FBI director, during Knoxville visit, attempts to clarify controversial remarks about Poland’s involvement in the Holocaust

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – FBI Director James Comey was in Knoxville Tuesday, visiting the local FBI headquarters and finally talking about controversial remarks he made last week about Poland’s involvement in the Holocaust.

He spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the importance of Holocaust education, but he ended up upsetting leaders around the world.

“In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil,” he said. ”They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.”

According to the New York Times, Poland’s Foreign Minister demanded an official apology from Washington on Monday, and while he got one from a US Ambassador, the FBI wouldn’t comment. Comey has also been silent on the controversy.

WATE 6 On Your Side asked the director Tuesday if he had an apology for his remarks regarding Poland’s involvement in the Holocaust. For the first time, he responded, but he didn’t have an apology.

“I don’t. Except I didn’t say Poland was responsible for the Holocaust. In a way I wish very much that I hadn’t mentioned any countries because it’s distracted some folks from my point,” he said. “I worry a little bit in some countries that point has gotten lost. There is no doubt that people in Poland heroically resisted the Nazis, and some people heroically protected the Jews, but there’s also no doubt that in every country occupied by the Nazis, there were people collaborating with the Nazis.”

The FBI has also been under fire for overstating forensic evidence matches in what’s been called a national forensic scandal. According to the Washington Post, it’s spanned more than two decades and flawed testimony resulted in dozens of people to death row, including four people in Tennessee.

According to The Post, “The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.”

Comey said the FBI is now trying to rectify the situation.

“What we’re doing is we’re going back through every single case where the FBI lab ever rendered advice about whether a particular human hair bore a relationship to another human hair, either in a lab report or in testimony in court,” he said, adding that the FBI is now making that information available to prosecutors and defense lawyers.

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