PSYCHIATRIST: So, Mr. Comey,
tell me why youíre here today.
COMEY: Iím way wired, I can
hardly sleep, when I do manage to fall asleep my dreams are
intense and scary. Iím getting by on coffee and junk food. My
wife is worried for me and demanded that I seek immediate help.
PSY: It seems like a good
place to start might be the stressful situation you now find
yourself in. Would you agree?
COM: You bet. It all started
last summer when I decided ó in what I now recognize was a bad
mistake in judgement ó to publicly talk about Hillary Clintonís
emails investigation. I need to stop here to clarify something:
I feel I can talk about this with you only under the strictest
rules of confidentiality.
PSY: Please know that I am
prohibited by the law and by custom and by the ethics of the
psychiatric profession from divulging anything you relate to me.
Nothing you say leaves this room. In fact, I will put down my
notepad and pen, so that no record will exist of our
conversation. Will this suffice in alleviating your concerns?
COM: Yes, thank you. Iím
placing this sound disrupter on the table ó just in case anybody
is sweeping for conversation. It breaks up words into
PSY: I hope you will talk
more about who might want to listen in on this session. But,
regardless, If this makes you feel more secure, itís fine with
me. Please proceed.
COM: So what I was about to
say has to do with the political snake pit that is the FBI.
There are partisan and ideological factions so entrenched in the
Bureau that it makes the Justice Department ís political culture
seem like a Sunday School picnic.
PSY: Are you suggesting that
these factions are actually warring with each other?
COM: Exactly. And because
these tribes at the Bureau leak like a sieve to the media ó it
seems that every senior agent has direct access to favorite
journalists at the Times, Post, Fox News, BuzzFeed, Wall Street
Journal, all of them ó and, since my staff memos on this subject
had little to no effect, I had to quickly learn how to keep
PSY: What does that mean,
ďto keep everybody happyĒ?
COM: On hyper-controversial
matters, Iíd have to throw red meat to one faction ó say the
more rightwing extremists ó and placate with a similar gesture
to, say, the more moderate faction.
PSY: Iím guessing that you
felt put upon by this situation ó under constant tension.
COM: You got it. For example,
last July, when I summed up our non-case with regard to Hillary
Clintonís email investigation, I felt that I had to include some
harsh quotes about her sloppy security procedures ó which would
provide ammunition to Trump ó as a balancer for not recommending
a criminal indictment.
PSY: I have to ask a simple
question here, one voiced by many in the days after: Why did you
feel you had to say anything? Itís my understanding that the FBI
does not issue public statements about ongoing cases that do not
result in charges being filed.
COM: On that July matter, and
the more recent statement with regard to the emails found on
Anthony Weinerís computer, I knew for a certainty that the
Trump-supporting faction would leak to the press. I decided to
try to dilute the impact of those leaks by issuing my own
release. It was a risky strategy, I grant you, one that blew up
in my face.
PSY: Why do you think it
exploded that way?
COM: This is going to sound a
bit strange, but I thought my reputation as a honest broker, a
straight-shooter, a lawman of integrity would work its magic
PSY: But you issued your
most recent statement with only 11 days to go before the
election, something, as I understand it, that is against the
FBIís own protocols. You injected yourself into a partisan
fight. Your DOJ superiors advised against your plan, but you
went ahead anyway. Why?
COM: Because I was stupid,
because I was exhausted, because I wanted to head off the
extremistsí language, because I wanted the limelight, because in
this instance, I elevated my competence-factor way beyond
reality. The result is that I appeared incompetent, way too
hasty and ambitious, out of my depth. And, worst of all, that I
was a partisan for Trump, whereas the truth is I have few
positive feelings for either of them. Both are morally suspect,
both politicians carrying a lot of legal baggage. I despise her
and heís a lying demagogue who scares the piss out of me.
PSY: Given all thatís gone
down, can you imagine any steps you can take to resurrect your
COM: Maybe, if the facts
warrant it, announce ASAP that the Clinton emails situation
hasnít changed since July and thatís the end of the matter. But
there will be push-back or leak-back from rightist agents. And
there may not be enough time to make it right in the first
place. And/or move the Trump-and-Russia investigation
front-and-center, to balance out the Clinton damage somewhat. Or
maybe just resign, with a mea culpa and let time do its thing
and try for a political comeback in a year or two after the dust
PSY: We have just a bit of
time left. Do you want to take a look at one of the troublesome
dreams you mentioned?
COM: Sure. In this one, Iím at
the FBI gun range, taking target practice. Iím aiming at the
red-and-black bullseye, which suddenly turns orange. Then I aim
at a white suit; my gun turns into an arced bow and the arrow is
now coming straight at me. I wake up in fright. You know what,
doc? I get whatís being alluded to here. I think I do need
another line of work.