FBI Director James Comey says last summer, he had plans to write an op-ed about the fact that Russia was interfering with the U.S. presidential election.
But, according to a Newsweek magazine report, the idea was vetoed by the Obama Administration.
A source spoke to Newsweek about the op-ed offer from James Comey, saying that the offer was shut down by The White House. According to the source:
“They did their usual — nothing.”
If the information Comey claims to have is accurate, that would suggest one thing: The Obama Administration simply did not take it all seriously enough.
The fact that Russia actually meddled in a U.S. presidential election has both Democrats and Republicans shaking their heads.
Comey, who took over the FBI in 2013, proposed the op-ed during a meeting in June or July in the situation room of the White House in which Sec. of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Sec. of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson were also present, according to Newsweek.
“He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward, what do people think of this?’” a source with knowledge of the meeting told Newsweek of Comey.
According to Newsweek’s source, Comey’s op-ed would have laid out some of the evidence showing that the Kremlin was attempting to influence the presidential election. The Obama administration would not make a similar public accusation until Oct. 7, when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security alleged that Russia was involved in cyber attacks against Democrats.
The piece, which likely would have been placed at an outlet like The New York Times, would not have revealed anything about an investigation into possible ties between the Russian government and Trump campaign. Comey said earlier this month that the FBI opened that probe in early July.
The other Obama administration officials opposed the idea, Newsweek reports, because they preferred a more coordinated message.
“An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature, it comes from one person,” Newsweek’s source said.
Democrats have blamed the Obama administration for failing to address Russian meddling early enough in the campaign cycle. Comey has been one of the biggest targets for criticism, largely because of his public involvement in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.