As head of security, Comey reported to Dalio’s longtime deputy Greg Jensen, who seemed eager to prove that he took the protection of Bridgewater’s secrets as seriously as Dalio. With little evidence of actual offending behavior to snuff out, they created their own. Comey helped come up with a plan to leave a binder, clearly labeled as Jensen’s, unattended in the Bridgewater offices. It worked like a charm. Comey watched as a low-ranked Bridgewater employee stumbled upon the binder and began to peruse it. Jensen and Comey put the employee on trial, found him guilty, and fired him, with Dalio’s approval.
During and after Comey’s era at Bridgewater, tens of thousands of hours of the firm’s internal deliberations, arguments and trials were uploaded into what was called the “Transparency Library” and available for playback for all at the firm.
Lordy, there was plenty to watch.
No doubt Comey’s most infamous internal case was his prosecution of Bridgewater co-chief executive officer, Eileen Murray, who stood out like a pimple in Bridgewater’s blue-blooded executive suite. She’d grown up in a housing project in Queens, rarely wore skirts, never married, never had children, and talked frequently about her dogs. A former Morgan Stanley executive, she sent emails off the cuff, all lowercase, with typos, suggesting she was too busy to give anything her full attention.
The proximate cause of Murray’s lesson in the application of The Principles was innocuous enough. A job candidate mentioned to a Bridgewater executive that he was familiar with the hedge fund’s head of accounting, Perry Poulos, one of Murray’s hires. The job candidate evinced surprise—didn’t they know Poulos had been fired from Morgan Stanley?
Comey grabbed a former FBI agent on the Bridgewater staff and went to intercept the unsuspecting Poulos. The duo pulled him into a conference room without warning.
“Hi, guys,” Poulos said.
“We just want to know, is there anything in your background we should know about?” Comey responded.
“I had some things there, but it’s all cleared up now.”
“You wouldn’t mind if we ask a few questions and look a little more?”
There’s really nothing to find, Poulos said.
Go ahead. He exited the room, heart racing, and soon found Murray. She knew, as he did, that he had been let go from Morgan Stanley after questions were raised about his expenses. But Murray sensed a larger target at play. “It’s not you,” she told Poulos. “It’s me. They are trying to get to me.”
Comey called in Poulos for another interview.
“Did you talk to anyone about this?” Comey asked.
“Are you sure?”
“No, I haven’t talked to anyone.”
“You live with Eileen, don’t you?”
Knowing Bridgewater’s reputation for intimate relationships, Poulos assumed Comey was sniffing for a romantic angle. During the week, Poulos said, he sometimes spent the evening at Murray’s place, in separate bedrooms.
“Even that evening, after we spoke, you didn’t talk to her?” Comey asked.
“I don’t remember saying anything in particular.”