On March 16, I spent the day with my family waiting to hear whether I would be fired, after 21 years in the FBI and one day before I qualified for my long-planned, earned retirement.
As day turned to night, I had a lot of time to reflect on how it would feel to be separated from the organization I loved – and led – and the mission that has been the central focus of my professional life. Despite all the preparation for the worst-case scenario, I still felt disoriented and sick to my stomach. Around 10 p.m., a friend called to tell me that CNN was reporting that I had been fired. She read me the attorney general’s statement.
So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way – third-hand, based on a news account.
Firing’s always tough, pal. That’s why you don’t want to lie to investigators for the sake of playing politics so it happens.
McCabe starts out with a minute-detail first-person account of what got him into the news, his firing, and comes off as not just a whiner, but a colossal whiner. He opens up his essay in the Washington Post not with cool hard Efrem Zimbalist-style facts about what led to his dismissal, but with a reality TV-style missive about himself and his feelings. He wants us to know that getting fired didn’t feel good. It’s embarrassing.
Then he gives us this:
I have been accused of “lack of candor.” That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators. When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them. At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted – and for that I take full responsibility. But that is not a lack of candor. And under no circumstances could it ever serve as the basis for the very public and extended humiliation of my family and me that the administration, and the president personally, have engaged in over the past year.