DOJ Tells Senator Wyden That Incoming FBI Director James Comey Has No Intention Of Answering His Questions
from the probably-not-the-best-idea dept
On Monday, the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed James Comey to be the new FBI director, despite significant concerns raised about his views on civil liberties and surveillance. Senator Rand Paul had blocked the vote for a while, claiming he wanted answers concerning whether or not Comey believed the FBI could use drones without a warrant. The FBI finally responded to Paul saying that it believed that it had the authority to use drones without a warrant, prompting Paul to stop the block (which would have been overridden shortly anyway), and then he was the lone “no” vote against Comey, who was approved 93-1. However, at least the DOJ was willing to answer Senator Paul’s questions.
Senator Ron Wyden also expressed concerns about Comey’s views on surveillance, and had sent a letter asking a variety of questions about Comey’s views on the subject, “including whether he believes warrantless wire tapping is legal, and whether he would commit to explain how much evidence the FBI needs to track Americans using their cell phone location data.” In response, the DOJ basically told Wyden to get lost:
Mr. Comey could have answered most or all of these questions without disclosing any properly classified information, but the Justice Department informed me today that he will not be responding to any of them.
Remember, Wyden serves on the Intelligence Committee, which is in charge of oversight of the intelligence community. One would think that flat out refusing to answer his questions is not the best way to respond to a member of the committee in charge of your oversight. In the end, Wyden voted “present” rather than “no,” but stated that he could not vote in favor of Comey.