tv FBI Director James Comey Addresses Anti- Defamation League Conference CSPAN May 9, 2017 2:40am-3:06am EDT
we are partners in the fight against hate crimes and efforts to combat extremism and terrorism and the mission of protecting civil rights. director comey is a native and graduate at the college of of tf william and mary and university of chicago law school. he served as the united states attorney for the southern district of new york and in 2003, the director was appointed the deputy attorney general at the department of justice. he was sworn in as the seventh director of the federal bureau of investigation. under the director's leadership, every new agent and analyst must attend a new day of training created by the anti-defamation league and the united states memorial museum before they graduate. this program called law
enforcement and society examines the history of the holocaust and the role of law enforcement and democracy. before i welcomed the director to the podium, i want to thank him personally and on behalf of for what he did just two months ago after and at the height of the more than 160 bomb threats against jewish institutions. director comey convened the meeting they have such half a dozen leaders. they wanted to express support and compassion and to assure us that the fbi would expend whatever resources needed to close the case and true to his word, that is what he did. we think that euro publicly then and wish to thank the director personally again today.
sing praises for the inclusivity and highlighted the way you fight for a quality and justice. to educate law enforcement and build bonds of trust is important to communities all over the country. i labeled a speech three years ago a love letter to the adl and three years later i can say from the perspective of the fbi, we are still in love with you. [applause] >> and i want to spend some time today explaining why we still love you but first let me express regret. we have been spending way too much time together lately. i think we would all be happier if we had meetings that were fewer and far between. if we had no need to investigate
hate crimes, no need to share information about pending terrorist threats or educate kids or community leaders are cops about bigotry and prejudi prejudice. life would be better but it's been challenging in recent months. we've confronted those in jewish community centers and schools and vandalism of the jewish cemeteries, the racially motivated and we talk about swastikas painted on the synagogues and subway signs and a transgender woman attacked in her own home and sent to an african-american attorney. in your line of work and in ours, we see a lot of people filled with hate. some of those people sit quietly simmering and stewing in their own bitterness and shout about it anyone that will listen. and we are hopeful that media will attract thieves and while
we can try to eliminate and educate those people. some will always be trapped in that starless big night writtent years ago. we have to ask ourselves are people emboldened by the divisive rhetoric and are there simply more opportunities to instill fear and intimidation today than ever before. to the ways in which we communicate often anonymously and from a great distance offer licenses to those who want to hate and discriminate and poison. some of you read recently i'm on twitter. i am just there to listen and to read especially what's been said about the fbi and its mission. sometimes it is a wonderful place and sometimes it is a depressing place and sometimes it feels like i am a all of a sudden in every dive bar in
america where i can see everybody screaming at the television set, but it is free speech. you don't have to like it or agree with it but we will protect it. [applause] we can believe and say what we want no matter how distasteful that is a vital right in the country of ours but it's worrisome to everyone in this room, those are the ones that stop talking about two day hate and what they hate so much and start acting on it. you know all too well that in a heartbeat words can turn into violence because it doesn't remain static too often and in opinion and they prejudice sometimes festers and can grow to something far more dangerous
sometimes too often it becomes a hate crime so we have to do everything in our power to stop those people that move from stooping to acting. wherever they are and whoever they are no matter whether they occupy positions of authority or private citizens of course we have to do everything we can to educate and talk about diversity and strength from the differences but we also have to do everything we can to bring those that act on a trip to justice. it's the sense of belonging the loss of trust, dignity and too often loss of life. hate crime hurts more than just the victim harms the community because the attack on one of the speakers if we are and what we believe or what we look like is an attack on all of us and we
must accept responsibility to speak up and stop this because if we don't it will come for all of us. i want to talk about and remind you of the ways in which they help the fbi and law-enforcement educate ourselves. i believe the holocaust is the most attend events in history and i mean significant in two different ways. it is significant because it was the most horrific display imaginable one dot device words and challenges meaning. how could such a thing happen. how is that consistent in any way with the concept of a loving god. when so many lives were snuffed out in such a way. i ask the same questions standing at ground zero in early 2002 and i ask the same questions studying slavery in
america and i asked many times as i have confronted a. of the answer for me is i don't know. we don't know but it's our obligation to make sure some good comes from unimaginable. but we must do that left behind regardless of race, religion, ideology is our obligation to refuse to let darkness when. this is our obligation not to let old field. there are so many ways to fight the darkness that this room is full of them. the room is full of people who devoted their lives to making sure it doesn't hold the field and i also believe most
significant events in history for a second reason which is because it was a display of inhumanity that defies words, it was the most horrific display of community imaginable and the capacity for evil and morally certain other and that significant a demonstration of humanity is the reason we require your every fbi agent and analyst in training to come to the holocaust museum because we want them to learn about the power on a breathtaking scale. but we want them to come from something more painful and frightening. we wanted to see what we are capable of. we want them to see that the slaughter of the holocaust was led by sick and evil people and those leaders were joined by and followed by people who love
their families and tucks into te neighbors to church and gave to charity, good people. i said something like this not long ago and spoke about individual countries that created an enormous distraction because although what i said was true, my point was about human beings, not the individual countries. good people help her millions and that is the most frightening lesson of all. our very humanity is capable of exhibits self that we have to do this. it's the right thing to do and that frightens all of us. that's why we send our agents and analysts to the holocaust museum so they can stare at us and realize our capacity for the rationalization and moral surrender. we want them to walk out of the museum treasuring the constraint in the oversight of the divided and. the restriction of the rule of law and the binding of the free
and vibrant press. it's also the reason we require they also study the interactions of martin luther king and it's part of tha the curriculum to vt the king memorial. i'm the director of the fbi as you heard him sit at the same desk i think all of the prior directors have used. and on the right corner of the desk under the class, i see a single sheet of paper that is the memo from 1963 from director hoover. ..
i have no doubt that both of those men believed they were doing the right thing. for certain that their cause was just in certain that their backs were right. in the absence of constraint in oversight there was no one to tell them otherwise. i keep a paper in that spot to remind me of what we at the fbi are responsible for and what we as humans are capable of. power must be overseen and constrained including, my power and that of the fbi. [applause] those sessions, the museum and
the king curriculum at the very beginning of her training program for allison agent and the reason we start their education there is believe it is foundational. it tells us who we are and what we are learning the law of how to shoot, best inappropriate ways are in. and hard but it is much harder and more important in our view to understand and internalize the long-term ramifications of prejudice and bigotry. what the value of oversight. it's much harder to fight against conscience bias in the sting of subtle racism. these are more than just lessons to be learned. we believe they are living will have to be ingrained in everything that we do. they must become part of who we are. we have to build a deep understanding, we must know it, we must nurture it now so that it can save us later.
thank you for helping us be better at educating ourselves for now, i want to thank you for your work in community outreach. we work hard in the fbi, not only to educate ourselves, again with your help, but to build bridges with your help please we serve and protect. we are listening to people's concerns all over the country and we are trying to let them know that we can help. a trust in solidarity so they know in hard times they can call us and count on us to affect them. we want them to know that when we can prevent the crime are agents and alan analysis will move heaven and earth to find those responsible and bring them to justice. our victim specialist who are the angels of the fbi will do everything they can to help heal those who are suffering, their families and their communities. they will explain what the agent need to do, why they are doing the things they are doing, they will host town hall for frightened citizens. they will clean up crime scenes. if you have never seen the painstaking work that goes into restoring the items, the
clothing, furniture, the root of loved ones so they don't stain of that crime, it's an extraordinary thing. they will plan funerals, they'll find counseling, they will wipe away tears, i call them the angels of the fbi they carries this tremendous weight that they lift from the victims on himself they do it for people who are living their own worst nightmare they are not law enforcement. they are part of the community. we are in this together. we understand that some of the community that we work and don't fully trust law enforcement, they may not believe that we in law enforcement have their best interest at heart and that of the people but that we in law enforcement to confront. it's something we need to understand the down and work to change. everybody in this room knows that officers and deputies and even signed up for this work
because they want to do good for other people. they want to help other people, no matter what they look like, no matter what they believe, no matter what they love. they signed up to help all the people all the time. we have to do a better job of not just explaining that entities we serve and protect. we need to do a better job of understanding both the. especially those with the greatest need for police. we need to know the people who live there, the challenges they confront, the fears that they have, the hope that they have. as long as officers we especially need a full understanding of history and journey of black americans. the hopes, dreams, that is, the pain we need to know the history of law-enforcement interaction with black america because black people cannot forget it. need to know what's happening in all our communities, not what we think is happening, or even what the people were serving happy but what is really happening. for that, we need better information in the. i note data is supporting word,
people tend to tune out when you talk about data, but it is vital . only data, only information, gives us a full picture of what is happening. it's where people use to make hard decisions. we at the fbi are pressing for more data in this country for the last two years. were going to keep pressing for. data related to officer involved shootings, data related to altercations citizens, and attacks against law-enforcement officers and data related to the crime. we must do a better job of tracking and repeat cry. we need to fully understand what is happening our trinity and country so we can stop it. some different. [applause] some jurisdictions do not report a crime data. some say there were no hate crimes in their jurisdiction which would be awesome if it was true.
we must continue to impress upon our state and local counterparts how important that we track and report a crime data. if not something we can ignore even though it's painful or sweep under the rug, even though with people. lastly, we need to know and believe in good policing in this country. we need to live it. up close, respectful, firm, fair , lawful, transport law-enforcement is what has always worked best in every neighborhood in this country. for one example, african americans, like all americans, know that good policing like that is the path to prosperity and safety. we have to stand together. law enforcement, advocates like adl, trinity group of people from all worked of life, understand what we need and assist upon it. as part of that we have to work to understand and recognize
ourselves in each other. i sometimes think the reason we struggle as a nation is because come to see only what the other represents at the value instead of who that person really is, who are they really. i've long believed that it's hard to hate uploads. it is hard to hate someone when you know their story. if long time that we started learning each other's stories. i was in orlando last june in the wake of the pulse nightclub. i wanted to go down there to meet privately with first responders, without any media, just to thank them for what they had done. we met in a big church. i spoke briefly to express the fbi's gratitude and said i'd love to take questions. a hand went up in a man in uniform stood up and he said, my name is. [inaudible]
and i'm jewish which confused me but he went on. i'm jewish and i was there that night, i iran towards the sound of gunfire and next to me was a muslim officer. he said i quoting him, we were jew and muslim and christian and white and black and asian, we were rushing toward danger to help people we did not know, tell people we did not know what they look like or believe. we didn't know anything about them except they were people who needed us. he said quietly, i wanted you to know that and then he finished by saying i think the american people should know that and then he sat down. then there were more questions. after we finished, i'm the muslim guy and that was a two-story. [laughter] i said to that officer and i said to. [inaudible] that i'm going to tell that story all over the country because i do know it and i think the american people need to know
that story. [applause] we can confront divisiveness and fear and ignorance and prejudice , we live in a world with a whole lot of closeness and a whole lot of lack of civility. as a society, we have to do better. police officers of different faiths from different backgrounds, running toward danger to strangers, that makes us better. muslim activists raised over a hundred thousand dollars to repair jewish don't penalize in st. louis and philadelphia. that makes us better climax on. good americans that can over the
slurs they were painted on a house. a debased sign on a spanish language church that local pastors covered with posters that said love wins alongside a sign that whoever you are and wherever you're from, you are welcome here. stories like those make us better. you make us better. for more than a hundred years we have advocated and fought for fairness and equality, for inclusion and acceptance, you never were indifferent or complacent. the word silence is not in your vocabulary. you have advocated for voting rights and on immigration issues . you fought against cyber bullying, you stood up for lgbt and gender equality, you have pushed and prodded for him crime legislation and you help us find terrorists all over this country and all over this world. for all of that we at the fbi are grateful. as an agency, for sure but also as americans. my thanks for this room full of people who have devoted their
lives to ensuring that evil does not hold the field. to jonathan greenblatt and michael lieberman and so many others who have chosen to do that with their life in behalf of the federal bureau of discussion, thank you for standing by us, for giving us the benefit of your experience, for making us better and for serving this country alongside us. i close my letter, three years later, love the fbi. [applause] [applause] anti-defamation league national leadership summit. up next, panel discussion on anti- buddhism and recent hate