FBI Surveys Show High Support for Comey08/17 06:06
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite White House claims to the contrary, fired FBI
Director James Comey was highly respected and trusted within the bureau during
his nearly four-year tenure, according to internal survey results released
The data detailing bureau attitudes about its leader contradict White House
assertions that Comey, fired by President Donald Trump in May, had lost the
confidence of the bureau's rank and file.
When asked specifically if Comey had "a positive impact on my morale," a
majority of survey respondents gave the director high marks in 2015, 2016 and
2017, the results show. Other, broader employee surveys dating to the start of
Comey's tenure in 2013 show consistently high levels of respect for senior FBI
leadership --- including the director --- and high levels of pride that people
had in working for the FBI over that time.
Using a 1-to-5 scale, where scores between 3.81 and 5 are considered a
"success in those areas," Comey received average scores of 4.67, 4.39 and 4.38,
respectively, on the morale question. Those results were tallied from 36
respondents in 2015, from 47 in 2016 and from 48 in 2017.
Respondents' "trust and confidence" in Comey as a leader did drop slightly
between 2015 and 2017 --- from an average score of 4.78 to 4.46 --- though it
still fell within the higher end of the top benchmark for the surveys.
Trump initially cited Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary
Clinton's personal email server as justification for firing him. The deputy
attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, wrote a three-page memo criticizing those
decisions, saying that as a result the FBI was "unlikely to regain public and
congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the
But Trump later said he had intended to fire Comey all along, dubbing him a
"showboat." A White House spokeswoman said then she had personally heard from
"countless" agents who had complained about Comey's leadership.
At the time of his firing, Comey was overseeing the FBI's investigation into
Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any potential ties between Russia and
the Trump campaign.
At a congressional hearing shortly after Comey's dismissal, the then-acting
FBI director, Andrew McCabe, testified that Comey "enjoyed broad support within
the FBI and still does to this day."
The survey results, which were gleaned from anonymous responses, support
In the broader surveys in 2013 and 2014, field office employees asked
whether they had "a high level of respect" for senior leadership, including the
director, gave an average score of 4.01 and 3.88, respectively.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, respondents asked whether they were proud to work
for the FBI overwhelming said they were, tallying average scores of 4.61, 4.66
and 4.59 for those years, the results show.
In 2015, average scores were tallied based on responses of 82 percent of FBI
employees; in 2016 from 75 percent of employees and in 2017 from 72 percent of
employees, according to an FBI spokeswoman.
The annual surveys measuring bureau employees' attitudes about their
workplace conditions and their attitudes about senior leadership, including the
director, were released after The Associated Press and other news outlets
requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.
The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the
survey results and its previous characterizations of Comey's leadership at the