The head of the FBI says he liked what he saw in his visit to Springfield Thursday, seeing the office that serves the southern two-thirds of Illinois.
James Comey said he had been on the job for eleven months and one day, and has visited 35 field offices.
“Of all the things they’ve been doing that I like,” he said. “What I like is we can now hire to fill your vacancies, so you’ll have the troops you’ll need to get it done as well.”
Comey says the counter-terrorism unit has been unrelenting since 9/11. The U. S. has quashed al-Qaida – but it hasn’t. He says today’s terrorists can draw a direct line from the Soviet scare of the 1980s.
“I think of (the core of al-Qaida) as a tumor that we shrunk dramatically with a beam of radiation aimed right at it,” he said. But – “The tumor has metastasized and popped up in the lightly governed and ungoverned spaces in North Africa, in the Gulf, (and) throughout the Mediterranean region.”
What about all of the eavesdropping the government is doing on everybody? Comey says he doesn’t blame you for wondering. “I am somebody who is skeptical of government power,” he said. “The country was founded by people who were (skeptical), and so designed our government the way they did to divide power among three branches. People should ask questions about how the government is using its authorities – and I should answer them.”
Comey says people can be assured he and other law enforcers cannot get a warrant for such spying without making a case to a judge that a threat exists.