RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)—One of the most powerful law enforcement officers in the country, FBI Director James Comey, spoke out about Alexis Murphy, the Nelson County teen who's been missing for just over a month.
Comey says he's been briefed on the case and his agency is working with local law enforcement to get it solved. Monday afternoon—in an extremely rare setting—he met with reporters to discuss this and other important issues facing the country.
"We have resources—particularly forensics and laboratory resources," Comey said on his agency's search for Murphy. "The FBI is doing in that case what it does and will do in cases all around the country and that is help."
Comey spoke about Alexis just three days into his new job as seventh director of the FBI. He takes the position as the NSA is being scrutinized for wiretapping and gathering information from Americans.
"I happen to believe that that power is being used responsibly, but I want people to challenge it and ask questions," Comey said.
The FBI faces several challenges. Comey says right now the biggest is the possible sequestration, which he says will reduce 3,000 positions and force all his employees to take unpaid time off.
"I can't imagine that if we've charged people with protecting their fellow citizens that it makes sense to send them home and tell them you can't work for two weeks without pay," he said.
Comey says he looks forward to serving Virginians—and all Americans—and is open to hearing from those with questions or concerns.
"I think that it's important for people to ask questions about how the government is using its authorities," Comey said.
On Monday he met with local law enforcement leaders, who say the FBI is a huge help to their agencies.
"They help us in so many ways, particularly with their laboratory work," said Hanover County Sheriff David Hines. "They can help us on major cases."
Chesterfield County Chief Thierry Dupuis said, "We hang our egos at the door when we come in. We talk through problems; we get it done."
Monday's visit to Richmond wasn't Comey's first; he served as the managing assistant U.S. attorney for five years back in 1996 and says Richmond is the best place he's ever lived or worked.
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