James Comey Still Trying To Blame Increase In Violent Crime On 'Viral Videos'

from the pitching-woe dept

FBI Director James Comey says we’re “going dark” as more platforms move towards encryption. Nobody’s buying it. Not Congress. Not NSA officials. Definitely not those who have actually researched the subject.

He also says people with cameras are causing spikes in crime rates by making police officers so self-conscious they can’t do their job. Comey blamed citizens with cameras for escalating crime rates last October. He was immediately contradicted by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Having learned nothing from the experience, Comey has dusted off his 2015 talking points for redeployment in 2016.

FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday he believes a “viral video effect” causes weak police work and could be “at the heart” of a spike in violent crime in some American cities.

“There’s a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime—the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’” he told reporters at FBI headquarters.

This is a guy with access to some of the best intelligence and advice your tax dollars can buy. And yet he’d rather tuck his thumbs into his suspenders, lean towards reporters and aw-shucks at them with his “I may just be a simple director of the most powerful law enforcement agency in the United States, but…” pitches.

He sounds like a small town local running for sheriff, rather than a top government official with his finger on the pulse of criminal activity and law enforcement technology.

Comey spoke to reporters after being briefed on crime statistics from 40 major cities, most of which saw an increase in murders, he said.

“I was very worried about it last fall and I am in many ways more worried,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters. “The numbers are not only going up, they’re continuing to go up faster than they were going up last year. And I worry very much it’s a problem that most of America can drive around. … I don’t know what the answer is, but, holy cow, do we have a problem.”

That’s classic Comey: You’ve got problems? I don’t have answers.

Encryption got you down? I’m sure the “smart people” in tech can deliver unicorns on command. No, I’m sorry. I don’t have any technical details but, you know, those guys at Apple and Google are so damn smart. They’ll think of something.

Crime rates spiking in major cities? “Holy cow, do we have a problem?” Any ideas, Mr. Top of the Law Enforcement Food Chain? “I don’t know what the answer is.”

OK. Well… um… keep on earning that paycheck… I guess.

Not for nothing has James Comey earned a petition calling for his removal. Comey claims criminals are somehow exploiting a “tech gap” the FBI can’t seem to close, despite its hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t know how many criminals are staying one step ahead of the FBI in a tech arms race anyone can participate in. (The fact that the FBI can buy/obtain/hoard exploits and malware, along with other high-tech tools the general public can’t purchase, somehow always gets lost in law enforcement’s portrayal of this so-called “race.”) But it can certainly be said criminals are one step ahead of the FBI’s top man, who often seems genuinely baffled by the issues confronting his agency.

It may be that Comey is playing dumb because he believes it’s the best way to advance his agency’s agenda. But he’s been doing this for more than a year and there’s been no forward movement. If anything, the FBI is less likely to receive Congressional assistance than it was before Comey began running his mouth on these two subjects.

Not only has he lost the support of Congress, but he’s not winning any powerful friends within the law enforcement community.

“He ought to stick to what he knows,” James O. Pasco Jr., executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, told the New York Times. “He’s basically saying that police officers are afraid to do their jobs with absolutely no proof.”

Unfortunately, this — and “going dark” — appears to be all Comey knows.

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Comments on “James Comey Still Trying To Blame Increase In Violent Crime On 'Viral Videos'”

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Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You could well be right about that. The FBI collects crime statistics, but their only source of those are the annual and monthly reports by police departments.

If police departments are reporting an increase in officers being charged with crimes and citing video evidence as to why they had to charge them, that WOULD tend to look like video is causing officer crimes from a purely statistics view.

After all, to a bureaucrat, problems don’t exist until someone officially takes notice of them, and then the problem was created by the official notice. This is why people with a bureaucratic mentality tend to attack whistleblowers, people who find serious bugs in products, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Comey is a last bit of left over legacy of the Bush administration. An administration that differs from the present on merely by degree. He basically supports fascism when it comes to government rights and abilities and is out of touch with what the American people want. There are already being passed around petitions to get him out of office, calling for his resignation. While those petitions have no power to enforce his resignation it is the first step in getting it done.

Were cops not doing policing for profit and actually doing their jobs by their motto of Protect and Serve, none of this filming would be happening. Now everyone has a camera with a cell phone pretty much. Citizens are filming cops for self protection as their word is not equal to a cops in court. The videos are the only way to raise any sort of doubt as to what happened when their own cameras mysteriously malfunction at critical times.

As the government loves to argue in court about expectations of privacy, cops have no expectations of privacy in public. Either deal with the bad apples on the forces or be caught red handed.

ECA (profile) says:

So, what can cause people to comment severe crimes?

I dont know…

2. TRYING to get money because you dont have any to pay the rent..
3. We have better pollution protection in the USA,(that isnt working) then other nations, the cost of materials in other nations is CHEAPER, we ship WOOD to china to be processed into PULP, to be made into FAKE wood, then SHIPPED back, and we think its CHEAPER??
4. we debate renewable resources and then we dont USA them?? Hemp and bamboo are great materials and have TONS of uses..and we STILL import more then we raise??
5. WE WOULD RATHER ship jobs to other nations, then create them HERE, because we dont know any other way to get rid of the pollution’s from processing..
6. we SHIP GARBAGE to other countries..who take the time to process it, and make NEW and send it back..
7. A law that says a Corp is not responsible to the citizens, only to its STOCK HOLDERS for making money. not improving the nation, not improving society…

That One Guy (profile) says:

Funny that...

Police and government agencies push for more cameras and more intrusive surveillance on everyone that isn’t them and one of the excuses used is that it’s to catch bad people and/or act as a deterrent to prevent crime, and innocent people have absolutely nothing to worry about because ‘If you’re not doing something wrong you have nothing to fear.’

Suggest that cameras watch them on the other hand and now suddenly it’s keeping police from performing their jobs comprised of perfectly legal and not at all suspect actions, is a violation of privacy and just so much of a hassle and so on.

‘One law for me and another for thee’ as the saying goes, the public is supposed to be perfectly fine with having cameras watching them at any and all times, with only the guilty having reason to worry yet when police object to being recorded their privacy is suddenly of utmost importance and cameras make even the ‘innocent’ afraid to do their jobs?

If you’re going to defend mass surveillance by claiming that only the guilty have something to hide you don’t get to turn around and say that the innocent can’t do their jobs when they’re being recorded. That’s either a glaring bit of hypocrisy, an admission that those you are defending are perhaps not quite as innocent as you would have others believe, or both.

Whatever says:

Of course it’s the fault of the public. If the police know there’s going to be a bunch of entitled idiots brandishing their smart phones shouting them down constantly they can’t do their job, and then when they have to end up shooting these ignorant assholes who insist on getting in the way, they get blamed for it too. I keep pointing out these obvious truths but it’s clear that Techdirt hates authority, and keeps on churning out these hit pieces for clicks and stirring up the typical anti-cop sentiments among the pirate fanbase.

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