The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading voice against the FBI’s repeated attempts to further violate American communication privacy, is calling for an investigation into its favorite foe’s firing.
The group said in a statement:
The FBI is the country’s top law enforcement agency and serves the public, not the president. As defenders of the rule of law, we have deep concerns about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. We disagreed with the director on many issues, including his consistent push for backdoors into our electronic communications and devices and a general weakening of encryption, which is crucial to protecting Americans’ privacy and security. But we are deeply troubled about Director Comey’s termination and what it says about the independence of the office and its ability to conduct fair investigations, including into threats to our digital security and the integrity of our elections. The next FBI director must be a strong, independent voice for the Constitution and the public interest.
Given the current climate at the Department of Justice, however, a new FBI director with respect for the Constitution is highly unlikely.
As Recode pointed out:
Trump’s attorney general, for example, similarly has criticized Apple for its strong defense of encryption. While Jeff Sessions represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate in 2015, he also voted against a law that reined in some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers.
A year later, Sessions sought in Congress to expand the FBI’s ability to collect information like web browsing histories during emergency cases without first requiring a warrant. That ultimately failed. But the larger privacy debate — whether law enforcement should have to obtain warrants to access Americans’ oldest emails for their investigations — remains an unsolved issue on Capitol Hill.
There’s also Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Trump, who similarly sits in opposition to the tech and civil-liberties crowds. An Army officer who later served in the House of Representatives, Pompeo regularly — and vocally — opposed efforts to curtail U.S. surveillance authorities. And Trump’s director of national intelligence, former Sen. Dan Coats, similarly has voted against surveillance reform.