A debate over encryption and law enforcement access to devices needs to happen in the courts, at the Department of Justice, and in Congress, added Comey, who began raising concerns about law enforcement access to encrypted digital communications in late 2014.
"There's a broader policy question that we all have to grapple with that is far broader than any one case," he said.
Some members of the House panel appeared to side with the FBI.
"I would think it's different if you've got two people who've killed 14 folks in a terrorist attack ... versus some divorce lawyer trying to find out who a philandering husband may have been talking to," Representative Lynn Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican. "There is a total difference there, and I think the American people sense that."
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