Skip to navigationSkip to content

“I should have camped in front of the DNC”: The FBI’s declassified regrets

The FBI should have made sure the DNC knew about Russia's hack, Comey said
Barnes and Noble, NYC
No big deal.
By Max de Haldevang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

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.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.