Read James Comey's Goodbye Letter to FBI Staff
On Tuesday, Donald Trump—a man who rode to reality TV fame by firing people—axed FBI director James Comey. Or rather, he delegated the job to his bodyguard Keith Schiller, who was dispatched to the FBI’s D.C. headquarters to hand-deliver the termination letter in person. No one bothered to check Comey’s schedule to discover that he was actually in Los Angeles delivering a speech to agents. After nearly four years as FBI head, Comey found out about his firing just like many of us of us did: by hearing it on the news.
Controversy over his ouster, which was poorly timed at best and indicative of a Nixon-style coverup at worst, came swiftly. The Trump administration’s shifting story on the matter has only added fuel to the fire. One anonymous intelligence agent, speaking to NBC News, called the way the firing was carried out “thuggish and humiliating,” like an “instant execution.”
On Wednesday, Comey sent a letter to FBI employees regarding his termination. Originally published by CNN, it is a cool-headed, straightforward note urging staffers not to dwell on the details. The missive expresses Comey’s dismay to be leaving the agency, which he describes as “one of the great joys" of his life. Check out the letter in its entirety, below.
I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.
I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.
It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.
Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.