In federal court yesterday (Friday, June 7). In a FOIA case ruling (full pdf below) Judge James Boasberg was deciding public release over two issues related to the memos of former FBI Director James Comey. Backstory HERE and HERE.
Judge Boasberg was deciding what could be publicly released, meaning current redactions removed, based on two connected events: (#1) The content of the Comey Memos; and (#2) the declarations of lead FBI agent for Robert Mueller’s special counsel, David Archey, in describing those memos. CNN had filed a lawsuit to gain full access.
[Note: the descriptions of the Comey memos by FBI agent David Archey are known as the “Archey Declarations” – Read Here.]
For those who may not be aware, there are so many memos (dozens) when assembled they seem to make up an actual diary of moment-by-moment events, during the FBI investigation of Donald Trump, as documented by FBI Director James Comey.
♦ In the issue of the redactions within the Comey Memos, the judge doesn’t remove them. Some are ordered to be removed, some are approved to stay in place. The Comey memo aspect, and the redaction decision, is basically a splitting of the baby 50/50. It will be interesting, but meh, maybe not too much detail. – CNN ARTICLE
The issues argued by the FBI lawyers to keep the Comey memos hidden surround sources and methods. The judge generally agreed to the potential for compromise, but also outlined several sections of redactions within the Comey memos where that argument doesn’t hold up. [The judge has read the fully unredacted memo content.]
♦ However, on the issue of the Archey Declarations there’s an opportunity for some very interesting information to surface. Here’s an example of currently existing redactions within the Archey Declarations:
And stunningly, yes, STUNNINGLY, Judge Boasberg has ordered the Archey declarations to be fully released to the public WITHOUT REDACTIONS. See pages 34 and 35 of the ruling.
This should be interesting.
Here’s the ruling:
And Here’s the Prior Ruling that contains the Archey Declarations:
THE ARCHEY DECLARATIONS – This is the original declaration outlining to the court on October 13th, 2017, why the Comey memos must be sealed. It is inside this exhibit where we discover there are many more memos than previously understood, and the content of those memos is far more exhaustive because James Comey documented the FBI investigation.
In essence Comey created these memos to cover his ass. (pg 13):
Along with writing notes of the meetings and conversations, apparently Comey also made notes of the sources and methods associated with the investigation. Why would Comey generate classified information in these notes (sources and methods) unless he was just covering his ass because he knew the investigation itself was a risk…
The content of the memos seems rather exhaustive; it appears Comey is keeping a diary for use in the event this operation went sideways. (page #14, exhibit B)
All of those investigative elements would likely be contained in official FBI files and notes by the investigative agents. There is no need for a contemporaneous personal account of meeting content unless Comey was constructing memos for his own protection. These memos appear to be motivated by the same mindset that caused Susan Rice to generate her email to self on inauguration day.
In the next section FBI Agent David Archey explains the scale of the memos. There are obviously far more than previously discussed or disclosed publicly. Additionally, look carefully at the way the second part is worded.
Archey is saying Comey’s written recollections should be withheld because it might affect the testimony of people familiar with the “memorialized conversations”. (page #15, Exhibit B)
This is an October 2017 filing, Comey was fired May 9th. FBI Agent Archey is outlining Trump as the target who might adjust his testimony. Again, more evidence of the special counsel focus being motivated by the obstruction case they were hoping to build. [Reminder, Comey was still FBI director at the time these memos were written]
The next section gets to the heart of why the FBI wants to keep the Comey memos hidden and not released.
In this section Archey outlines how FBI Director James Comey wrote down who the sources were; what code-names were assigned; how those confidential sources engaged with FISA coverage initiated by the FBI; what foreign governments were assisting with their effort; and what the plans were for the investigation.
Again, why memorialize all of this classified information unless the memos were intended as CYA protection for himself?
The good news is: all of those redactions will now be removed !!