President Barack Obama has nominated (Friday) a former deputy attorney
general under Republican President George W. Bush as the new director of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation. James Comey would replace longtime
FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Obama is hoping that Comey’s Republican ties and deep experience in law
enforcement will help persuade the Senate to confirm his nomination to
lead the FBI.
“As deputy attorney general, he helped lead the Justice Department with
skill and wisdom, meeting the threats we know about and staying
perpetually prepared for the ones that can emerge suddenly. So Jim is
exceptionally qualified to handle the full range of challenges faced by
today’s FBI,” said the president.
Since leaving the Justice Department, Comey has been an executive at a
defense company and general counsel to a Wall Street hedge fund, among
Comey would replace Robert “Bob” Mueller, whose 10-year term as FBI
director began the week before the terrorist attacks of September 11,
2001. Obama extended Mueller’s term by two years in 2011.
Comey is known for his confrontation with two Bush administration
officials in 2004. He rushed to the hospital bedside of his boss, John
Ashcroft, to stop the aides from getting the attorney general’s approval
to renew a program that allowed government wiretaps to be used without
mentioned that incident in praising Comey and Mueller for their
integrity. He said, “At key moments, when it has mattered most, he
joined Bob in standing up for what he believed was right. He was
prepared to give up a job he loved, rather than be part of something he
felt was fundamentally wrong.”
The FBI handles domestic intelligence and law enforcement. The agency
has come under scrutiny lately for its part in surveillance programs
involving phone records and Internet communications.
Also Friday, Obama held his first meeting with a privacy and civil
liberties board he established. Obama said the group will play a key
role in addressing concerns about the government’s surveillance