When asked about regrets during his recent book tour, former FBI director James Comey pretty much limited his answer to a reference to TV presenter Ryan Seacrest. But today, the House Intelligence Committee’s declassified report on Russia’s 2016 election interference reveals another regret: how the FBI informed the Democratic National Committee it had been hacked.
The FBI infamously first dealt with the DNC hack by calling a low-level contractor on the DNC’s computer help-desk. The contractor found no problems and left it at that. The FBI says it later tried to notify senior DNC officials; the DNC says the FBI kept calling the same help-desk. Either way, it took months for the breach to be taken seriously—and Comey admitted the FBI should have done more.
In retrospect, “[We] would have sent up a much larger flare. Yeah, we would have just kept banging and banging on the door, knowing what I know now,” he told the House Intelligence Committee, in a statement declassified on April 27. “We made extensive efforts to notify. I might have walked over there myself, knowing what I know now.”
Former secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was even more wistful: “You know, in retrospect, it would be easy for me to say that I should have brought a sleeping bag and camped out in front of the DNC in late summer, with the benefit of hindsight,” he told the committee.