July 29, 2013

Wyden Statement on Voting Present on the Nomination of James Comey to be FBI Director

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued the following statement regarding his decision to vote “present” on the confirmation of James Comey to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

“Today, I voted present on the nomination of James Comey to be the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The head of the FBI is responsible for approving and overseeing a large number of surveillance activities, and it is an unfortunate fact that the FBI’s surveillance authorities have been famously abused in previous decades. For this reason I have an obligation to assess Mr. Comey’s views on surveillance before voting to approve his nomination, as I would for any nominee for this position.

After reviewing the record of Mr. Comey’s confirmation hearing and meeting with him in person, his views on surveillance policy and law remain unclear to me. I sent Mr. Comey a letter asking for written responses to several important questions on surveillance, including whether he believes warrantless wire tapping is legal, and whether he would commit to explain how much evidence the FBI needs to track Americans using their cell phone location data. Mr. Comey could have answered most or all of these questions without disclosing any properly classified information, but the Justice Department informed me today that he will not be responding to any of them. I hope that Mr. Comey will turn out to be a wise and appropriate choice to head the FBI but without more information about his views on these important questions, I cannot vote to approve his nomination at this time.”

Click here to read Senator Wyden’s letter to Mr. Comey and the DOJ’s response.