McCain: So suppose that we had legislation which required two keys. One for the user and one that, given a court order, requiring a court order, that you would be able to — with substantial reason and motivation for doing so — would want to go into that particular site. What’s the problem with that?
Comey: Well, a lot of smart people, smarter than I, certainly, say that would have a disastrous impact on broader security across the internet, which is also part of my responsibility.
McCain: Do you believe that?
Comey: I’m skeptical that we can’t find a solution that overcomes that harm. But a lot of serious people say “ah, you don’t realize, you’ll rush into something and it’ll be a disaster for your country. Because it’ll kill your innovation, it’ll kill the internet.” That causes me to at least pause and say “well, okay, let’s talk about it.”
McCain: But, we’ve just established the fact that ISIS is rushing in to trying… attempting… to harm America and kill Americans. Aren’t we?
Comey: They are.
McCain: So I say with respect to my colleagues, and their advocacy for our constitutional obligations and rights, that we’re facing a determined enemy who is, as we speak — according to you and the director of Homeland Security — seeking to attack America, destroy America and kill Americans. So it seems to me that the object should be here, is to find a way not only to protect Americans’ rights, but to protect American lives. And I hope that you will devote some of your efforts — and I hope that this Committee… and I hope the Congress will — understand the nature of this threat. And to say that we can’t protect Americans’ Constitutional rights in the same time protect America, is something that I, simply, won’t accept.