the pronouncement of why Hillary Clinton could not be prosecuted for violating every action my gut told me was wrong and illegal.  Any poor underling in government would be censored and fired and possibly prosecuted for doing a minute amount of what Hillary did.

What Comey’s announcement did was to indelibly tattoo Hillary Clinton as a failed Secretary of State and a violator of what the ordinary person would accept as acceptable for a person of her stature.  His statements also branded Hillary as a liar and certainly not something either Lynch nor the President would have relished.


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