Jim Comey: A Friend Reflects

For nearly a year, James Comey has been in the headlines. First, the FBI director upended the presidential election. Now the former director may upend the president.

Before all that, Comey lived inWestport. Residents knew him as a neighbor, and a Greens Farms Academy parent.

One Westporter knew him long before that. Jack Menz thinks very highly of a man who may determine the course of American history. In fact, he already has. He writes:

I met Jim Comey 32 years ago. We were law clerks in the federal courts in New York’s Foley Square. My $26,381 salary was stretched thin because I was supporting my young child.

Money was tight for Jim too, but he convinced his friends to let me be a free rider at a group beach house in Spring Lake, New Jersey on the weekends I wasn’t with my daughter.

James Comey, Class of 1978 at Northern Highlands High School in New Jersey.

We played basketball at area courts on most Saturday and Sunday mornings. Jim could take an elbow or a hard screen without complaint, but later made that opponent pay with a nifty inside move that allowed us to stay on the court for another game in the absolute meritocracy of playground basketball.

Okay, it’s just basketball. But Jim earned another game on the court playing fair and square with skill, tenacity and drive.

Life off the court was no different. Jim flourished in his career – first at the United States Attorney’s Office in New York, then later at the Department of Justice by taking on the toughest cases, working long hours, and, with skillful trial advocacy, gaining the convictions of criminals. Jim didn’t inherit his place in the world – he earned it.

Living in Westport, I’m sure many “06880” readers have experienced the acquaintance who looks over their shoulder during a function or party to see who may be more notable in the room.

James Comey

Not Jim. He looks you in the eye and speaks to you. You are the most important person in the room.

Many law clerks in the Southern District knew the judges at Foley Square. How many knew the janitors and the elevator operators by name? Jim did. And they all knew him. Maybe that was because he’s 6-8. I think it was because his character was and remains 10 feet tall.

A fair bit has been written about Jim’s time at Bridgewater Associates – the large hedge fund located in Westport. What hasn’t been written is that Jim and his family believe that Jim’s work at Bridgewater was the least impressive thing that was accomplished during their time here.

Jim Comey and his family. (Photo/Facebook)

Jim’s wife Patrice took on the profoundly selfless duty of caring for an infant whose mother, because of drug addiction or other serious problems, was incapable of caring for her newborn.

Patrice couldn’t take on that task alone, because it impacted the whole household. It meant a baby’s cries at any hour, dinners at home, and feedings and lack of sleep at night. All was fine with Jim, Patrice and their wonderful children – because they gave a child in need a chance to thrive.

Jim has spent a good part of his life in the halls of power, but Jim and Patrice have never sought to cater to the rich and powerful. They’ve spent their lives fighting injustice, righting wrongs and making life better for those in need.

The Comeys’ former Westport home. They sold it in January. (Photo/MLS)

25 responses to “Jim Comey: A Friend Reflects

  1. John Brandt

    Dan, you just keep raising the bar. Hope this gets the visibility it deserves. Good editorial call, my friend.

  2. Linda Whitney Sugarman

    Thank you Dan for giving the platform for this sharing of the humanity of the Comeys. We get rapped up in the politics of power and greed and lose sight of the human beings involved- even against their will.
    I don’t know why Mr. Comey wrote the infamous letter indicating that the Clinton emails were on review again BEFORE he checked on what they were. Just a cursory look would have told him that they were copies from Weiner/Winer’s laptop. COPIES!!
    It made me VERY ANGRY that he did not, and does not even now, acknowledge that his timing was VERY BAD to respond by public announcement at that time in the election process!!
    Then, of course, the actuality of the REAL content received was jammed into the info stream AFTER the vote was under way!!
    How could Mr. Comey not know AND ACKNOWLEDGE that HIS DECISION ALONE was responsible for the turn of events that followed!! It wasnt the Russian leak, it was HIS UNTIMELY RESPONSE!!!!
    I was sure he did it because of Republicans squeezing him to do it right then! He was Republican at the beginning of his career in justice was he not? I still believe the GOP made him write the letter and go public at that exact time!! He should tell us if that is true. Come clean on EVERY LEVEL NAMING NAMES to cleanse your soul as it obviously yearns for Justice and Democracy.
    Now we know the Russian hacking backing Trump was what delivered the “leaked” emails that Mr. Comey responded to PREMATURELY AND IN AN OVER -REACTING MANNER!!
    The GOP and especially Trump USED him IN AN OBVIOUS ATTEMPT TO THROW THE ELECTION. AND, they succeeded to the detriment of EVERY AMERICAN SOUL!!
    (Trump did say VERY CLOSE TO VOTING DAY that if he didn’t win, it would prove that the election was rigged. I took that to mean at the time that he, Trump, had it rigged in his favor somehow so it would have to be an underhanded move that would give it to the Democrats if they won. No one knew it would be THE RUSSIANS that were helping him to rig it!!)

    So now, I know that Mr. Comey is trying VERY HARD to make it right and I honor him for that. He DOES SEEM TO BE a very reasonable guy. But he NEEDED TO NOT LET THE REPUBLICANS PUSH HIM FORWARD IN THEIR AGENDA AND INTO THE ABYSS!! (Other people at Justice MUST make note of this for ALL OF GOP MANEUVERINGS EVEN BEYOND TRUMP!!)
    Mr Comey also seems to be VERY ANGRY about how he was used. ( I hope this teaches a lesson to the electorate AND TO JUSTICE about how far the GOP (old and new) is willing to go to promote its platform of destruction FOR MONEY!)
    Whatever happens from now on, I am thankful that Mr. Comey has realised the state of the current GOP and is willing to try to bring the country back to some reasoning and truthful condition.
    I appreciate knowing what a good man and family the Comeys are when allowed to be normal members of the “community of man and family”.

    You may be a huge part of the clean-up crew that will have to follow the horror show being presented by the GOP right now. (Unfortunately, it even involves John McCaine- an officer and a gentleman in the past corrupted by the greed for power that allowed him to rationalize a VP PICK of Palin by the party for his run for power! Oh, will it ever end???)

    Anyway, once again Dan, you show the best side of the Westport Community in your posts and inspire within me a softening of my feelings and judgements for people in the spotlight who, like us regular folks, can sometimes be trapped by the intensity of the days at hand.

  3. Jim Comey has changed the course of American history; he intervened in the 2016 election, twice, and cost Hillary the election, or so she says. Unless of course it was the Russians. Comey says there is no evidence the Russians changed one vote, but the lunatic fringe persists. Of course it could have been the corrupt DNC was so inept it could not steal the general election the way it stole the primaries, or it was misogyny ( Why not?).

    Comey did school the NYT and the rest of the media when he declared articles about national security issues which were based on anonymous sources are almost always wrong. You know articles like this one, right Dan?

    Jim Comey is either an American hero or the most corrupt FBI Director since Hoover. Time will tell.

    • Russell Gontar

      Fact: 17 US intelligence agencies all said Russia interfered in the election. But I guess you also consider those agencies part of the “lunatic fringe”. Let the record show that on this thread, Michael was first to cast slurs.

      Fact: There are several active investigations underway examining the full extent of those activities. We will see what their conclusions are when they are done.

      • I said, Comey declared there is no evidence one vote was changed as a result of Russian interference, not one vote. No one has offered any evidence for scrutiny to support the claim the Russians interfered. Obama said the Russians had no impact of the election. So who are you going to believe?

        • Russell Gontar

          You said “unless of course it was the Russians”. It was. The 17 agencies verified it. Do you accept their findings or not? Surprise us all and answer this question.

          The FBI investigation has not been completed. Period.

          • Verified what? Surprise us all and ask a coherent question.

            • Russell Gontar

              10/7/16 Statement from the department of homeland security:

              “The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities”.

              Is it your view that this statement from Homeland Security is correct or not?

          • During an interview Wednesday with the tech news outlet Recode, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton discussed at length her belief that Russian interference in the 2016 election harmed her chances of winning.

            “Read the declassified report by the intelligence community that came out in early January,” said Clinton. “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement – which I know from my experience as a senator and secretary of state is hard to get – they concluded with ‘high confidence’ that the Russians ran an extensive information war against my campaign to influence voters in the election.”

            Verdict: False

            While the intelligence report she mentions does express ‘high confidence’ that Russia sought to undermine her campaign, it only represents the views of three agencies – the FBI, CIA and NSA. Clinton incorrectly claims this report shows consensus among 17 intelligence agencies.

          • Bob Stalling

            Russel, MP was stating “unless of course it was the Russians” that “cost Hillary the election”

            Do you have evidence that the Russians cost Hillary the election?

            Is so, please share.

            • Russell Gontar

              I am hoping that the many investigations that are currently underway will answer that question, one way or the other.

              • Bob Stalling

                So your answer is no….that’s what I thought.
                By the way, I would appreciate it if from here on out, you would refer to any investigation as a “matter”, if you know what I mean…

                • Russell Gontar

                  Yes Bob. I am waiting for the findings of the investigations, but you, apparently, already know what the answers will be. Regarding, your request to refer to investigations as “matters”, no I don’t know what you mean.

  4. Roberta Taher

    Heartfelt thank you to Jim Comey for being
    A stand tall extraordinairy Human Being.
    He is a rare radiant light in our world.
    Thank you, Dan, for posting your info.

  5. oy vey, Linda….everything I’ve read about Mr. Comey — from his own words and from his colleagues — shows a very principled man. I was married to a guy with a very high security clearance and Mr. Comey’s smarts, assessment of the psychological implications of what was said and not said, his ability to stay above the pull of power were outstanding. We were lucky to have a man of his calibre running the FBI.

    I think his Hillary remarks come from his Dudley Doo-right (sp???) nature and not from any pressure.

    Hilary blew it on her own — never addressed very angry middle Americans and there issues. Never disconnected from Huma (sp?) and her toxic dopey husband. Should have found a 15 year old to explain technical issues vis a vis emails. Hubris. Big time.

    • Linda Whitney at Staples

      I agree.
      I REALLY wanted her to ask Bernie to be her VP to unite the party under one incredible platform: health care/child and family considerations/affordable education for all/environment/protection of workers against current big business practice of wanting the lowest wages possible and NO LOYALTY to the worker.
      I believed that she could have taught us further about partnered leadership that Biden/Obama demonstrated on their watch. tTALK ABOUT UNITY!!
      It was clear that the people wanted it!
      Unfortunately, she let her husband pull her back into spit fighting for power. Bernie got his hackes up as men tend to do in power fights to show that they are not weak and vulnerable. AND, finally the party fell into factions like the GOP has.
      HOWEVER, she did have a decent chance at winning. The country is not that mysoginist as a whole. Old white men seem to be but they don’t have the numbers. Bernie’s people did vote for her as opposed to the Trump choice. Many labor union people would have trusted Bernie and his platform and the anger vote for Trump would have been decreased.
      Definitely too much hubris fostered by her very misguided husband trying to give her power in a “man’s” fight arena. Lots of bad council! And her need to “win it on her own!!” SHE DID NOT WANT TO SHARE POWER. It’s a common problem for women that they try the “I can do anything better than you!” Approach born in the gender struggles throughout time.

      WE ALL HAVE TO LEARN partnership skills, job/power sharing, teaming skills AND HUMILITY. (Humility is NOT prostrating one’s self n the presence of another. It IS understanding that it takes the focus of MANY to do a big job and complete a project to its intended goal so NO ONE GETS ALL IF THE CREDIT ANY TIME. Credit AND power are shared!)
      Trump is showing us how far we have gone in THE WRONG DIRECTION!!
      I don’t think he would have won a straight up election on any level except possibly with the gerrymandering. That may be what he was counting on.

    • Linda Whitney at Staples

      PS (sorry Dan)
      It seems that the event stream was,
      Hillary did not bring Bernie into the front row with her fracturing the party.
      The Russians successfully baited Jim Comey at the VERY right time.
      Trump took full advantage of the Russian interference which he knew about by then and was prepared to use against the country himself to gain power- a very Putin MO.
      White men and angry people in general out of work due to a lot of reasons went with the ALPHA MALE believing his lies that he cared about them.
      UNFORTUNATE all of the way around. We can only hope that it will cause us to re-evaluate a lot of our automatic prejudices and responses across the board.
      Meanwhile, the MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL, our children, the canaries in the mine shaft, are showing us the state of our health going forward- one in 68 births on the Autism spectrum, highest suicide rates among teens ever, highest addiction rates among children and teens ever, highest rates of sickness, depression, and over-all collapse of Freshmen and first semester Sophomores in college ever!!
      We are sacrificing our children/our future with all of this incredibly ridiculous behavior and poor belief structure. Whether or not we kill the planet, we ARE KILLING our own SPECIES!!
      The US has the most concentrated population on the planet that has the most freedom to behave any way it wants to due to resources, financial security(mostly in the past now) and at least basic education. Look at how we are behaving, the choices that we are making.
      TIME TO WAKE UP!!!!

  6. I respectfully requests folks on all sides of this issue — and any others on “06880” — to refrain from making multiple posts, and/or responding to every comment others make. The idea of the comments section is to allow many voices to be heard. Frequent comments by one person — or constant back-and-forth — do not change anyone’s mind. But they do intimidate others from commenting. I welcome a diversity of viewpoints. I’m fine with a couple of responses. But please limit your comments to 2 or 3 per post. Thank you.

  7. Jacque O'Brien

    I’m just wondering if anyone thinks that perhaps Hillary Clinton lost the election all by herself?

  8. Dick Lowenstein

    I’m not sure how many of us still read the Westport News, but local resident Evan Barr offered this recent complementary and complimentary assessment of Jim Comey (who was my around-the-corner neighbor)