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WASINGTON, November 8. /TASS/. FBI chief James Comey demonstrated "wishy washiness" that "damaged the reputation of the FBI" while dealing with the so-called email scandal involving US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a former senior executive at the FBI told TASS Tuesday.
In July, Comey announced that an FBI review found no reasons to press any charges against Clinton, who was widely criticized for putting sensitive and even classified information at risk by her decision not to use secure government servers for her emails. The inquiry was reopened on October 28 only to be closed two days before the presidential election.
"This kind of wishy washiness on the part of the Director has damaged the reputation of the FBI," a former FBI executive Jerome Israel told TASS.
In a response to last Friday’s publication at The Guardian, that suggests the decision-making process could be affected by deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton in the bureau, the FBI veteran said that attempts to portray the FBI as "Trumplandia" were too politicized.
"I do not believe the issue is about Trumpaholics. It's about protecting the brand - fidelity, bravery, and integrity," he said, commenting on the words of anonymous agents, who were quoted as saying that "the FBI is Trumpland" where Clinton was "the antichrist personified" to a large swath of the personnel.
He also said that unsanctioned leaks from the FBI were highly unlikely, because its personnel have to undergo polygraph tests every five years.
"The rank and file would face a perilous career choice if they were to reveal information because of future polygraphs," Israel said. "But senior agents can just retire and not have to face another polygraph."
"I think the rank and file and senior FBI agents are true law and order professionals," he went on. "They are the only agency that can prosecute Federal public corruption, and they take that responsibility seriously."
Israel said that his former colleagues "want to investigate and find the truth" and that during his 32 years of federal service he "never observed career, Civil Service employees placing politics over mission."
"The only political appointee in the FBI is Director Comey. But, he evidently pushed agents too far with his initial decision not to prosecute Hillary, and even worse in agents' minds, he has tarnished the brand," he said.
In July, Comey announced that the FBI’s review of the matter found no reasons to press any charges against Clinton. The inquiry was reopened on October 28, but Comey announced on November 6 that the bureau has not changed its decision with regard to Clinton.
The sudden u-turns in the case that shadowed Clinton’s presidential campaign have triggered a wave of criticism from members of the ruling Democrate party, including a veiled reproach from outgoing President Barack Obama.
Clinton’s election rival Donald Trump praised the reopening of the investigation as a proof that "the system might not be as rigged as I thought" and expressed hope that his opponent’s "criminal action" that "put our national security at risk" would not go unpunished.