Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey seemed to side with those concerned about the government’s expanding reach.
“I believe people should be suspicious of government power,” he asserted. “I am.”
Though he denied his agency has initiated any programs that put personal safety or security at risk, he noted that skepticism of those in power is an important quality in a free society.
“I think this country was founded by people who were worried about government power,” Comey continued, “so they divided it among three branches.”
As for the FBI, he explained that any policies meant to extract private information are used in the pursuit and neutralization of impending threats. He cited successful operations that have led to the apprehension of dangerous criminals as justification for his agency’s actions.
In an attempt to assuage fears regarding an invasion of privacy, he attested that the FBI behaves responsibly when tracking down criminals – including potential terrorists at work within the U.S.
Comey, whose entire service as FBI director has been under the cloud created by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, said recent accusations against federal investigative agencies have made his job more difficult. His agency has been the subject of criticism based on its pursuit of foreign terror suspects on American soil.
He alleged that it has become more difficult “to find the space and time to talk about what I do and why I do it.”
In the end, though, he said the safety of American citizens warrants the use of legal means to acquire vital intelligence.
His comments came just a day before the U.S. House is set to consider the USA Freedom Act, which would restrict some efforts by the government to obtain personal information.
Photo Credit: Facebook/James Comey
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom