James Comey, the director of the FBI and one of the most controversial figures to rise out of the contentious 2016 Presidential Election, will speak at this year’s SXSW Festival. He will speak with Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst. The session will take place on Monday, March 13 at 5:00 PM CST at the downtown Hilton in Austin.
Comey has been at the center of a major controversy over the handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server while Secretary of State under former President Barack Obama. He released a letter to Congress just over a week from Election Day in which he stated more emails had been discovered on a laptop that belonged to Anthony Weiner, who was under investigation for an unrelated criminal act. Weiner is the former husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who was also accused of handling classified State emails in a non-nonchalant and possibly criminal manner. The additional emails turned out to be nothing new, Clinton lost the election, and the rest is history.
In a press release, Newseum is described as “the premier national institution that promotes the freedoms of the First Amendment and the right of free expression. It is an actual interactive museum (as well as a 501(c)3 public charity) that promotes and defends the freedom of expression.
The conversation between the two men will examine the tenuous relationship that exists between our personal privacy and keeping our nation safe from threats. The goals of the conversation is to ensure that the audience at the music, film and multimedia festival in Austin leaves with a greater understanding of “the challenges to our rights in the age of disruption.”
This is a huge score for SXSW and takes the event to a new level of relevancy, though President Obama participated in the conference last year as a keynote speaker (along with his wife Michelle).