Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cycling with Electric Assist

Despite the ravages of aging (I'm nearly 80), I've continued to cycle.

Look at my progression of bicycles! The first bike I owned was a 1956 Raleigh 3-Speed. It was purchased at Macy's (my Uncle Harry worked there and got us a discount). We took it home on the subway. In 1987 I got a Mountain Bike. That was replaced in 1990 by a Long-Wheelbase Recumbent, then a 1996 Folding Bike Friday. By 2014 it became difficult to lift my leg high, so I switched to a Shwinn Girl's Bike.

In 2014, after several falls due to balance issues from Parkinson's disease, I had to go to 3-wheels, a Catrike Recumbent Tricycle. Now, to help me keep up with my bicycling buddies, I've gone to an Electric Assist Motor on my Catrike!
Our local Villages Cycles did a fine job installing an Electric Bike Outfitters (EBO) Burly kit. As shown above, the Controls and Display Units are on my right handlebar, the Rechargeable Battery hangs from the left rear strut, and the Electric Motor is in the rear wheel hub.


Shown above is a close-up of the Battery and Motor. The Battery may be recharged either on the trike, or, with a key, released from the vehicle for charging. The Battery has a capacity of 11 Ampere-Hours which is about 500 watt-hours; The Motor is rated at 350 watts (around 1/2 HP) for continual use, and 800 watts (over 1 HP) peak.

I normally utilize only a small fraction of rated or peak power. Riding 10 to 15 MPH in the relatively flat Florida area where we live requires only about 120 watts (1/6 HP). My efforts on the pedals provide about half the energy required, and the other half is provided by the Electric Assist.

Using Pedal Assist System (PAS) Level 1, I can keep up with my bike buddies. Thus, I can ride for 70 to 80 miles and still have 20% charge to spare!

Shown below is a close-up of the Electric Assist Display and Controls.

The LED Display shows Pedal Assist System Level (from 0 to 5), Battery charge level (in 20% increments), Ambient Temperature, battery voltage, and, (while Electric Assist is operating) Speed. Distance is displayed, but increments only while Electric Assist is operating. Therefore, on my left handlebar, I have a regular speedometer that shows actual speed and distance.

The three Control buttons (UP, CENTER, DOWN) are used, singly and in various combinations, to Turn Electric Assist ON or OFF, Increment or Decrement PAS Level, Turn Backlight On or Off, Change display options, etc.

The PAS is turned on when I pedal above a certain cadence. The wattage is supposed to be based on how fast you turn the pedals, but I've found that, at normal Pedal Cadence, it maxes out at a wattage based on PAS Level. PAS Level 1 supplies about 50-60 watts, Level 2 about 100-110 watts, Level 3 about 200 watts, Level 4 about 300 watts, and Level 5 a terrifying 600 watts!

If either Brake Lever is pressed, the Electric Motor is cut off, a necessary safety feature. When the Brake Levers are released, the Electric Assist resumes instantly.




A Throttle is mounted just below my Gear Shift. When the Electric Assist is ON, I can easily push the Throttle with my wrist and "juice" the Motor to get up to 600 watts, providing a quick start after stopping at an intersection or for handling an uphill such as the ramp into our parking garage.

I use Level 0 (zero assistance) when on long level or downhill stretches. I can keep up with my slower (10 MPH) friends with zero electric assistance, with occasional use of the throttle on short uphills. When riding with my speedier (15 MPH) friends, I tend to use Level 1. Thus, I still get lots of exercise, basically supplying all the pedal energy at lower speeds and about half at higher speeds.

SPECIAL THANKS to my friend Regina Losinger for allowing me to use her tricycle a couple years ago, and for letting me use her electric assist tricycle earlier this year. Those events gave me the motivation and courage to switch to a trike in the first place, and add electric assist in the second. Regina is from the Binghamton, NY area and I know her from the Southern Tier Bike Club I belonged to from 1987 until my wife and I moved to The Villages, FL, in 2003. Regina, I, and some other members of the NY bike club have met yearly at Cape Cod, MA for decades. Our mutual friend John Ruth hosts us at an historic old home in the Chatham area of Cape Cod.  

Ira Glickstein


Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Brooklyn Bungalow

Our daughter Lisa shared a recent story titled: Is This the End of the Brooklyn Bungalow?

I was bowled-over by the photos and text about this key piece of history! It is MY history because I spent my school years, elementary through college, in or near the Brighton Beach Bungalow Colony described in the linked story! NOTE: Brooklyn is the southmost of the five boroughs of New York City. Brighton Beach is in the southmost part of Brooklyn.

OUR BRIGHTON BEACH BUNGALOW

Here is the latest Google Street View of our bungalow (red arrow - second house in from the street - Brighton 6th Street). Although the linked story says most bungalows did not have basements, ours did have a full basement. As the inset photo shows, the front door was several steps above street level.
Most recent Google Street View of the bungalow at 21 Brighton 5th Lane, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NY. I lived here with my parents, my brother, and my grandparents during my High School and College years. Our bungalow is the second one in from the street (red arrow). The inset is a 1965 view of my in-laws (Gilbert and Clara Stark) and my parents (Ruth and Morris Glickstein) standing on the steps leading up to the front door of the bungalow. 

Above is a Google Earth view of the bungalow (red arrow) and surrounding area. Our bungalow is only about 30 x 30 feet (900 square feet). It sits on a 40 x 50 foot lot. My brother Lee and I shared a tiny bedroom, and a bunk bed, in the upper left part of the house. The single bathroom is in the upper middle and the kitchen in the upper right. Our parents bedroom is in the middle right and our grandparents bedroom and sitting room is in the lower left. The living room is in the very middle.

My parents did not buy the bungalow until I was in High School. I remember how it looked when we bought it. The floors were uneven and they creaked. However, with the help of a wonderful Italian neighbor who had floor jacks, my Dad and I jacked the floor back to level and ran two new support beams across the house. The basement floor was covered in Kentile and we had a nice recreation room and laundry in the right half and a shop in the left half. Thus, our 30 x 30 foot home had almost 1800 square feet of living space. 

OUR BRIGHTON  BEACH APARTMENT HOUSE

During my elementary school years, our family lived in an apartment house in Brighton Beach. Here is a Google Street View of the apartment house. The inset shows my brother Lee and me on Brighton 5th Street, with our apartment house on Neptune Avenue behind us.. Our apartment was a one-bedroom second-floor walk-up in the rear of the building. My brother and I shared the single bedroom. Our parents slept on a fold-out couch in the living room. 






OVERVIEW OF NEW YORK CITY AND THE BRIGHTON BEACH AREA OF BROOKLYN




Here is a Google Earth image of the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn, located between Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay.


The inset is an overview of New York City that shows the five boroughs. The Bronx is the northernmost borough with Manhattan to the south and east, Queens to the east, and Brooklyn to the west. The eastern tip of Staten Island is shown to the south-west.

The inset indicates the locations of my high school and college. I took the BMT subway to Brooklyn Technical High School, one of the four special high schools in New York City at the time. Brooklyn Tech is located in the part of Brooklyn closest to Manhattan. For my college years, I took the BMT subway to Times Square, in the middle of Manhattan, and then the IRT subway to 137th Street to City College of New York (CCNY) in Harlem. (If my first class was in the southern area of the campus, I'd take the BMT to 34th Street and switch to the IND subway to 125th Street, the "Main Street" of Harlem.) 

The main part of the map above shows BRIGHTON BEACH located between CONEY ISLAND  and SHEEPSHEAD BAY. It shows the location of our apartment house on NEPTUNE AVENUE and our bungalow on BRIGHTON 5th LANE. It also indicates the locations of my elementary schools, PS253 for grades K-6 and PS209 for grades 7-8. 

As a point of interest, one of my classmates in the 4th grade was Neil Sedaka, already a piano virtuoso. His family lived in Sheepshead Bay in an elegant apartment (from my point of view) overlooking the west end of the bay (under the letter "B" in the above image). He invited me to his apartment and played on his grand piano. He also visited our humble apartment and played on our upright piano, which was probably out of tune, but he did not complain.

As mentioned above, I worked with my father fixing up our bungalow. (In addition to his main job for the Post office as a Letter Carrier and later a Field Forman, my Dad was an expert wood-worker and also did plumbing and electrical jobs on our bungalow, our paternal grandmother's nearby bungalow, and neighbor's homes, often with my help.) 

In addition to working with my Dad, I helped my paternal grandfather, who had a news-stand on a subway station. Once a week, I'd do the paperwork involved in returning unsold magazines. I also worked at a nearby shoe store one summer. 

When I turned 13 and was able to get working papers, I spent my summer vacations selling Good Humor Ice Cream and Orange Drink on Brighton Beach. I'd walk on the sand, with an insulated box on my right shoulder filled with ice cream pops and Humorettes (their version of Creamsicles), kept cold with dry ice, and another insulated box on my left shoulder with orange drink containers. As I walked I'd drum up business by loudly shouting "HEY ICE CREAM HERE, GOOD HUMOR ICE CREAM AND ORANGE DRINK!" I credit that job for my strong speaking voice.

I also worked the summer after my high school graduation as an office boy and clerk in Manhattan at LF Domerich, a financial factor company. (To get that job I had to lie and claim I was not going to leave for college at the end of the summer.) 

Later, during the summer between my Junior and Senior years at college, I worked as a Technical Writer for ITT Federal in Paramus New Jersey, where I learned a great deal about writing and publishing, which helped me greatly throughout my engineering career.


Ira Glickstein

Sunday, June 17, 2018

"A Higher Loyalty" by James Comey




This posting is about the widely-acclaimed (and critiqued) 2018 book, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies, and Leadership, by former FBI Director James Comey. This posting is based on a talk I presented on 22 June 2018 at The Villages Philosophy Club to an attentive audience of over 120 people, followed by an active discussion period.

INTRODUCTION




James Comey was appointed to a ten-year term as FBI Director by President Barack Obama in 2013, and confirmed by the Senate 93-1. His actions during the 2016 Presidential Election period with regard to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private server for classified email have been widely criticized and cited:

  1. By Clinton as a principal reason for her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election (along with Russian meddling in the election), 
  2. By Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a 2017 letter used by President Trump to justify his firing of Comey (although it has become apparent that Trump's main motivation for his firing  had to do with the way the FBI Director was handling the investigation into possible collusion by the Trump campaign with Russians), and
  3. By the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the report issued 14 June 2018.
How and why has the reputation of James Comey declined so much in just a few years, and on both sides of the political aisle?

Recall that, in 2013, when he was appointed by Democrat Barack Obama and confirmed by all but one Senator (Republican Rand Paul, over surveillance policy) Comey had an absolutely sterling reputation! Obama said "Jim is a natural leader of unquestioned integrity".

Well, it seems Comey is NOT the PERFECT,  FEARLESS, FLAWESS STERLING PUBLIC SERVANT we all thought he was! BUT ...


BUT, as I will show in this blog posting, having read his excellent book and reviewed his reasons for all of his actions, he, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION is the closest to that ideal we will ever see at the highest levels of the U. S. Government! 

After extensively researching the many aspects of this very public controversy, and reading and re-reading his public statements and his book, I'm convinced that James Comey is an HONORABLE and HONEST and COMPETENT man (though flawed as all of us are) who got caught up in a BASICALLY IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION and did his level best to address it with "A HIGHER LOYALTY!"


Comey says [p xi] that his book title A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies, and Leadership “came out of a bizarre dinner meeting at the White House, where [newly-elected President Trump] demanded my loyalty – to him, personally – over my duties as FBI director to the American people. …

“But in another, deeper sense, the title is the culmination of four decades in law … I learned from those around me … that there is a higher loyalty in all of our lives – not to a person, not to a party, not to a group. The higher loyalty is to lasting values, most important the truth.”

COMEY'S EARLY LIFE AND CAREER 

  • 1960 – Born December 14, in Yonkers, NY. Irish heritage. Parents Joan Marie Herald and J. Brien Comey. Grandfather was an officer and later commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department. Father worked in corporate real estate and his mother was a computer consultant and homemaker. 
  • 1977 – Ramsey Rapist – 16-year-old Comey and his younger brother held at gun point. [p8]
  •  
  • 1982 – College of William and Mary (chemistry and religion) 
  • 1985 – University of Chicago Law School (JD), Law Clerk for US District Judge, Associate in private law firm.
  • 1987 – Married his college sweetheart Patrice Failor (a Hillary Clinton supporter, who admitted to ABC News that she was “devastated” when Clinton lost). They had six children (one died young). She is a juvenile and foster care advocate. 
  • 1987 – US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY.
  • 1991 – Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. Helped prosecute the Gambino crime family. ("Sammy the Bull" Gravano was federal witness.)

COMEY'S EXPERIENCE WITH BULLIES AND LYING

  • Mafia – “Mafia members … are part of a fairly common species – the bully. All bullies are largely the same. They threaten the weak to feed some insecurity that rages inside them.” [p29] 
  • Comey bullied in his youth – Bullied in 5th grade when family moved from Yonkers, NY to Allendale, NJ. Also in High School. 
  • Comey bullied in supermarket job – tricked into tossing an expensive price-marking gun to a bully, who purposely let it fall and break into pieces at the feet of their boss, Harry Howell. He said only “clean it up”. Later, Comey stacked milk cartons too high on a hand cart and made a wet mess. Again, his boss let it go. “Have you learned something?” “Yes, sir.” “Clean it all up.” Examples of GREAT LEADERSHIP Comey tried to follow in later life. 
  • Comey participated in bullying at college – Still ashamed four decades later. “We all have a tendency to surrender our moral authority to ‘the group’.” [p38]
  • Comey lied about his own basketball career – “’Easy lies’ can become a habit.” 
  • Donald Trump as bully – “My encounters with President Trump left me sad, not angry. … I see no evidence that a lie ever caused Trump pain. … [Trump] tweeted a warning to me … “James Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.” [p268]

COMEY'S LATER CAREER

  • 1996-2001 Clinton Administration
  • Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. 
  • Deputy Special Counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. 
  • Lead prosecutor in Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Bombing. 
  • While in Richmond, Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law. 

  • 2001-2005 Bush Administration 
  • 2001 – US Attorney for Southern District of NY. 
  • 2002 – Deputy Attorney General – Investigation into President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich In November 2002. Lead Prosecutor of Martha Stewart who was indicted on the charges of securities fraud, obstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent. 
  • 2004 – NSA domestic wiretapping – Acting Attorney General while John Ashcroft was hospitalized. Refused to certify the legality of central aspects of the NSA Surveillance program. FBI Director Mueller and Comey threatened the Bush administration with their resignations. [“Stellar Wind”, p81] 
  • 2005 – Enhanced interrogation techniques – Deputy Attorney General. Endorsed a memorandum that approved some techniques, but objected to others. His objections were ultimately overruled by the National Security Council. [“Torture is wrong. Don’t be the torture guy.” Patrice Comey, p107] 

  • 2005-2013 Private Sector 
  • 2005 – General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest contractor. 
  • 2010 – Senior management committee at Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment management firm. Comey received a three million dollar payout from Bridgewater, and his net worth is estimated at 14 million dollars. 

  • 2013 to 2018 FBI Director
  • September 2013 – Comey appointed to 10-year term by President Obama, confirmed 93—1 by Senate. 
COMEY AND THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
  • Run-Up to 2016 Presidential Election
  • June 2015 – Donald Trump announces that he is running for president. 

  • Classified Emails on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Non-Secure Server
  • July 2015 – FBI opens “Midyear Exam” investigation of classified emails on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s non-secure server an devices. [IG page i] 
  • August 2015 – Washington Post reports that the FBI is investigating whether CLASSIFIED information was kept on Clinton's private email server. (Code name: “Midyear Exam” Investigation – or “Matter” as AG Lynch asked Comey to call it)  

  • Hacking of DNC Emails
  • June 2016 – The Democratic National Committee announces that Russian hackers have broken into the party's servers. (Information made public by WikiLeaks) 

  • Former President Bill Clinton's Tarmac Meeting with AG Loretta Lynch 
  • June 2016 – Bill Clinton meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. (Lynch announces she will accept the recommendation of the FBI investigators in the Hillary Clinton case, although both Lynch and Bill Clinton deny discussing the case during the Phoenix tarmac meeting.) 
  •  
  • Russian Meddling in 2016 Election
  • July 2016 – FBI begins an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
  • The Russians: [p188] 
    • “… sought to undermine confidence in the American democratic enterprise – to dirty us up …
    • “… wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton. Putin hated her, blaming her personally for large street demonstrations in Moscow in 2011 …
    •  “Putin wanted to help Donald Trump win. … appreciation of business leaders who cut deals rather than stand on principle …” 
    • Likely Russian hacking of DNC emails Released by WikiLeaks, showed Democratic primary stacked against Sen. Bernie Sanders, Debbie Wassermann Schultz resigns as DNC chair.
  •  
  • Closing Investigation of Classified Emails
  • July 2016 – Comey holds a press conference saying that their investigation did not find any criminal wrongdoing with Hillary Clinton and her personal email server. He says the FBI will not recommend charges be brought against Clinton. 

  • Re-Opening (and Re-Closing) Investigation of Classified Emails
  • October 2016 Comey announces via a letter that new emails have been found that are relevant to the investigation into Hillary Clinton. It is later revealed that Clinton aide Huma Abedin sent the emails to her husband, Anthony Weiner, himself the subject of an unrelated investigation into allegations he engaged in sexting with a 15-year-old girl.  
  • November 2016 – Comey clears Hillary Clinton once again. He says the new emails do not point to any wrongdoing by Clinton.  

  • November 2016 – Donald Trump wins the presidential election. 
CLINTON EMAIL "MATTER"
  • Use of non-Government email for official Government business is NOT the main issue (Former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, FBI Sr. Agent Strzok, and even James Comey did the same – BUT it was all UN-CLASSIFIED.) 
  • Secretary of State Clinton and her staff used non-secure server for over 100 CLASSIFIED emails, including eight at the TOP SECRET/SCI level. 
  • Also, State department required all employees to turn over all documents. Clinton’s team erased over 30,000 emails. They were supposedly non-work-related, but FBI discovered thousands of destroyed emails were work-related. Clinton team also used “Bleach Bit” software to destroy any evidence of emails on the server as well as physically destroying devices (an iPad and iPhones). 
  • AG Loretta Lynch told Comey to call FBI INVESTIGATION into Clintons Email usage a "MATTER" [p169]
Key quotes from July 5, 2016 public statement by FBI Director Comey. [Emphasis mine]
"After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.

"This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say. ...

"The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General … focused on whether classified information was transmitted on that personal system. … in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way … we have also investigated to determine whether there is evidence of computer intrusion in connection with the personal e-mail server by any foreign power, or other hostile actors. ...

"Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain. … For example, when one of Secretary Clinton’s original personal servers was decommissioned in 2013, the e-mail software was removed. Doing that didn’t remove the e-mail content, but it was like removing the frame from a huge finished jigsaw puzzle and dumping the pieces on the floor. The effect was that millions of e-mail fragments end up unsorted in the server’s unused—or “slack”—space. We searched through all of it to see what was there, and what parts of the puzzle could be put back together.

"FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014. Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received,From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. …

"The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. … With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. …

"It could also be that some of the additional work-related e-mails we recovered were among those deleted as “personal” by Secretary Clinton’s lawyers when they reviewed and sorted her e-mails for production in 2014. … It is highly likely their search terms missed some work-related e-mails, and that we later found them, for example, in the mailboxes of other officials or in the slack space of a server.

"It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery. ... we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort. …

"Last, we have done extensive work to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation. 

"That’s what we have done. Now let me tell you what we found:
Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

"For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).
None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

"Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it. ...

"With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account. …

"'Finally, with respect to our recommendation to the Department of Justice:
In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate based on evidence the FBI has helped collect. Although we don’t normally make public our recommendations to the prosecutors, we frequently make recommendations and engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate, given the evidence. In this case, given the importance of the matter, I think unusual transparency is in order. …

"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. … we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. ...

"To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. … 

"although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case. ... Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this organization." 


[End of key quotes from July 5, 2016 public statement by FBI Director Comey]

COMEY DURING TRUMP PRESIDENCY
  • Russian Meddling
  • December 2016 – US Intel agencies say "high confidence" that Russia hacked Democratic Party servers.  
  • March 2017 – Comey confirms the FBI is investigating any connections between Russia and Mr. Trump's associates and whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia's meddling. (Comey makes the disclosure while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.)  
  • April 2017 – Rod Rosenstein confirmed as Deputy Attorney General. (To oversee the DOJ Russia Collusion investigation, because AG Sessions recused himself due to not informing the Senate about a meeting with the Russian ambassador prior to Election Day.) 

  • Clinton Assesses Her Loss
  • May 2017 – Clinton says Comey's October 28th letter contributed to her defeat. ("If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president," Clinton said during an interview in New York. "I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off — and the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling [and] persuasive.“) 
  • May 2017 – Comey testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (He says that he has no regrets about how he conducted the investigation into Clinton, although it makes him "mildly nauseous" to think that the FBI could have affected the outcome of the election.) 

  • Comey Is Fired by Trump
  • May 2017 – Trump fires Comey, SUPPOSEDLY over his missteps in the Clinton email case, but significantly due to Russian Collusion investigation. (Letters from Rosenstein and Sessions make the case that Comey should be dismissed for mishandling the Clinton case.)

  • April 2018 Comey publishes book A HIGHER LOYALTY
  • “Like many others I [Comey] was surprised when Donald Trump was elected president. I had assumed from media poling that Hillary Clinton was going to win. I have asked myself many times if I was influenced by that assumption. I don’t know. … 
    “I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls.” [p204]


THE IG* REPORT 
*Inspector General not Ira Glickstein (:^)
Full Text https://www.oversight.gov/sites/default/files/oig-reports/2016_election_final_report_06-14-18_0.pdf 

NOTE: What follows is mostly direct quotes from the source document, with minor editing by me to shorten the text. In each case, I have provided the page number in the IG Report so readers may view the complete text]

Executive Summary: Allegations … [page i]


  • FBI policies not followed … [by] then FBI Director James Comey’s public announcement July 5, Oct 28, Nov 6, 2016;
  • Certain investigative decisions were based on improper considerations; then FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should have been recused;
  • Then Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, Peter Kadzik, improperly disclosed non-public information; (Kadzik effort to obtain employment for his son with the Clinton campaign while participating in Department discussions and communications about Clinton-related matters);
  • DOJ and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information;
  • Decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain FOIA Oct 30 and Nov 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize this release, were influenced by improper considerations.During the course of the review, the OIG discovered text messages and instant messages between some FBI employees on the investigative team, conducted using FBI mobile devices and computers, that expressed statements of hostility toward then candidate Donald Trump and statements of support for then candidate Clinton.  

The “Midyear” Team [page ii]

  • Conducted voluntary witness interviews to obtain testimony, including from Clinton and her senior aides, and did not require any witnesses to testify before the grand jury. … 
  • Did not seek to obtain every device, including those of Clinton’s senior aides, or the contents of every email account through which a classified email may have traversed. 
  • Used consent agreements and immunity to obtain the culling laptops used by [Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson] ... We found that these decisions were occurring at a time when Comey and the Midyear team had already concluded that there was likely no prosecutable case
  • We found that, by the date of her interview, the Midyear team and Comey had concluded that the evidence did not support criminal charges
  • Allowed [senior aides] to attend the Clinton interview as Clinton’s counsel, even though they also were fact witnesses, … we found the decision to allow them to attend the interview was inconsistent with typical investigative strategy.

“Endgame” for “Midyear” [page iii]

  • Comey told the OIG that as he began to realize the investigation was likely to result in a declination, he began to think of ways to credibly announce its closing. Comey engaged then DAG Yates in discussions in April 2016 about the “endgame” for the Midyear investigation.
  • By early May 2016 Comey concerned that Lynch could not credibly participate in announcing a declination (no prosecution for Clinton):
  • Lynch instructed Comey (Sep 2015) to call the Midyear investigation a “matter”…  Statements made by then President Barack Obama about the Midyear investigation, … certain classified information mentioning Lynch would leak (IG classified appendix), … tarmac meeting between Lynch and former President Clinton (June 2016)
  • Comey’s initial draft statement, which he shared with FBI senior leadership on May 2, criticized Clinton’s handling of classified information as “grossly negligent,” but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case. (Changed to “extremely careless”); … A statement that the sheer volume of information classified as Secret supported an inference of gross negligence was removed; … A statement that the FBI assessed that it was “reasonably likely” that hostile actors gained access to Clinton’s private email server was changed to “possible”; referenced Clinton’s use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while in the territory of a foreign adversary (later changed to “another senior government official,” and ultimately omitted)
  • Comey told the OIG that he was “90 percent there, like highly likely” to make a separate public statement prior to the tarmac meeting, but that the tarmac meeting “tipped the scales” toward making his mind up to go forward with his own public statement.

Comey July 5, 2016 Public Statement [page v] 

  • Comey admitted that he concealed his intentions from the Department until the morning of his press conference on July 5, and instructed his staff to do the same, to make it impracticable for Department leadership to prevent him from delivering his statement. 
  • We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so, and we found none of his reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions.
  • On the morning of July 5, 2016, Comey contacted Lynch and Yates about his plans to make a public statement, but did so only after the FBI had notified the press. … Comey told Lynch that he was not going to inform her about the substance of his planned press statement. 
  • On July 6, … Lynch issued a short public statement that she met with the career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation and “received and accepted their unanimous recommendation” that the investigation be closed without charges.

The Weiner Laptop Sep-Nov 2016 [page vii]

  •  In September 2016, the FBI’s New York Office … began investigating former Congressman Anthony Weiner for his online relationship with a minor. A federal search warrant was obtained on September 26, 2016, for Weiner’s iPhone, iPad, and laptop computer. (Weiner married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin).
  • On Sep 26, FBI found “over 300,000 emails on the laptop.” … at least one BlackBerry PIN message between Clinton and Abedin, as well as Midyear-related emails between them. … associated with yahoo.com, state.gov, clintonfoundation.org, clintonemail.com, and hillaryclinton.com. 
  • Strzok, McCabe and Comey informed by 28 Sep. But, no evidence that anyone associated with the Midyear investigation, including the entire leadership team at FBI Headquarters, took any action on the Weiner laptop issue until the week of October 24, and then did so only after the Weiner case agent expressed concerns to DOJ NY office. 
  • “In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop, we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper considerations. Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, and the implication in some of these text messages, particularly Strzok’s August 8 text message (“we’ll stop” candidate Trump from being elected), was that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects. Under these circumstances, we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.” 

Notifying Congress Oct 2016 [page x] 

  • Comey’s belief that failure to disclose the existence of the emails would be an act of concealment; 
  • The belief that Comey had an obligation to update Congress because the discovery was potentially significant and made his prior testimony that the investigation was closed no longer true; An implicit assumption that Clinton would be elected President; 
  • Fear that the information would leak if the FBI failed to disclose it;   Concern that failing to disclose would result in accusations that the FBI had “engineered a cover up” to help Clinton get elected; Concerns about protecting the reputation of the FBI; Concerns about the perceived illegitimacy of a Clinton presidency that would follow from a failure to disclose the discovery of the emails if they proved to be significant; 
  • Concerns about the electoral impact of any announcement; and 
  • The belief that the email review could not be completed before the election. 
  • We found no evidence that Comey’s decision to send the October 28  letter was influenced by political preferences.  
Effect of Peter Strzok Political Bias 
  • During the course of the review, the OIG discovered text messages and instant messages between Peter Strzok and other FBI employees on the investigative team, conducted using FBI mobile devices and computers, that expressed statements of hostility toward then candidate Donald Trump and statements of support for then candidate Clinton. [IG page xi] 
  • The OIG “did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.” [IG page vii] 
  • Strzok’s prioritizing of the Russia investigation delayed the Weiner laptop investigation by about a month. [IG page 296-301]
  • [IRA’S SPECULATION: If not for this delay, the Weiner issue might have been put to bed a month before the election rather than a few days, giving the Clinton team time to recover momentum. Therefore, Strzok’s possibly politically biased decision may have backfired and hurt Clinton.]

Comey's Op-Ed in the New York Times Regarding the IG Report [14 June 2018]

James Comey: This Report Says I Was Wrong. But That’s Good for the F.B.I.
By James Comey
Mr. Comey is the former F.B.I. director.
The Department of Justice’s independent watchdog, the inspector general, has released a report that is critical of my decisions as F.B.I. director during the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email account. The report concludes that I was wrong to announce the F.B.I.’s completion of the investigation without coordinating with the attorney general and that I was wrong to inform Congress in late October that we had reopened the investigation.

In both situations, the inspector general’s team concludes, I should have adhered to established norms, which they see as mandating both deference to the attorney general on the public announcement and silence about an investigation so close to an election.

I do not agree with all of the inspector general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism. All of our leaders need to understand that accountability and transparency are essential to the functioning of our democracy, even when it involves criticism. This is how the process is supposed to work.

This report is important for two reasons.

First, the inspector general’s team went through the F.B.I.’s work with a microscope and found no evidence that bias or improper motivation affected the investigation, which I know was done competently, honestly and independently.

The report also resoundingly demonstrates that there was no prosecutable case against Mrs. Clinton, as we had concluded. Although that probably will not stop some from continuing to claim the opposite is true, this independent assessment will be useful to thoughtful people and an important contribution to the historical record.

Second, this report is vital in shedding light for future leaders on the nature and quality of our investigation and the decisions we made.

In 2016, my team faced an extraordinary situation — something I thought of as a 500-year flood — offering no good choices and presenting some of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. We knew that reasonable people might choose to do things differently and that a future independent reviewer might not see things the way we did. Yet I always believed that an inspector general report would be crucial to understanding and evaluating our actions.

After Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced she would not recuse herself from the Clinton email investigation and would instead rely primarily on my recommendation, I chose to do something unprecedented: In July 2016, I separately and transparently announced to the American people what we had done, what we had found and our view that Mrs. Clinton should not be prosecuted. Before 2016, I could never have imagined doing such a thing, because the normal practice was always for the F.B.I. director to coordinate statements with the attorney general and for leaders of the Justice Department to report the details of the completed investigation.

But even in hindsight I think we chose the course most consistent with institutional values. An announcement at that point by the attorney general, especially one without the transparency our traditions permitted, would have done corrosive damage to public faith in the investigation and the institutions of justice. As painful as the whole experience has been, I still believe that. And nothing in the inspector general’s report makes me think we did the wrong thing.

Similarly, I never imagined the F.B.I. would face a choice in late October 2016 either to tell Congress we had restarted the email investigation in a significant way or to conceal that fact. But to have concealed it would have meant to hide vital information: That what I and others had said publicly and under oath to Congress was no longer true. I chose to speak and tell the truth.

I was not certain I was right about those things at the time. That’s the nature of hard decisions; they don’t allow for certainty. With the added benefit of hindsight, the inspector general sees some things differently. My team believed the damage of concealing the reopening of our investigation would have been catastrophic to the institution. The inspector general weighs it differently, and that’s O.K., even though I respectfully disagree.

I encouraged this intensive review when I was F.B.I. director and continued to support its work after I was fired. The inspector general’s conclusions are important. But the real, historical value of the report is its collection of facts, which, as John Adams said, “are stubborn things.” If a future F.B.I. leadership team ever faces a similar situation — something I pray never happens — it will have the benefit of this important document.

This is what institutions devoted to the rule of law and accountability look like. They look back at their hardest decisions and collect the facts, and are transparent with the world about those facts and decisions. The leaders of those institutions are best served by welcoming that oversight and that process of second-guessing. That’s why I urged the investigation in the first place.

As F.B.I. director, I wanted a second set of eyes on the agonizing decisions we made during the 2016 election, knowing full well the inspector general’s office could draw different conclusions. I also was confident that even if it disagreed with our decisions, it would find the F.B.I. team made them without regard for political favor or partisanship.

The inspector general’s office has now reached that very conclusion. Its detailed report should serve to both protect and build the reservoir of trust and credibility necessary for the Department of Justice and the F.B.I. to remain strong and independent and to continue their good work for our country.

Our nation’s institutions of justice are up to the task of protecting the rule of law and defending truth and transparency. All of us should stand up and support them.
[End of Comey Op-Ed in New York Times]
Ira Glickstein