Remarks FBI Director James Comey

Comey5191FBI Director James B. Comey addressed the Institute on Tuesday May 19 after the first portion of the discussion of the Model Penal Code:  Sexual Assault and Related Offenses.  Director Comey was introduced by Judge William Webster, Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and former Director of the FBI.  In his introduction, Judge Webster mentioned some of the most urgent current challenges, including terrorism and cybercrime, facing the FBI at this time and described Director Comey as the ideal person to address these issues.
Director Comey shared his thoughts on how the role of Director has changed since Judge Webster held the position.  Specifically, he discussed how the relationships between people, and between people and their government, have changed over time.  The internet, he noted, is where people now  play, bank, socialize, and shop, among other things.  Thus, because the internet is where people live, it is also a locus of crime and a major focus of FBI attention.  Just as the FBI was born out of the major 20th century vector change – the introduction of the automobile, the FBI is now facing another, more significant vector change – the internet age.
He then outlined a 5-part strategy for response:  (1) focusing resources where they can make the greatest difference and determining who, within the FBI, is in the best position to respond; (2)  “shrinking the world” by developing relationships and deploying resources strategically across the world; (3) imposing meaningful consequences for cybercrime; (4) recognizing the importance of, and providing training in, sophisticated digital literacy; and (5) perhaps most important, partnering effectively with the private sector, including sharing information and providing appropriate “rules of the road.”
He closed by emphasizing the importance of oversight and constraint in government, encouraging those who were present to be skeptical about those in power and to ask hard questions, but to stop short of being cynical in this post-Snowden time.