New FBI Director Visits New Orleans, Talks Terror and Privacy

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James Comey is about six months into his new job as FBI Director.  Thursday, he visited the bureau’s office in New Orleans and talked about terror, sex trafficking, and privacy in the city.

“The world comes here and travels here,” Comey told reporters.  He says, because it’s an international city, New Orleans has unique issues when it comes to searching for possible terror threats because there is a constant stream of people traveling here from around the world.

He says the FBI office here will also focus on tracking down high-level drug dealers and violent gangs as well as people who bring minors into the city as part of the sex trade.  Comey says sex trafficking is an issue in almost any city that hosts major events.

“Underage, exploited girls, being victimized by pimps and brought to events and offered for sale for services to people who would like to have sex with somebody underage.”

The federal government’s work to police and protect the country has also raised concerns over privacy issues.  Comey wants to assure people who the FBI obtains court orders before using high-tech spying equipment or techniques.  He says those tools need to always be an option for his agents.

“Because that’s how I find people who have kidnapped people.  That’s how I find people who are abusing children.  That’s how I find terrorists and spies.”

Comey said the FBI had to cut about 2,000 positions due to budget battles in congress but says the budget money has now been restored, so he plans to hire more people and purchase more crime-fighting tools.