The Comey / Corney Sharade

On Dec 9, the DOJ website published the report from OIG Horowitz, in the form of a PDF file.  On Dec 11, the report has been updated. Former FBI Director James Comey is mentioned more than 164 times in this document. In all but one case, where one sees the name Comey appears, the actual text spells “Corney”. The actual text is what one searches when using the “Find” function in the PDF document, or receives when doing Copy-Paste.  A search for “Corney” returns 163 results while a search for “Comey” returns 0 results. This consistent and intentional misspelling of Comey’s name exists in many files posted on government websites, since at least 2018. There is one misspelling ‘Camey’.

The case is closed, for now.

Direct effects of this misspelling of Comey’s name:

  • different people see different versions of the document; that causes confusion and accusation of conspiracy theory
  • the documents cannot be found and produced in legal discovery and/or responses to FOIA requests
  • the documents cannot be found in a Google search for Comey
  • the incorrect spelling is frequently copied and pasted into other documents


Samples (Draft)

The dates below represent the creation of the document, not when it was uploaded to the website.

Sep 2016: (Corney) – linked to from; posted in response to 2016-10-12 request; likely first uploaded on 2016-11-22.

Sep 2016: (Sen E. Warren to Comey). Unclear when first uploaded.


July 2017: Rep. Senators’ letter to Sessions & Rosenstein, starts at 20190701-0018540 (mixed Corney/Comey)

May 2017: A copy NYT article from 2017-04-22, starts 20190701-0021570. The original on is correct!

More … (mixed Corney/Comey)

August 2017:

Feb 2018:

June 2018: (mixed Corney/Comey) (mixed) (Corney; one exception in image). House Report on Russian Active Measures, 2018. – appears the same as the previous one , RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016 U.S. ELECTIONS, SSCI. Dated June 2017. (Corney). Dated Sep 2017 (Corney). Dated Sep 2017 (mixed). Was likely uploaded in 2017., (Corney). Dated by 2014, the IRS targeting scandal discussions. Uploading date(s) are unknown. (mixed). Dated by Feb 2016, mentions screening Syrian refugees. Uploading date(s) are unknown.

These files were found by Google search for “FBI Firector” “Corney” .pdf


Derivative examples

The incorrect spelling is frequently copied and pasted into other documents. Examples


Apparently Unrelated (mixed; emphasis added)

Speaking at the International Conference on Cyber Security James Comey said hackers had mistakenly sent messages that could be traced to IP addresses used exclusively by North Korea. Corney said the North Korean origins of the cyber attack were evident despite the use of proxy servers in other countries to throw investigators off their trail. (‘Corney’ is used in one place, almost certainly manual misspelling)

First published on 2019-12-10. Updated on 2019-12-11 with additional samples from .gov. The cause of the misspelling is believed to be an OCR mistake, as pointed by Jaap Titulaer.  The vendor of the documentation software should open a bug. Updated on 2020-05-17: deleted the deleted text.