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FBI Chief: Jail Threat-Makers

by Melissa Bailey | Dec 6, 2013 6:38 pm

(3) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Melissa Bailey Photo Making a debut appearance in New Haven just 12 days after an anonymous caller prompted a massive lockdown at Yale, the nation’s new FBI chief called on law enforcement officers to “be very aggressive and put some people in jail” to prevent copycat crimes.

James B. Comey, who took over the FBI in September, made the remarks in a visit Friday to New Haven’s FBI building at 600 State St.

Comey, whose family lives in Westport, met with local law enforcement officers, then spoke with media, as part of a national get-to-know-you tour.

His appearance in New Haven brought a swarm of media to the State Street building, which serves as the FBI’s statewide headquarters.

Labradors sniffed out visitors’ bags and cameras at the Grove Street gate.

Comey first met privately with about 20 police chiefs and other top police brass from around the state, including Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Yale, Norwich, Hamden and Ansonia.

Then the chiefs lined up in a fifth-story conference room ahead of Comey. Comey emerged from a side room after about 10 minutes. The 6-foot-8 man—who, in his role as Deputy U.S. Attorney under the Bush administration, once physically blocked Bush aides from trying to persuade a bed-ridden U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft from reauthorizing a domestic surveillance program—loomed high above the police brass.

Comey was asked about a recent rash of lockdowns in response to threats of gunmen at Yale, the University of New Haven and Central Connecticut State University.

In a post-Sandy Hook era, is he concerned that these kinds of lockdowns are becoming more frequent?

Comey said yes. He commended law enforcement officers for their response in all three cases. He said such episodes “seem to work in fads.”

“Disturbed persons are inspired” by the media attention that one incident attracts.

After the “unspeakable” tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, Comey said, everyday citizens need to be on alert for anything that seems suspicious, on social media, in electronic messages, or in person.

“Listen to the hairs that are rising on the back of your neck,” he said. “if you see something, say something.”

Comey was asked how his agency can prevent cities from being shut down due to prank calls, as may have happened at Yale last week.

“The answer is to be very aggressive and put some people in jail,” he said. That will prove a deterrent to people considering making future threats, he argued.

Comey also vowed to address an “uptick in violent crime,” especially in Connecticut. He cited the “very high” homicide and violent crime rates in Connecticut cities. He said the FBI’s efforts to curb that crime will be hampered by budget fights in Congress, which threaten to force him to eliminate 3,500 positions across the agency, and furlough workers.

He said the agency’s top priority is counter-terrorism. He also placed an emphasis on stopping cyber-criminals who harass or steal information from people online.

“It’s a threat that is metastasizing,” Comey said.

New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman was among the chiefs who met Comey privately before the press conference. He said he sees Comey as an ally in the fight against daily gun violence plaguing cities.

“I raised the issue of violence in America,” and “the moral outrage that is needed in Washington,” Esserman said.

“All of us felt strongly that he was passionate about that subject.”

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posted by: jim1 on December 6, 2013  7:41pm

I like that “put some people in jail”. You could say the same thing about mass shootings.
Lets make a list.

posted by: Charl on December 6, 2013  9:05pm

On what planet am I now living??!!??!!

NOW THE NHPD and related local, state, and federal agencies are BEING PRAISED for their handling of the Yale Hoax???!!!

Why has that story dropped off the map??!!

Why have the police not released the video surveillance of the caller who made the false threat and caused the massive alarm?  (The comment policy forbids me from posting why I believe that video is not being released, nor will it ever.  Draw your own conclusions…)

When I read the headline, I thought this article would be about “putting more of them in jail” -  in reference to the hoax caller about the fake Yale man with a gun.

But no, now the response is praised by Federales?  Including one with the clout of supposedly standing up for the rights of ordinary Americans by preventing a surveillance program from being enacted?  If this man cares so much about protecting the rights of ordinary Americans, as guaranteed by The Constitution, how about mentioning some of the actual laws.  Such as:  In CT, it is legal and lawful to open carry a rifle? 

No, instead, just more high praise for the paramilitary forces, and more paranoia spreading.

Why does everyone look at me crazy when I point out how most people are already “bootlickers”.....and apparently now is the Independent.

Editors, can we please have a follow-up on the Samuel See mysterious death?
Can we also have an update on the state of the investigation into who placed the fraudulent hoax Yale man with a gun payphone call?

posted by: Noteworthy on December 7, 2013  10:05am

Citizens to FBI Chief: XXXX Off

1. The idea that the FBI spends all its time on counter-terrorism is absurd. What’s classified as counter-terrorism is now so broad and pervasive an angry text over state lines from a former boyfriend is now a felony and is investigated as terrorism. A genius kid who believes in public access of Harvard’s research documents is charged, bullied into suicide under the guise of counter-terrorism. How many times does this happen in the course of a year? The public defender’s office in Boston says it happens far more than we know.

2.The continued effort by law enforcement to scare citizen into submission and into giving up their rights has reached epidemic proportions. The NSA traps 5 billion calls world wide every day. The feds track our spending, look at our emails, build relationship trees of our family and friends, and are surveiling U.S. citizens without warrant or cause on a daily basis. The TSA is starting to roll out glass cubicles that will encapsulate people trying to leave the airport one at a time until released by authorities in the name of keeping us safe.

3. Then there are these pointless threats by either the deranged or just dumb people. But that gives the feds, the state and the local cops all the reason they need to militarize the city, roll out their assault vehicles and riot shields, arm up with assault weapons and do door to door searches on nothing but a myth. At this rate, a real terrorist could have the FBI and the local cops doing nothing but running in circles.

4. This is nothing but the theater of safety. It’s a play. The FBI should focus on real threats not in turning 330 million people into a cowering lot of frightened people willing to freeze in place and give up their constitutional rights.

5. And the FBI needs more money? Of course, theater is very expensive.

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