Former FBI Director James Comey

Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA

Comey Tells WCBS 880 He Hopes FISA Information Drop Doesn’t Expose Sources Or Methods

September 19, 2018 - 7:41 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Former FBI Director James Comey is weighing in on the president authorizing the declassification of portions of the FISA warrant, the secret application for surveillance linked to the Russia investigation.

While President Donald Trump believes the release of this information will provide full transparency into special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which he has called a “witch hunt," Comey tells WCBS 880, “I would hope that whatever process the administration is going to go through is very thoughtful about exposing sources and methods in particular and chilling other sources from cooperating with U.S. Intelligence community."

Ahead of his Oct. 4 appearance at the New Jersey Speaker Series, Comey spoke to WCBS News Anchor Steve Scott telling him about his concerns about declassifying the information during an open investigation.

"First of all, you don’t want to expose things about an American Citizen that is being investigated and second you do not want to send a message to sources we can’t protect you in the United States," he said.

Some of the declassified information is said to involve emails and text messages from the former FBI director during the early stages of the FISA application, but Comey told WCBS that he’s not even sure what those texts or emails might show. 

“I wasn't a big texter so I don't even know whether there are any texts or emails that involve me about that. Again I don't care about anything I said except I want to make sure that we're not exposing information that would chill sources and methods. If that’s all taken care of  I really don't care. On email I tended to be very short and occasionally very, very funny. So I’m OK with it," Comey said.

As for the idea that there was something flawed in the FISA court application that led to the phone tap on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, Comey said, “Facts are stubborn things.”

He says based on the information he has “the investigation was properly predicated and based on information that the FBI had received that raised the concern that Americans were working with the Russians as part of their huge effort to influence the election.  I don't care what your politics are, you would expect your FBI to investigate that. And we opened an investigation and did it in a responsible, careful, thoughtful way.”

Comey was asked about the controversy over whether the FBI should investigate allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Comey says it would be completely appropriate saying, “The FBI traditionally does background investigations and will do follow up investigations if an issue about someone’s fitness or character arises.”

Comey adds that "the FBI doesn’t do that on their own they do it at the request of, in this case it would at the request of the White House.”

Comey will speak at NJPAC in Newark Oct. 4 as the lead off speaker in the NJ Speaker Series presented by Farleigh Dickinson University. WCBS 880 is a media partner of the speaker series.