We’ve Finally Solved the Mystery of James Comey’s Twitter Account – POPSUGAR
Goodbye Iowa. On the road home. Gotta get back to writing. Will try to tweet in useful ways. pic.twitter.com/DCbu3Yvqt3
— Reinhold Niebuhr (@FormerBu) October 23, 2017
One of the most baffling internet mysteries of 2017 finally has a solution, bringing months of speculation to an end and at long last confirming that James Comey really does have a Twitter account. And before we get into just what that means going forward, let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember how it is, exactly, that we got here.
Back in March of this year, Comey was still in the top position at the FBI and had found himself in the hot seat for something that was completely unrelated to the Trump administration: he let slip in an interview that yes, he too was on both Twitter and Instagram. Former Gizmodo writer Ashley Feinberg was the first to come forth with a guess at what his handle might be; she documented both her conclusion as well as her process in a comprehensive write-up soon after, but there was one name that was highlighted in flashing lights for all who read it: Reinhold Niebuhr.
If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re not alone. The long and short of it? Niebuhr was a famed 20th century theologian and intellectual, and it just so happens that he was also the subject (alongside televangelist Jerry Falwell) of Comey’s senior thesis at William & Mary. Immediately following the publication of Feinberg’s article, the presumed alias became the subject of dozens of fake social media accounts — and in the wake of Comey’s May firing by President Donald Trump, that number ratcheted up even higher. At that point, Benjamin Wittes — the editor in chief of the Lawfare blog and self-described “friend” to Comey — stepped in.
In a revealing article published on May 18 — which, for the record, was the second time that Wittes had tackled the subject of Comey’s integrity on the blog — Wittes pointed to Comey being a decent guy with an eye only for the truth and confirmed that Comey had told him about two uncomfortable incidents on behalf of the president to curry favor from the then-FBI director. Aside from the news that was topping the headlines at that point in time, buried midway through the text is an explicit note about the hunt for Comey’s Twitter account: “Particularly since Gizmodo used me as forensic evidence in its weird effort to out a supposed Comey Twitter account, people have developed this idea that Comey and I are especially close. Some people have even started following me on Twitter because they think I’m channeling Comey or am some secret line into his thinking. The truth is rather more pedestrian: We’re friends.”
It came as a huge surprise then that on Oct. 23, Wittes shared this gem with the Twitterverse:
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) October 23, 2017
That’s right: with one single photo of an insanely tall man on an open road, we now have official confirmation that @FormerBu is in fact the handle of one James Comey. And, now, the speculation begins.
The first reaction, as is always the case when anyone is depicted in running shoes in a Midwestern town, was “he’s running.” What else would a former bureaucrat be doing in Iowa? What he could possibly be running for, of course, is unclear — but a quick look back at previous tweets suggests that it may not be an impossibility. “Little Round Top, Gettysburg. Good place to think about leadership and values,” Comey wrote on Oct. 19, with a subsequent post on Oct. 22 reading, “Watching migrating white pelicans in Iowa thinking about Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer.” Oh, did we mention that the handle is paired with the name Reinhold Niebuhr? Because of course it is.
The Oct. 23 tweet, however, reads “Goodbye Iowa. On the road home. Gotta get back to writing. Will try to tweet in useful ways.” And while we have no idea what’s next for Comey, who has spent the past few months underground with little-to-no public visibility, we couldn’t possibly be more grateful for his return and can’t wait to see what his “useful” tweets will contain. We’d also be willing to be that President Trump will be keeping a very close eye on @FormerBu, too.