WATCH |

Comey's Last Speech Before Trump Sacked Him: 'Power Must Be Overseen and Constrained'

In speech to ADL, FBI chief James Comey expounded on importance of Holocaust in world history and stressed the importance of treating hate speech seriously

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
FBI Director James Comey speaks to the Anti-Defamation League National Leadership Summit in Washington, Monday, May 8, 2017.
FBI Director James Comey speaks to the Anti-Defamation League National Leadership Summit in Washington, Monday, May 8, 2017. Credit: Susan Walsh/AP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

A day before he was fired abruptly by President Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey gave his last speech in office - at the annual conference of the Anti-Defamation League, which was held this week in Washington, D.C.

Comey's speech focused on the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and hate speech in 2017. Parts of Comey's speech, which deals with events of the past, now seem somewhat relevant in light of the news of his firing.

Comey talked in his remarks about the importance of treating hate speech, including the forms of it that are wide-spread on the interest, with urgency and seriousness. "You all know too well that in a heartbeat, hate speech can turn into violence," he said. He also stated that law enforcement agencies "must do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our country, so we can stop it."

One of the most important parts of the speech had to do with the FBI's requirement that its agents visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington in order to learn about the extermination of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Comey called the Holocaust "the most significant event in human history" and said that one of its main lessons what how normal people, who might even be thinking that they are doing good, can in fact carry out the most evil atrocities.

>> READ IN FULL: Trump's Letter to Comey Informing Him of His Termination as FBI Chief >>

Comey also discussed in his speech problematic chapters from his own agency's past, such as the FBI's surveillance of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. According to Comey, reading about that surveillance taught him how important and vital it was that "power be overseen and constrained." Comey said he keeps in his office documents relating to that investigation, "to remind me of what we in the FBI are responsible for and what we as humans are capable of."

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott