NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden used former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday to defend providing classified surveillance documents to the press in 2013.
Comey, who allegedly kept detailed notes of his encounters with President Trump prior to being fired last month, admitted to giving an associate permission to give details of those memos to the media.
“The President tweeted on Friday, after I got fired, that I better hope there’s not tapes,” Comey said. “I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn’t dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape.”
Arguing that he wanted to get his version of events provided to the public, Comey stated that he asked a friend, now confirmed to be Columbia law professor Daniel C. Richman, to “share the content of the memo with a reporter.”
“I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it,” Comey added.
Snowden took to Twitter to point out how Comey allegedly felt he had a moral obligation to “break the rules,” drawing parallels between himself and the former FBI director.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 8, 2017
“It seems the FBI Director agrees: sometimes the only moral decision is to break the rules,” Snowden said.
The tweet proved controversial among both defenders and opponents of Comey, with Twitter users on both sides of the aisle arguing the validity of the comparison.
Other prominent figures including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange similarly noted the significance of Comey’s choice.
James Comey who called WikiLeaks "intelligence porn" reveals his life as an intelligence porn star https://t.co/mLnGgXST4C
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) June 8, 2017
“James Comey who called WikiLeaks ‘intelligence porn’ reveals his life as an intelligence porn star,” Assange said.
Trump’s outside council, Marc Kasowitz, condemned Comey at a press conference Thursday for authorizing professor Richman to reveal contents from the memo.
“We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated,” he said.