James Comey's Heartfelt Goodbye Letter To The FBI Is Something Every American Should Read

"If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer."

The evening after being dismissed from his post as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey took the time to pen a goodbye letter to his staff.

While journalists and the White House tried to make sense the narrative of Comey's controversial firing, the now former director wrote a heartfelt and inspiring note to his staff. Perhaps most notably, he seemed to give a final word of encouragement that the FBI continue its fearless work investigating not just Russian interference, but any threat to the American people.

Since Comey's dismissal, there has been an avalanche of journalism around the reasoning and timing of the firing. The White House has characterized the decision as a response to Comey's mishandling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, and cited letters from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as the catalyst for President Donald Trump's decision. 

Meanwhile many in the Washington, D.C. media have contradicted this characterization, and a plethora of reports have indicated the dismissal may have been related to the FBI's investigation into Trump's ties to Russia. 

CNN reported that the Clinton email justification was only developed after the decision to fire Comey, and that Rosenstein and Sessions may have been asked by the president to write the letters. NBC News reported Comey was fired for not relenting in his probe into Russia's interference in the election, while The Wall Street Journal reported Comey was "concerned" by potential evidence of collusion. The Washington Post reported that Rosenstein, who Comey reported to, threatened to resign when he saw the White House using the letter he wrote as a reason for Trump's decision. 

And it was in this context that Comey penned a letter to the bureau about his departure. 

"It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing," Comey wrote. "My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer."

Comey also defended Trump's decision, saying he has "long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason" and shared his thoughts with how the American public should view the FBI during the toughest times.

"In times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence," he said.

You can read his entire letter below, courtesy of CNN:

To all:

I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I'm not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won't either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.

I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.
It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.

If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer. Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.
Jim Comey

Cover photo: Shutterstock / lev radin