FBI Director James Comey To Speak at SXSW Festival

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 27: FBI director James Comey speaks during a news conference at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on February 27, 2014 in San Francisco, California. FBI director Comey met with members of the media and local law enforcement officials while in the San Francisco Bay Area …
Justin Sullivan/Getty

FBI Director James Comey is set to speak at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music, art and film festival in Austin, Texas in March.

Comey will appear in conversation with Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst on Monday, March 13, the third day of the week-long festival, SXSW announced Thursday.

“This year we will conduct a unique conversation examining the tensions between privacy and national security,” Herbst said in a statement. “Being able to share a high level conversation with FBI Director James Comey and the audience in Austin will help us all understand the challenges to our rights in the age of disruption.”

Comey became one of the most polarizing figures in the country over the FBI’s handling of the investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.

In July, Comey said the agency would not recommend criminal charges be brought against Clinton for her handling of classified material. However, with just two weeks to go in the general election, the FBI director said the agency had found additional emails that may have been “pertinent” to the investigation; two days before Election Day, the agency cleared Clinton again.

South by Southwest is known more for its music, art and entrepreneurship seminars than for political presentations, though former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made a presentation at the festival last year. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also appeared at the festival.

The New York Times reported this week that President Trump has asked Comey to remain in his position as chief of the FBI. Comey previously served as an official at the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush and was appointed Director of the FBI by President Obama in 2013.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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