Democracy Dies in Darkness

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James Comey is writing a book — and we know he's been keeping thorough notes

By Elahe Izadi

August 2, 2017 at 2:51 PM

Former FBI director James B. Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Looks like James B. Comey found another outlet for his diligent note-taking habit.

The former FBI director just signed a deal with publisher Flatiron Books for his first book, a not-yet-titled exploration of "what good, ethical leadership looks like and how it drives sound decisions," a news release says.

"Using examples from some of the highest-stakes situations in the past two decades of American government, Comey will share yet-unheard anecdotes from his long and distinguished career," Flatiron, a division of Macmillan, said in the release.

News of the deal was first reported by the Associated Press, which said that several publishers bid for the book. The wire service cited three unnamed officials "with knowledge of the negotiations" as saying the bidding war topped $2 million.

The book is due in spring.

Comey has become something of a household name — thanks to his handling of the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails during the presidential campaign season, and the unceremonious way President Trump fired him in May. (Comey found out from TV news while he was addressing bureau employees in Los Angeles. He reportedly thought it was a prank.)

Late-night comics had a field day with the news. And his June testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was like Washington's Super Bowl.

Related: [How Washington celebrated Comey Day — the ultimate holiday for a city of nerds]

The firing set off a firestorm, sparking accusations that Trump was trying to impede the bureau's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and setting off a chain of events that resulted in the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

President Barack Obama chose Comey in 2013 to lead the FBI; he had previously served in the Justice Department, in both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

"Throughout his career, James Comey has had to face one difficult decision after another as he has served the leaders of our country," Bob Miller, president of Flatiron Books, said in a statement. "His book promises to take us inside those extraordinary moments in our history, showing us how these leaders have behaved under pressure. By doing so, Director Comey will give us unprecedented entry into the corridors of power and a remarkable lesson in leadership itself."

Comey is represented by literary agents at Javelin, which has handled best-selling books from political figures such as Republican Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse. Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile, Pamela Anderson and Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey, all clients of the agency, have forthcoming books.

"We are delighted and humbled by the response Mr. Comey's book received from major publishers, which demonstrates why this will be the most anticipated book of the spring season," the agency said in a statement. "This is going to be a bracing look inside the corridors of power with keen insights about ethical leadership and key lessons about how to create a culture of truth in any organization."


Elahe Izadi is a pop culture writer for The Washington Post.

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