During his remarks at the House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday morning, a fiery U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) ripped Democrats for not taking national security issues seriously and gave FBI Director James Comey a thoughtful grilling about the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices while secretary of State.
“I’m offended,” Rep. Hurd said earnestly. “I’m offended by my political friends on the other side of the aisle who claim this is political theater. This is not political theater.”
Hurd, a former undercover CIA agent who was stationed in Washington, D.C., and also served as an operations officer in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, didn’t take kindly to the Democrats’ treacherous messaging.
“For me, this is serious,” he said. “I spent nine and a half years as an undercover operative in the CIA. I was the guy in the back alleys collecting intelligence, passing it to lawmakers. I’ve seen my friends killed. I’ve seen assets put themselves in harm’s way. And this is about protecting information – the most sensitive information the American government has, and I wish my colleagues would take this a little more seriously.”
Hurd demonstrated his fluency with national security issues with a line of questions regarding our nation’s intelligence programs: “S.A.P. Special Access Programs you alluded to earlier — that includes SCI information. Does SCI information include HUMINTs [human intelligence] and SIGINTs [signals intelligence]?” he asked the FBI director.
“Yes,” Comey answered.
Hurd explained that such intelligence is some of the most sensitive information we have to understand what terrorist organizations are planning and doing, and it is gathered by people who “put themselves in harm’s way to give us information to drive foreign policy.”
After noting that Clinton maintained an unauthorized email server in her basement, he asked, “Who was protecting that information? Who was protecting that server?”
Comey seemed uncomfortable in his answer: “Well, not much,” he replied. “There were a number of different people that were assigned as administrators of the server.”
Hurd asked about the seven or eight email strings that included information that was marked “TS/SCI” (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information) that was discovered on Clinton’s server. Comey confirmed that the astonishing fact was true.
The clearly appalled Hurd said, “So the former secretary of State, one of the president’s most important advisers on foreign policy and national security, has a server in her basement that had information that was collected from our most sensitive assets, and that was not protected by anyone – and that’s not a crime?”
“That’s outrageous!” he exclaimed. “People are concerned. What does it take for someone to misuse classified information and get in trouble for it?”
The director paused sheepishly and responded, “It takes mishandling it, and then criminal intent.”
Hurd shot back, “So an unauthorized server in the basement is not mishandling it?”
“Oh no,” the director replied. “There is evidence of mishandling. This whole investigation, at the end, focused on, ‘is there sufficient evidence of intent?’”
Hurd asked, “Did this activity you investigated make America’s secrets vulnerable to hostile elements?”
“Yes,” Comey unabashedly replied.
The Texas congressman pressed the director to explain how he was not setting a precedent for other employees to mishandle classified information.
Comey answered that, as far as the FBI was concerned, “there would be discipline, from termination to reprimand and everything in between” for such employees.
Comey argued that it was “not fair” to prosecute somebody differently because of their celebrity status. “We treat people fairly; we treat them the same based on their conduct.”
Next page: Watch the video of Hurd questioning Comey.
Clearly not satisfied with Comey’s answers, Hurd later wrote on Facebook, “If I had been as reckless with classified information as Secretary Clinton while at the Central Intelligence Agency, I’d be posting this from prison.”
Hurd’s remarks got glowing reviews on Twitter:
As a former Marine, anti-terrorist officer, FBI employee and DHS security contractor, Hurd spoke for all of us today https://t.co/KmQyvhOJwU
— Ray Mileur (@RayMileur) July 7, 2016
.@WillHurd spent 9 yrs in the CIA, briefed members of Congress, then became an adviser to a cybersecurity firm. Yes, he has thoughts.
— Ian Tuttle (@iptuttle) July 7, 2016
Rep. Will Hurd, speaking for a nation. https://t.co/1UlfraazBG
— Chicks On The Right (@chicksonright) July 7, 2016
— Monica Showalter (@mmshowalter1) July 7, 2016
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 7, 2016
Rep. Will Hurd wins.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) July 7, 2016