BOSTON (AP) — FBI Director James Comey says he plans to serve his entire 10-year term, even as controversy swirls over his attempt to rebut President Donald Trump’s claim that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the election.
Comey said Wednesday during a cybersecurity conference at Boston College: “You’re stuck with me for another 6½ years.” He was appointed 3½ years ago by then-President Barack Obama.
After Trump recently claimed that Obama tapped his phones during last year’s election, Comey privately asked the Justice Department to dispute the allegation.
During his speech to law enforcement officials and private-sector business leaders, Comey said the FBI is renewing a focus on the challenges posed by encryption. He said there should be a balance between privacy and the FBI’s ability to lawfully access information.
Saying that cyber threats worldwide are too big to fight alone, Comey pushed for a partnership between the public and private sectors–and said that, when attacked, he wants private companies to come to them when there’s a breech and not go it alone.
“We will have an adult conversation at the beginning to explain, ‘Here’s what we will do with the information you share with us,’ so that you–as a general counsel, a chief security officer, a CEO–can make a judgement about the risks and benefits,” he said.
He said that partnership will come together to fight threats from what Comey calls “The actors.”
“I think of it as a stack of bad actors, kind of an evil layer cake,” Comey said. “At the top of that stack, from the FBI’s perspective, are nation-states. Think China, Russia, Iran, North Korea.”
Also in that “stack,” the director said, were international cyber syndicates, employees or contractors who might work from within, and activists and terrorists–who he says have not yet used the internet as a tool of destruction in a way that will certainly come in the future.
Comey said the FBI has “cyber threat teams” that can be deployed at a moment’s notice, and that they’re working to attract new talent in the hopes of finding new responses to old problems.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)