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