TIME TO BRING THE HAMMER DOWN

James Comey and his memoir are tripping the media light fantastic, though what’s defined that trip so far is its lack of news. Mr. Comey explains the many and varied ways that he does not like President Trump. Mr. Comey explains the many and varied ways that he does like himself. Tell us something we don’t know.

People forget that directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation — by necessity — are among Washington’s most skilled operators, experts in appearing to answer questions even as they provide pablum. Yet the publicity tour rolls on, which means that upcoming interviewers still have an opportunity to do the country — and our profession — a favor. Here are a few basic questions Mr. Comey should be expected to answer:

You admit the Christopher Steele dossier was still “unverified” when the FBI used it as the basis of a surveillance warrant against Carter Page. Please explain. Also explain the decision to withhold from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

You refer to Mr. Steele as a “credible” source. Does the FBI routinely view as “credible” sources who work for political operatives? Did the FBI do any due diligence on his employer, Fusion GPS? Were you aware it is an opposition-research firm? If not, why not?

Keep reading Kimberley Strassel’s column in the Wall Street Journal.

ALL LIVES MATTER

The Myths of Black Lives Matter

Heather Mac Donald, Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2016

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To judge from Black Lives Matter protesters and their media and political allies, you would think that killer cops pose the biggest threat to young black men today. But this perception, like almost everything else that many people think they know about fatal police shootings, is wrong.

The Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings over the past year and a half to correct acknowledged deficiencies in federal tallies. The emerging data should open many eyes.

For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014–the most recent year for which such data are available–compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

Police officers–of all races–are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.

Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there.

Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force.

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