FBI Director Rates LANL Security ‘Excellent’

National FBI Director James B. Comey flanked by New Mexico law enforcement agency leaders Friday during a press conference at Albuquerque FBI Headquarters. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Daily Post Publisher Carol A. Clark, left, and Russell Contreras of the Associated Press are among the media invited to Friday’s special press conference with National FBI Director James Comey at Albuquerque FBI Headquarters. Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division is fourth from left. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone, left, is among New Mexico’s law enforcement officials invited to meet with National FBI Director James Comey Friday in Albuquerque. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Daily Post

ALBUQUERQUE — During a news conference in the rotunda at Albuquerque FBI Headquarters Friday, FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. described security at Los Alamos National Laboratory as “excellent.” LANL and other national labs continue to be top targets for cyber and other attacks and Comey said security measures in place are meeting those challenges. 

Comey has been traveling to FBI divisions throughout the country since being named national FBI director in September. The Los Alamos Daily Post was among the media invited to attend Friday’s special news conference. Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone was among the more than two dozen local, state and tribal law enforcement leaders who also attended the news conference, held immediately after their private meeting with Comey.

New Mexico as a whole faces “an astounding variety of challenges” including rising crime in Indian Country and border violence, Comey said, adding that his meeting with local law enforcement leaders gave him confidence that the state is up to the challenge.

“One of the highlights of this visit was to meet with the fired-up law enforcement crew represented here,” Comey said.

Counterterrorism remains the bureau’s top priority, he said, even if the United States has been successful against the senior leadership of al-Qaida based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Comey said he did not foresee the fight against terrorism diminishing as the FBI’s number one focus during his tenure. He also said that local law enforcement needs to be on the lookout for homegrown violent extremists. 

“What we mean by this is people who in their own homes through information they get on the Internet … not directed by Al-Qaeda … but inspired to do harm to others,” Comey said.

Two weeks ago, Congress passed a budget for the FBI and Comey plans to hire additional agents and intelligence analysts.

“The FBI will do everything in our power to protect the American people,” he said.

Comey is the seventh director of the FBI. A Yonkers, NY native, he attended the College of William and Mary and the University of Chicago Law School. After law school, Comey returned to New York and joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as an assistant U.S. attorney. There, he took on numerous crimes, most notably organized crime in the case of the United States v. John Gambino, et al. Afterward, Comey became an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted the high-profile case that followed the 1996 terrorist attack on the U.S. military’s Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Comey returned to New York after 9/11 to become the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. At the end of 2003, he was tapped to be the deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice (DOJ) under then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and moved to the Washington, D.C. area.

Comey left DOJ in 2005 to serve as general counsel and senior vice president at defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Five years later, he joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment fund, as its general counsel. In early 2013, Comey became a Lecturer in Law, a senior research scholar, and Hertog Fellow in National Security Law at Columbia Law School.

FBI Director James Comey during Friday’s press conference. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

FBI Director James Comey. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

Cameras record FBI Director James Comey’s talk Friday at FBI Headquarters in Albuquerque. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

FBI Headquarters in Albuquerque. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com