When James Comey threatened to quit the Bush administration over a wiretapping dispute, he was an instant liberal hero. The incident certainly impressed President Obama, who cited Comey’s “fierce independence” when he made him FBI director in 2013.
But now that Comey is resisting Obama’s party-line claims about police brutality and mass incarceration, the White House is furious with him. Its chief propaganda arm, The New York Times editorial page, is harshly denouncing the man it praised for resisting Bush.
Same Comey, same streak of independence, but now he’s goring the wrong ox. Thou shalt not contradict Dear Leader!
Comey’s sin is that he dares to tell the obvious truth.
In two speeches, the FBI boss said he believes crime is rising in much of the nation in part because growing criticism of cops has emboldened criminals and caused law enforcement to retreat. He said cops complain their every move is often captured on cellphone videos by hostile crowds, and so have backed off from making arrests.
“I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year,” Comey said at the University of Chicago Law School.
That’s putting it mildly. Baltimore’s mayor admitted her cops were ordered to stand down and give “those who wished to destroy space to do that” during riots last April.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, another liberal Democrat, attributed soaring murder rates to cops going “fetal.”
“They have pulled back from the ability to interdict . . . They don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact,” Emanuel told a recent audience.
Some call the trend the “Ferguson effect,” after the Missouri case where white Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. Riots followed there, too, when a grand jury declined to indict Wilson.