Technology has forever changed the world we live in. We're online, in one way or another, all day long. Our phones and computers have become reflections of our personalities, our interests, and our identities. They hold much that is important to us.
The people of the FBI are sworn to protect both security and liberty. It isn't a question of conflict. We must care deeply about protecting liberty through due process of law, while also safeguarding the citizens we serve - in every investigation.
If you've ever talked to a special agent that you know well, and you ask he or she about a dangerous encounter they were involved in, they'll almost always give you the same answer: 'Yeah, I did it, but I was scared to heck the whole time.'
Hate crimes are different from other crimes. They strike at the heart of one's identity - they strike at our sense of self, our sense of belonging. The end result is loss - loss of trust, loss of dignity, and in the worst case, loss of life.
Public corruption is the FBI's top criminal priority. The threat - which involves the corruption of local, state, and federally elected, appointed, or contracted officials - strikes at the heart of government, eroding public confidence and undermining the strength of our democracy.
As all of our lives become digital, the logic of encryption is all of our lives will be covered by strong encryption, and therefore all of our lives - including the lives of criminals and terrorists and spies - will be in a place that is utterly unavailable to court-ordered process. And that, I think, to a democracy should be very, very concerning.
The fact of the matter is that the United States faces real threats from criminals, terrorists, spies, and malicious cyber actors.
We face cyber threats from state-sponsored hackers, hackers for hire, global cyber syndicates, and terrorists. They seek our state secrets, our trade secrets, our technology, and our ideas - things of incredible value to all of us. They seek to strike our critical infrastructure and to harm our economy.
There are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese, and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese.
When I worked as a prosecutor in Richmond, Virginia in the 1990s, that city, like so much of America, was experiencing horrific levels of violent crime. But to describe it that way obscures an important truth: for the most part, white people weren't dying; black people were dying. Most white people could drive around the problem.
I believe that Americans should be deeply skeptical of government power. You cannot trust people in power. The founders knew that. That's why they divided power among three branches, to set interest against interest.
Those of us in law enforcement must redouble our efforts to resist bias and prejudice. We must better understand the people we serve and protect - by trying to know, deep in our gut, what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking on the street and encountering law enforcement. We must understand how that young man may see us.
As Director of the FBI, I am sworn to ensure that my special agents have what they need to protect themselves and the citizens of this country, and that they are trained to properly use and properly deploy that equipment in the right times and places.
ISIL's widespread reach through the Internet and social media is most concerning, as the group has proven dangerously competent at employing such tools for its nefarious strategy. ISIL uses high-quality, traditional media platforms as well as widespread social media campaigns to propagate its extremist ideology.
There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese.
We have built as a government something called the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, NCIJTF, where 19 federal agencies sit together and divide up the work. See the threat, see the challenge, divide it up and share information.
In today's YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns?
With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked.
Cybercrime is becoming everything in crime. Again, because people have connected their entire lives to the Internet, that's where those who want to steal money or hurt kids or defraud go. So it's an epidemic for reasons that make sense.
Unfortunately, in places like Ferguson, in New York City and in some communities across this nation, there is a disconnect between police agencies and the citizens they serve, predominately in communities of color.
As so often happened during the dot-com bubble days, the revenues that AOL and PurchasePro were counting on did not materialize. And instead of confronting that harsh reality, AOL and PurchasePro cooked up a scheme to inflate PurchasePro's revenues.
When someone sends you an email, they are knocking on your door. And when you open the attachment, without looking through the peephole to see who it is, you just opened the door and let a stranger into your life, where everything you care about is.
The promise I've tried to honor my entire career, that the rule of law and the design of the founders, right, the oversight of courts and the oversight of Congress will be at the heart of what the FBI does.
Lives are saved when those potential killers are confronted by a police officer, a strong police presence and actual, honest-to-goodness, up-close 'What are you guys doing on this corner at 1 o'clock in the morning' policing. We need to be careful it doesn't drift away from us in the age of viral videos, or there will be profound consequences.
Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
Encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place.
The need for reflection and restraint of power is what led Louis Freeh to order that all new agent classes visit the Holocaust Museum here in Washington so they could see and feel and hear in a palpable way the consequences of abuse of power on a massive, almost unimaginable scale.
Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person's actions and how similar situations have been handled in the past.
I think that citizens should be skeptical of government power. But I fear it's bled over to cynicism. It is something that is getting in the way of reasoned discussion, and I'm very concerned about how to change that trend of cynicism.
I come from a law enforcement family. My grandfather, William J. Comey, was a police officer. Pop Comey is one of my heroes. I have a picture of him on my wall in my office at the FBI, reminding me of the legacy I've inherited and that I must honor.
The FBI has built up substantial expertise to address cyber threats, both in the homeland and overseas. Here at home, the FBI serves as the executive agent for the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF), which joins together 19 intelligence, law enforcement, and military agencies to coordinate cyber threat investigations.
The FBI continues to work with tribes through the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 to help tribal governments better address the unique public safety challenges and disproportionately high rates of violence and victimization in many tribal communities.
Hate crimes impact not just individuals but entire communities. When a family is attacked because of the color of their skin, it's not just the family that feels violated, but every resident of that neighborhood.
An element of virtually every national security threat and crime problem the FBI faces is cyber-based or facilitated. We face sophisticated cyber threats from state-sponsored hackers, hackers for hire, organized cyber syndicates, and terrorists.
Folks are wandering around that proverbial parking lot of the Internet all day long, without giving it a thought to whose attachments they're opening, what sites they're visiting. And that makes it easy for the bad guys.
FBI Miami is one of the top five offices. Not only are they responsible for all the work that goes on here in South Florida, but they are one of my international offices, so they cover kidnappings or counterintelligence matters or counterterrorism matters in the whole hemisphere.
Privacy is tremendously important. I believe the American people, and all people, should be skeptical of government power, should ask hard questions: What is the authority? What is the oversight? That's the way it ought to be.
The private sector is the key player in cyber security. Private sector companies are the primary victims of cyber intrusions. And they also possess the information, the expertise, and the knowledge to address cyber intrusions and cyber crime in general.
Only a crazy person wouldn't fear approaching a car with tinted windows during a late-night car stop, or pounding up a flight of stairs to execute a search warrant, or fast-roping from a helicopter down into hostile fire. Real agents, like real people, feel that fear in the pit of their stomachs.
We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.
We in the FBI have created a malware repository and analysis tool known as the Binary Analysis Characterization and Storage System, or BACSS, which provides near real-time investigative information. BACSS helps us link malware in different jurisdictions and paint a picture of cyber threats worldwide.
We all, white and black, carry various biases around with us.
Stuff doesn't matter - boats, cars, fancy things don't matter. What matters, what will matter to me, is the love of the people around me, and did I take a chance? Did I seize an opportunity to do something for people with the talents that I was lucky enough to be given? Did I make a difference in the lives of people who needed me?
We've investigated Chattanooga as a terror attack from the beginning.
We face two overlapping challenges. The first concerns real-time court-ordered interception of what we call 'data in motion,' such as phone calls, e-mail, and live chat sessions. The second challenge concerns court-ordered access to data stored on our devices, such as e-mail, text messages, photos, and videos - or what we call 'data at rest.'
As technology advances, so too does terrorists' use of technology to communicate - both to inspire and recruit. The widespread use of technology propagates the persistent terrorist message to attack U.S. interests, whether in the homeland or abroad.
One of the hardest things I do as FBI Director is call the chiefs and sheriffs in departments around the nation when officers have been killed in the line of duty. I call to express my sorrow and offer the FBI's help.
For me, law school was a time of joy and hope. Joy in learning my way around the law - learning how to orbit a problem and to ask myself hard questions and to be asked hard questions. Hope that I could be of some use, to be part of the greater good - to make the world a little bit better.
Just as our adversaries and threats continue to evolve, so, too, must the FBI. The key to this evolution lies with our greatest assets: our people and our partnerships. Every FBI professional understands that thwarting the threats facing our nation means constantly striving to be more effective and more efficient.
The FBI is engaged in a myriad of efforts to combat cyber threats, from efforts focused on threat identification and sharing inside and outside of government, to our internal emphasis on developing and retaining new talent and changing the way we operate to evolve with the cyber threat.
The Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable. But if you were crossing a mall parking lot late at night, your entire sense of danger would be heightened. You would stand straight. You'd walk quickly. You'd know where you were going. You would look for light.
Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain. As new servers and equipment were employed, older servers were taken out of service, stored, and decommissioned in various ways.
I was a high school senior and home alone one night with my younger brother. And a guy - gunman - kicked in our front door at our home in New Jersey and held the two of us captive. We escaped. He caught us again. We escaped again. So, a pretty horrific experience.
The benefits of our increasingly digital lives have been accompanied by new dangers, and we have been forced to consider how criminals and terrorists might use advances in technology to their advantage.
Cisco projects that in 2020, now just five years away, there will be seven billion people on the earth and 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. Six-and-a-half devices on average per person. As a father of five young adults and teenagers, I think we are - in my household, we've exceeded the 6.5 number.
Social media has allowed groups, such as ISIL, to use the Internet to spot and assess potential recruits. With the widespread horizontal distribution of social media, terrorists can identify vulnerable individuals of all ages in the United States - spot, assess, recruit, and radicalize - either to travel or to conduct a homeland attack.
I was born into an Irish Catholic family in the New York area in this great, wonderful, and safe country, but the Holocaust has always haunted me, and it has long stood as a stumbling block to faith. How could such a thing be? How is that consistent with the concept of a loving God?
In 1983, my second year of law school, I became the only white player in the Ogden Park Basketball League at 65th and Racine. My teammates joked that I integrated the league, which I guess is true. They weren't so much focused on integration as on winning, and they knew you can't teach height. 'He can't jump, but he sure is tall.'
Law enforcement's biased view of the Irish lives on in the nickname we still use for the vehicles we use to transport groups of prisoners. It is, after all, the 'paddy wagon.' The Irish had tough times, but little compares to the experience on our soil of black Americans.
Each FBI employee understands that to defeat the key threats facing our nation, we must constantly strive to be more efficient and more effective. Just as our adversaries continue to evolve, so, too, must the FBI.
Some believe that the FBI has these phenomenal capabilities to access any information at any time - that we can get what we want, when we want it, by flipping some sort of switch. It may be true in the movies or on TV. It is simply not the case in real life.