New FBI Director to Require New Agents Visit MLK Memorial

James Comey discusses importance of keeping the FBI restrained by the rule of law.
3:00 | 10/28/13

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Transcript for New FBI Director to Require New Agents Visit MLK Memorial
This is a special room. Dance company or -- this ABC news digital special report there is a new sheriff in town. Is James -- -- first day on his new job as director of the FBI. President Obama is set to speak -- -- installation ceremony in just few moments but first this changing at a top security post. Comes the same time as the NSA spying scandal is widening its new revelations show the president -- Obama was mostly in the dark about the extent of the spine. The Wall Street Journal said today the president only found out last summer that the US -- monitoring nearly three dozen heads of state after a White House review of the NSA. ABC's Karen Travers has been -- the latest now and joins us live from Washington Karen. -- afternoon Dan this is quickly becoming a growing embarrassment for the White House and for President Obama personally. Remember these leaks stem from information that came from Edwards Snowdon the -- -- an -- contractor who leaked. Hundreds and hundreds of documents at this point because there is so much information potentially out there there is no indication that these drips will stop. In the NSA spying scandal continues to grow. Today a report that for five years President Obama had no knowledge that US spies were targeting some 35 heads of state. Including some of America's top allies. The Wall Street Journal citing unnamed US sources said President Obama only found out this summer after the White House launched an internal review of NSA surveillance in August he said this. I don't have an interest in the people -- emissary don't have an interest. In doing anything other -- Making sure. That. Where we can prevent a terrorist attack. The White House insists the US has stopped spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and we're not doing in the future. But the Wall Street Journal reported that programs targeting other world leaders are still operating. And the leaks which stem from information from former -- -- a contractor Edwards noted just keep coming. Two Spanish -- -- -- SA secretly monitored six million phone calls in Spain just in one month. Here in Washington mixed reaction from lawmakers. This whole notion that we're gonna go after each other on what is really legitimate. Protection of Nash nation state interest I think is is disingenuous. I think we have repair work to do and I think we have hard questions we need to ask -- the NSA about what's really happening in this program. Top European ministers are in Washington today for meetings with lawmakers as well as administration officials. The NSA surveillance program is on their agenda but Dan the Obama administration insists that is not the focus of their visit. And what Kara let me ask you -- what of these European Union -- his -- when -- European lay leaders saying that they want. They want a more solid commitment from the White House this sort of spying will not go on last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. That spying among friends an allies cannot be that was what she said she told President Obama in a phone call. And there really pressing the Obama administration to make something more concrete. I think you're getting this sense from lawmakers from both sides of the aisle as well as administration officials when they're speaking more candidly in anonymous ways saying look spying goes on it's what we do we -- spying on some of these countries and they're doing it right back to us. But because this has become so public this is very embarrassing for the White House. And -- -- leaders of Germany France Spain and some other European countries are saying enough is enough listening a little bit more concrete saying this is not going to happen. And the diplomat in the diplomatic dance both publicly and privately. All right Karen thank you for that for more on the NSA surveillance and the FBI director want to bring in ABC's Mary Bruce is outside the White House and married a list of countries and has the states the NSA is -- on it is growing obviously is putting a strain on relations overseas. Oh absolutely there's no question that this is a huge embarrassment for this White House and keep in mind these are some of the United States' closest allies. These are the president's close friends that we're talking about here -- the big question is really what is more embarrassing the fact that the United States was continuing to spy. On -- -- reportedly over 35 different global leaders or the fact that this president wasn't made aware of that. Until he was an office for over five years both of those sides of this story do huge damage to international relations abroad now. As a district Karen mention. Of course -- administration said that they have stopped ease -- on German chancellor Merkel communications and several other world leaders but some of those programs continue although they're supposedly being phased out but this is absolutely an ongoing problem and one that is doing real damage to the United States is relations abroad. Well focusing specifically on Germany -- -- that country's been one of the most upset at the fact that the NSA has -- -- the phone calls of the Chancellor Angela Merkel. In fact it was only -- four months ago that the president's was there in Germany speaking -- -- fact that that didn't happen. That's right there's just four months ago earlier this summer the president started the historic Brandenburg Gate and reassured the German people and really -- Europeans. And the world that these programs were consistent with rule of law now keep in mind of course we -- the justice he was saying that. The United States was still -- dropping -- monitoring chancellor Merkel communication so this president this administration of a lot of explaining to do to their German front. And talk about a little bit today's development with James comic evidence the FBI there because he had -- -- relationship when he was acting as attorney general during the bush White House years. And his relationship with some of the NSA tactics. That's right he wasn't really a vocal critic of some of these tools and of these surveillance mechanisms underneath the Bush Administration. Now that he's with the Obama administration is actually come out in support of these tactic saying that. They are lawful that they can be of use. But he has cautioned that it's important to have a healthy public dialogue about the importance of balancing out. They need to gather surveillance and intelligence and doing so in accordance with the lock it -- -- as we look at a live picture there were waiting for the president to make his remarks and the installation of comic. But -- talked a little bit about. Whether or not we see an easy confirmation process for -- I do think we will going -- -- -- as imagined he as a Republican he formerly served under the Bush Administration. And keep in mind this isn't very difficult time to be coming into the position he. He started taking over the job a month ago win former director Mueller resigned after twelve years on the job but he isn't facing some big real challenges here he's -- talked about the impact of some of these budget cuts those across the board sequester -- They're still impacting the agency's ability to do his job they're no longer taking on new cases they're not allowed to do new hiring an agent. And and combing his warned that if -- sequester cuts are not balanced out. In the upcoming budget negotiations that he'll have to cut some 3000 more employees so he's coming in -- quite a difficult time not just of these surveillance topics but also. Issues here domestically as well and obviously with the legacy of twelve years certainly Robert Mueller has made his mark on the FBI's well. That's right he took over just a few days before the attacks of 9/11. And leading the agency through -- -- the agency through this period of really moving from domestic surveillance and domestic intelligence gathering. But also moving towards the more international to dealing a lot with the threat of terrorism to al-Qaeda. And we we expect it coming will continue along that path of really focusing more on international. Threats as well as those within the country. All right ABC's Mary Bruce -- at the White House let's go down that that installation process that is taking place. -- -- Wounds mrs. moon. Wolves. Those. Sorrow. Spanning. Alone. Now. -- War although. Okay. Boom. Thank you please be seated. Next. Please join me involves welcoming. Resident Robert -- Next. I'm sorry president. Good morning Mr. President. Good morning to my friend. -- -- -- -- home in judge walker and -- all gathered guests here on today. Jim can you believe with seventeen years ago. When we met in Richmond we knew everything seminary graduate. And we were able to work together and some of the toughest communities it's been today that teamwork makes the dream work. And it was a privilege to be a part of your team as we work together to make a difference. And as many of you can attest store will learn -- as the ultimate. Serving leader and team player. And we want to parade on this occasion and that god will bless this moment. This country. At this time let us break. Dear god we acknowledge that you have the creative this get caught lying. We thank you for the beauty of another day and the breath of your spirit. That fills us with -- hope. And opportunities to learn to love to grow and pursue our dreams we thank you for this moment to celebrate the installation of James -- -- the director of the FBI. We calling -- to bless the ceremony and everyone was a part of this occasion. We thank you for those who've come before us and pave the way blessed to have the opportunity we have to enjoy life and liberty. We thank you for the men and women and their families who sacrifice -- serving our country without fanfare so that we can enjoy the fruits of freedom. Bless them all -- -- we thank you for Jim and his willingness to accept your call to service the director of the FBI. UV equipped him with the -- -- inclusive leadership style innovative spirit and integrity for such -- tab is this to serve this nation. And to bless this world. As he embarks on this journey ask that you will bless him and -- and their families. Bless them with all that is needed for them to be successful in this endeavor. Got there will be good days and not so good days but left him with the faith the call on you. The fortitude to forward today and left him with a one point loved his support -- only family friends. You can give them blessed him with the team who committed in caring. Bless them with a piece of mind when days get hectic and -- Left him with compassion clarity and west council. When faced with challenging circumstances in difficult choices blessed him with the resilience. -- setbacks coming his way. Now got app -- an -- would you bless him. But -- will bless America. And not only do -- where we may have -- as the two would blessed Halloween. Bless America with a shared vision and purpose what we embrace that differences and continue to strapped to work together. To build a better America where freedom and democracy and justice for all -- sound like stars in the night. For all Americans. Not only do we ask that you would bless us as a maverick that but that's the world in which we live. When will be the common -- that connects. And our world will be -- -- -- place for out children. And four children all over the world. This. Is out -- on this day and all of God's people together. Said a man. A man. And gay men. God loves you. And gotten us. Thank you reverend -- for that wonderful blessing. Now I would like to invite judge walker. Misses call me. In directive called me to come forward. For the real. Administration. Of the oath of office. I'll be very brief. Before we do the oath of office. Just this is a very proud day for Jim -- and trees. And for his five children. For President Obama. Attorney general holder and for this judge who hired Jim -- his first law -- 28 years ago. But it's an even prouder day for the men and women of the FBI. And for all of us who care about this premier law enforcement agents. Including all of the former FBI directors. And former attorney general's. Many of whom are here today. Ever since our -- together which is great -- by the way as we both learned our new jobs. I told Jim who is six feet eight as you can see. -- -- -- Jim didn't need any prompting from me he's a modest guy. He's always been serious about his work that at -- He never takes himself too serious. After that first year I had high expectations for -- That they have been exceeded. Is due in no small part to open generous. Modest kind of person ideas. Jim of course is a fine lawyer. Hardworking and Smart. But he's also a natural leader who inspires those around him. This ability to inspire. Has been evident throughout his remarkable. Career in law enforcement. As a decorated assistant US attorney in new York and Virginia. US attorney for the southern district of New York. Deputy attorney general under your attorney general Ashcroft and Bush Administration. He has achieve. -- -- thought was the pinnacle. Of the law enforcement career and now this. All of this experience. All of this past experience that Jim -- head makes him particularly well suited to help -- the FBI as its director. Jim understands. The justice in this country doesn't just happen because we're a great constitutional democracy. It depends upon the hard work of thousands of men and women for whom the ideals of justice or -- reality every day. To the men and women of the FBI. I can say that Jim appreciate the full worth of what you do. You could also be sure that your director will steer a straight course. He will insist that investigations be thoroughly pursued to wherever they may go. And as a former prosecutor in the front line against terrorism he will lead -- that struggle. Jim will be independent. In a town in which politics determines so much. Perhaps too much. Jim we'll pay it no he. For him there would be no room in the FBI -- toward influence. As a law clerk 28 years ago our Jim first took the oath of public office that -- will now take. The very same old. And as security for all who hold -- public trust these words have a special meeting. And as it has been it has in the past -- we'll -- -- tenure as your FBI director. Shall -- ministry of. -- -- -- Be after me. Hi James becoming. James -- -- Do solemnly swear -- Do solemnly swear. That I will support and defend the constitution of the United States that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States. Against all enemies foreign and domestic against all enemies foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same that I take this obligation freely. That I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of -- without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. And that I will well and faithfully discharge and that I will well and faithfully discharge. The duties of the office on which I'm about to -- the duties of the office on which I'm about to enter so help me god so help me god. It's official. -- -- -- 1009. We were -- to welcome President Obama -- Two FBI headquarters for the first time. In today. We are equally honored to have them here with us. Ladies and gentlemen. The 44 president of the United States. President Barack Obama. Thank you very much thank you. -- -- -- -- Well good afternoon everybody. I am so proud to be here -- -- stand. Once again with so many dedicated. Men and women of the FBI. You are the best of the best. Day in and day out he worked tirelessly. To confront the most dangerous threats our nation faces. You -- with hurt. You serve with integrity -- Protect Americans at home and abroad. You lock up criminals. -- secure the homeland against. The threat of terrorism. Without a lot of fanfare without seeking the spotlight you do your jobs. All the while upholding our most cherished values. And the rule of law. Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity. That your -- Today we're here to welcome. A remarkable new leader. Or this remarkable institution. One who lives those principles out every single that. Mr. Jim call. But targets Jim I want to thank all of them predecessor's -- here today. We are grateful for your service I have to give a special shout out to Bob Mueller -- Served. Longer news folks to. But. You know he was such an extraordinary. Leader through some of the most difficult times that we've had national security and -- I consider him a friend of I'm so grateful for. And then be here today. Thank you very much. Now Jim has dedicated his life. The defending our -- Making sure that all Americans can trust our justice system. To protect the rights and there will be. He's the grandson. Of being cut. He's prosecutor who helped bring down. -- -- -- He's the relentless attorney who fought to stand the bloody tighter gun violence. -- out white collar crime. Deliver justice to terrorists. It's just about impossible to find a matter of justice he has not tackle. And it's hard to imagine somebody who is not more uniquely qualified. To lead -- bureau that covers world. Traditional threats like violent organized crime to the constantly. Changing threats like terrorism and cyber secure. We got the -- But of course -- is also a famously cool care. The call must in the room. During a crisis. Here's what a fellow. Former prosecutor said about you -- you know that Rudyard Kipling line. If you can keep your head when all about -- -- losing theirs that's -- There's also story from the time. During his prosecution of the Gambino Crime Family one of the defendants was an alleged hit man named -- -- in the -- Jim won an award from New York City bar association. When the court -- the next morning everybody was buzzing about and suddenly a -- was passed down from the defendant's table across fell to the prosecutor's table. It was -- to -- and a red. Dear Jim congratulations on your. Award no one deserves it more than you you're a true professional sincerely Lorenzo. 200 runs a -- Now we don't know how sincere he was we don't know. Whether this was a veiled threat. Or -- plea for leniency or an honest compliment but I think it is fair to say that. Jim has won the respect of folks across the spectrum. Including Lorenzo. Is the perfect leader for an organization whose walls. Are graced by the words of the legendary former -- The most effective weapon against crime -- cooperation. Jim has worked with many of the more than. 35000 men and women of the FBI over the course -- long and distinguished career. And it's his admiration and respect for all of you individually. His recognition of the hard work that you do every day. Sometimes under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Not just the folks on the field but also. Folks work on the back rooms dorm -- hard work. Out of sight. His recognition. That your mission. Is important. Is what compelled him to answer the call to serve his country again. The FBI joins forces with our intelligence our military and Homeland Security professionals to break up all manner of threats. From taking down drug rings to stopping those who prey on children to breaking up al-Qaeda cells. Disrupting their activities thwarting their plots in your mission keeps expanding. Because. The nature of the threats are always changing. Unfortunately the resource is allotted to that mission has been reduced by sequestration. All keep fighting. For those resources. Because our country asked and expects a lot from you and we should make sure you've got the resources you need to do the job. Especially when many -- colleagues put their lives on the line on a daily basis. All the serve and protect our fellow citizens. Police breaking -- make sure you've got the resources board and -- -- operations are not disrupted because the politics of mister. Now the good news there's things like courage and leadership. Judgment and compassion. Those resources. Are potentially at least inexhaustible. What's critical that we seek out the best people to -- Folks who have earned the public trust -- excellent but even the most difficult circumstances. Those -- that's not just to -- knowledge of the law but also a moral compass. That they and we can always count -- And that's what we've got -- -- I'll tell you. I interviewed a number of extraordinary candidates for this job. Always sterling credentials. But what gave me confidence. That this was the right man for the job wasn't his degrees was his resume. It was -- talking to him and saying his. Amazing family. A sense that this is somebody who knows what's right and what's wrong. And is willing back on that basis every single -- That's why I'm so grateful that he signed a conservative. I we'll spare you yet another joke about -- today no one stands taller. I simply want to thank Jim for accepting. This role I want to thank the phrase. Five remarkable children they've got. Because jobs like -- a team effort you won't know. I don't want to thank most of all men and women of the FBI. I'm proud -- your work. I'm grateful for your service. -- -- confident that this agency will continue to flourish with Jim at the Helm. And -- if he gets lost in the building I want to get to help them out. Because I guarantee you that he's gonna have your back make sure you've got his back as well. Thank you very much everybody got much. And now ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor to introduce. The seventh director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. -- -- -- Thank you Sean. Thank you Mr. President thank you so much for gracing us with your presence. For honoring us and for speaking so eloquently about the mission of the FBI and it's great people. Thank you also to my friends and family who are gathered here today. My entire life is literally represented. In this crowd and it is a pretty picture. These are the people that I have known and loved literally my entire life and from whom I have learned so much. I'm especially grateful that my dad and my sister my Brothers to be here today. I wish so much that mom to be here to enjoy this amazing day. I can still hear ringing in my tired teenage years. Her voice as she snapped open the shades every single morning and said rise and shine and show the world what your made up. I found it less inspiring at the time. But it made us who we are. And I'll never forget that and to my five troops and my amazing bride. Who talked me into being interviewed for this job. Of course with the caveat that she'd be okay is -- president would never pick me. I got -- as your last chance to talk to about it. Mr. President I am so grateful for this honor in this opportunity to assert with the men and women of the FBI. They are standing all around this great courtyard. And standing on duty all around this country and around this world at this moment. I know already that this is the best job I have ever had and will ever have. That's because I have a front row seat. To watch the work of a remarkable group of people who serve this country folks from all walks of life. Who joined the FBI for the same reason. They were teachers and soldiers and police officers and scholars and software engineers. And people from all walks of life who wanted to do good for a living. They wanted jobs of moral content. And so they join this great organization. I thought about them as I stood in this courtyard just a week ago and showed a visiting foreign leader the statue that overlooks the ceremony. It's an artist's depiction. Of the words from our shield that the president mentioned. Fidelity bravery and integrity. And as I thought about that statue and those words in this ceremony I thought I would take just a couple of minutes to tell you what those words mean. And why I think they belong on our shield. First fidelity. The dictionary defines fidelity has a strict and continuing faithfulness. To an obligation trust her duties. To my mind that word on our shield reminds us that the FBI must -- to obligations at the same time. First the FBI must be independent of all political forces -- interest in this country. In a real sense it must stand apart. From other institutions in American life. But second at the same time it must be part of the United States Department of Justice. And constrained by the rule of law and the checks and balances built. Into our brilliant designed -- our nation's founders. There is -- tension reflected. In those two aspects of fidelity. Those two values that I see in that word. And I think that tension is reflected in the ten year term that I had just begun. The term is ten years. To ensure independence. But it is a fixed term of years to ensure that power does not become concentrated. In one person and on constrain. The need for reflection and restraint of power. Is what led will be free to order that all new agent classes visit the holocaust museum. Here in Washington. So they could see and feel and hear. In a palpable weigh the consequences. Of abuse of power. On a massive. Almost unimaginable scale. Bob Mueller continued that practice and I will again when we have agents graduating from Quantico. The balance reflected in my term is also a product of -- hard learned from the history of this great institution. Our first half century or so was a time of great progress and achievement for this country and for the bureau. But it also saw abuse and overreach. Most famously with respect to Martin Luther king and others who were viewed as internal security threats. As I think about the unique balance represented by fidelity to independence on the one hand and the rule of law on the other. I think it also makes sense for me to offer those in training a reminder closer to our own history. I'm gonna direct -- all new agents and analysts also visit the Martin Luther King memorial here in Washington. I think it will serve as a different kind of lesson. One more personal to the bureau. Of the dangers of becoming untethered to oversight and accountability. That -- fidelity belongs on our shield. Next bravery. We have perpetrated a myth in our society that being brave means not being afraid. But that's wrong. Mark Twain once said that bravery quote is resistance to fear mastery of fear not absence of fear. If you've ever talked to a special agent that you know well. And you -- years she about a dangerous encounter they were involved in. -- almost always give you the same answer yeah I did it but I was scared the -- the whole time. But that's the essence of bravery. Only a crazy person wouldn't -- approaching a car with tinted windows during a late night car -- -- pounding up a flight of stairs to excuse search warrant. Or fast roping from a helicopter down into hostile fire. Real agents like real people fear that fear in the pit of their stomachs. Which no difference between them and most folks. They do it anyway. And they volunteered. To do that for a living. What makes the bravery of the men and women of the FBI so special is they know exactly what they're in for. They spend weeks and weeks in an academy learning just how hard dangerous this work is. -- they raised their right hands and take an oath and do -- work anyway. They have seen the wall of honor but I hope so much my friends and guests and family we'll get to see inside this building. With pictures and links to the lives. Of those who gave the last full measure of devotion for their country as FBI employees. Civil war general William Tecumseh Sherman said this. I would define true courage. To be a perfect sensibility. Of the measure of danger. And a mental willingness to -- I called a special agent a few weeks ago after he had been shot during an arrest. I knew before I called him that he'd already been injured severely twice in his -- career. Once in a terrorist bombing and once in a helicopter crash. Yet when I got him on the phone. I got the strong sense he couldn't wait to get me off the phone. He was embarrassed by my call mr. director -- -- -- through and through wounds and no big deal. He was more worried about his bureau car which -- left at the scene of the shooting. He felt okay though because his wife also a special agent it was -- to go get the cars everything was fine. The men and women of this organization understand. Perfectly. The danger they're in every day and choose to and -- because they believe in this mission. That's why bravery belongs on our shield. And finally integrity. Integrity is derived from the Latin word in -- meaning -- A person of integrity is complete un divided. Sincerity. Decency trustworthy. Person and -- of integrity. It's on our shield because it is the quality that makes it possible all the good that we do. Because everything we do requires that we be believed. Whether that's promising a source that we will protect terror. Telling a jury what we saw or heard. We're telling a congressional oversight committee or the American people what we are doing with our power and our authorities. We must be believed. Without integrity of all is lost. We cannot do the good that all of these amazing people signed up to do. The FBI's reputation for integrity is a gift. Given to every new employee by those who went before. But it is a gift that must be protected and earned every single day. We protect that gift by making mistakes. And admitting them by making promises and keeping them. And by realizing that nothing. No case no source. No fear of embarrassment is worth jeopardizing the gift of integrity. Integrity must be on the FBI's she'll. -- you see those three words. Fidelity bravery and integrity. Capture the essence of the FBI and its people. And it also explain why I am here. I wanted to be here to work along side. Those people to represented them to help them accomplish their mission. And to just be their colleagues. It is an honor and a challenge beyond description. I will do my absolute best be worthy of it. Thank you very much. Those remarks were from James -- the -- Director of the FBI the seventh director for the agency there. -- -- -- -- Twelve years of service and we'll continue -- live -- those who will be taken into god bless America. A complete report and abcnews.com. And on anti -- and knowing that this is now pleased also that -- Jimmy -- -- -- all slow us yeah. -- -- -- -- -- knives read. Let us and be grateful. -- and saw. All. Ramirez is. All audiences. -- us. All alone. Heard. The small. Move cool. Need -- And -- Okay old. Style and design. Room. And guarded. School alumni news -- -- minded. Mom mobile home. -- -- -- -- Schools are. Schools -- bonus. Room. -- -- -- I boom. To slow -- news. -- -- -- Room. Room. It's slow -- who. Now a okay. Room. Soon. The. Okay.

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