Tuesday, July 9, 2013

 

FBI nominee defends surveillance,denounces torture.

WASHINGTON, July 9 - U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), James Comey, on Tuesday faced the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, and he defended the collection of metadata, which allowed the government to secretly keep an eye on almost all activities online and phone call records through U.S. service providers.

Comey told the panel he was not familiar with the secret surveillance programs, because he had been working in the private sector for eight years and didn't have the necessary security clearances.

But Comey defended the programs by saying "I do know as a general matter that the collection of metadata and analysis of metadata is a valuable tool in counterterrorism.

" He noted "the FBI has to be both an intelligence agency and crime-fighting agency."

Comey said in collecting metadata, the FBI operates under a wide variety of constraints, and federal judges had oversight on the matter.

Two classified surveillance programs, one collecting U.S. phone records and the other mining internet data, were revealed last month after leaks from Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor.

During the hearing, Comey also denounced waterboarding as torture, saying "as person, a father and a leader, I thought that was torture and we shouldn't be doing that kind of thing."


Obama nominated Comey to replace outgoing FBI chief Robert Mueller last month. He was a deputy attorney general in former President George W. Bush's Justice Department.

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