Remember to vote.
This election day I would like to briefly acknowledge what I think was appropriate handling of timely sensitive material by the FBI.
First of all, FBI director is not designed to be a partisan position. Directors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate for a tenure of ten years. This means there are no incentives for bias.
There was an uproar when the FBI announced to reopen an investigation based upon new emails were revealed on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner and mutually shared by top Clinton aid Huma Abedine. There was an immediate slump in the stock market as the release was made within two weeks of the presidential election. The accusation was that the FBI acted inappropriately to influence a presidential election.
Here my defense of director James Comey: Given that new evidence was discovered which warranted an investigation, imagine a possible future in which Clinton wins the election and then the investigation is declared. This would provide an opportunity for more people to cry foul that the system is rigged. These are incriminating claims about the mishandling of classified information with an ability to push the electorate one way or another. In order to maintain the guise (in dealing with the FBI perhaps one can never be totally clear of how open and honest the organization is acting) that the system is fair it was necessary to continue a closed investigation as soon as the evidence was discovered.
This is to say nothing of the ambiguity in which the announcement was made. Perhaps there really was no further information at the time and Comey knew that in order to maintain integrity in the system there was a need to say something while the picture was developing in order to avoid accusations of wrongdoing later.
Unfortunately, in a toxic climate in which people threaten to dishonor democratic processes coming forth was a murky but prompt picture is the only means of restoring trust, even at the expense of influencing an election unfairly (imagine Clinton losing because of this controversy and being cleared of wrongdoing on 9 Nov). In this case I believe Director Comey that “opinions are irrelevant. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way.”