A Higher Loyalty
James Comey
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 5

Lies are not good. Lies wreck reputations and careers. Nevertheless, there are conditions where lies are advantageous since they help to discover answers for particular troublesome yet direct situations. Due to his height, many people asked Comey if he ever played basketball. However, due to a myriad of challenges including surgery, he could not play basketball. Comey believes that, “The danger in every organization, especially one built around hierarchy, is that you create an environment that cuts off dissenting views and discourages honest feedback.” Not many people were ready to accept Comey's lengthy, yet honest explanations. As a result, he always nodded ‘yup,' and the problem is gone. However, there are certain situations in which a simple lie may be ruinous.  In the case of Martha Steward, which Comey was actively investigating, a simple lie that the suspect said led to her conviction.


By this time, Comey has ascended to become a US attorney, and he is presented with an opportunity to build his reputation. Comey has hired a new set of the prosecutor, and he has wired them to meet his specifications. Comey has started demonstrating qualities of leadership that make him highly effective. In the first case, he has learned to motivate his employees while at the same time providing them with the freedom to exercise their discretion when making decisions on a case-by-case basis. These leadership traits would propel Comey to higher levels of authority.

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