Jim Comey Impugns Pot Smokers Again

Reason reports that the American Legion just passed a resolution calling on Congress to reclassify cannabis.

One of the potential medical values of medical marijuana is as a treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And in what must certainly at this point make it abundantly clear where the majority of Americans stand on marijuana use, the American Legion has just voted at its national convention to support a resolution calling on Congress to legislatively reclassify cannabis and place it in a category that recognizes its potential value.

The resolution, readable here at marijuana.com, highlights a number of important statistics that have helped push the Legion to support it. Across two years, the Department of Veterans Affairs have diagnosed thousands of Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans as having PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). More than 1,300 veterans in fiscal year 2009 were hospitalized for brain injuries. And the resolution notes that systems in the brain can respond to 60 different chemicals found in cannabis.

Therefore, the American Legion wants the DEA to license privately-funded medical marijuana and research facilities and to reclassify marijuana away from being lumped in with drugs like cocaine and meth.

If veterans suffering from PTSD were able to use cannabis as treatment, we would have to add them to the list of people — like Malia Obama — whom Jim Comey thinks don’t have integrity.

For the second time in as many months, Comey last week used the example of people who smoke pot (on their way to an interview, at least) to describe a lack of integrity.

To have a cyber special agent, you need three buckets of attributes. You need integrity, which is non-negotiable. You need physicality. We’re going to give you a gun on behalf of the United States of America, you need to be able to run, fight, and shoot. So there’s a physicality required. And obviously there’s an intelligence we need for any special agent, but to be a cyber special agent, we need a highly sophisticated, specialized technical expertise.

Those three buckets are rare to find in the same human being in nature. We will find people of great integrity, who have technical talent, and can’t squeeze out more than two or three push-ups. We may find people of great technical talent who want to smoke weed on the way to the interview. So we’re staring at that, asking ourselves, “Are there other ways to find this talent, to equip this talent, to grow this talent?” One of the things we’re looking at is, if we find people of integrity and physicality and high intelligence, can we grow our own cyber expertise inside the organization? Or can we change the mix in cyber squads? A cyber squad today is normally eight special agents—gun-carrying people with integrity, physicality, high intelligence, and technical expertise. Ought the mix to be something else? A smaller group of this, and a group of high-integrity people with technical expertise who are called cyber investigators?

I get that this cute labeling of pot smokers as lacking integrity is part of his script (he used almost the same lines in both speeches), perhaps to avoid thinking about what it means that our nation can’t best fight the alleged biggest threat to it because of outdated laws. But either he has given no thought about the words that are falling out of his mouth (indeed, he also seems to have no understanding of the the words “adult” and “mature” mean, which are other words he tends to wield in profoundly troublesome fashion), or the nation’s top cop really can’t distinguish between law — and that, not even in all states anymore — and ethics.

 

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

8 replies
  1. Evangelista says:

    1. For James Comey, or any other official or agent of the current FBI Scripted-Sting Cowboys of the Cutting Room Floor culture, to comment about Integrity in any sense except confession that they ain’t got any, is prima facie and ipso facto proof of the above said confession.

    2. For any person participating professionally in the current United States government to assign any person or persons who are not engaged with or occupied in the present United States government to lack integrity is equivalent to turds in a chamber-pot denigrating the chamber-pot for being “shitty”.

    3. That said, there is valid and reasonable ground for assigning any person not engaged or occupied in the present United States government, who has applied to join to and work for the FBI, or any other, and especially any similar, branch of the present United States government, to lack integrity.

    4. My suggestion for a work-around, to allow the FBI to employ the kinds of people who have made it the kind of agency that it is, and given it the kind of reputation it is today known for, until the present United States government can be routed and replaced by a legitimately principled and Constitutionally compliant governing structure, is to one, take away all guns, two forget about the push-ups, and three, let the agency go to weed-pot. It has already, long ago, gone to pot in the other slang senses of the word.

    Let them spend more time smoking up and less time playing cowboy. Then put them to counseling people running near the edges of self-control to improve and exercise their self-control, instead of conspiring to goad such people to commit crimes. Crimes for which they, the FBI, are, in fact, responsible, and criminally responsible, since they goad them and aid them willfully and with malice, to entrap them.

  2. Peterr says:

    I’m both amused and appalled at Comey’s comments about physicality, especially as it pertains to cyber special agents. These are folks who are (presumably) doing most if not all of their work from a keyboard, not breaking down doors. To say that every FBI agent must have the physicality Comey points to strikes me as putting the FBI’s macho image ahead of the needs of the nation to have its best minds applied to the problems and threats of cyber warfare.
    .
    It would be like the CIA/DOD requiring that drone pilots be able to pull 8 g’s in a fighter plane.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    “Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis … .”

  4. wayoutwest says:

    The call by the American Legion to reclassify pot is a positive development but there are two distinct conditions in returning vets being discussed. There are studies that show that pot can help treat PTSD but traumatic brain injury is a totally different physical condition and I wonder if pot is or ever will be recommended for that type of physical damage.

    Comey seems to be responding to Pot Heads, not MM users, who have tried to join his little Cyber hero’s brigade, there isn’t any other reason for him mentioning someone who gets high before their interview with his band of cyborgs.

  5. P J Evans says:

    I’d like to know why he thinks “cyber special agents” need physicality. Bits and bytes and computers don’t care. The people they’re hunting might, but warrants are far more effective.

    Has Comey ever actually looked at what the FBI has been doing since 2003, or is he still thinking in terms of J Edgar’s g-men?

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It’s hard to explain Comey’s irrational position other than to say it’s not about the medical effects or efficacy of using marijuana, which is less likely than alcohol to generate physical or mental harm. In can improve it or lessen the consequences of chronic pain; it doesn’t readily and linearly lead to incapacity, lack of emotional control or, say, massive liver and nervous system damage. Rather, Comey’s position seems more explicable by looking at the money pit anti-marijuana crusades have generated as part of the so-called war on drugs. Seizure laws, the private prison system, the rationale (before the anti-terrorism bonanza) for massive federalization and federal subsidies for the militarization of local law enforcement. A few billion here, a few billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. Then, of course, there are the racial and economic conflicts which the so-called war on drugs is all about. Put together, Mr. Comey is voting with his chosen constituency, not fulfilling his obligations as a high public official.

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