Former Bush official tapped as FBI chief
June 21st, 2013
02:43 PM ET
10 years ago

Former Bush official tapped as FBI chief

(CNN) – James Comey, who served as a top Justice Department official during George W. Bush's presidency, was tapped to become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Friday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Comey would replace Robert Mueller, who is leaving in September after leading the bureau for 12 years.

"Jim is exceptionally qualified to handle the full range of challenges faced by today's FBI," President Barack Obama said during Friday's Rose Garden announcement. "From traditional threats like violence and organized crime, to protecting civil rights and children from exploitation, to meeting transnational challenges like terrorism and cyber threats."

Comey's caseload as a former prosecutor who worked in New York and Virginia included terrorism, organized crime and fraud. He served as a deputy attorney general during the Bush administration, a role for which he has received both praise and criticism from outside groups.

Comey testified to a Senate committee in 2007 that he considered resigning his high-profile position over a disagreement three years earlier about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program.

Government officials had told CNN that Comey had "vigorously opposed" aspects of the warrantless wiretapping program and refused to sign off on its continued use. The program was eventually reauthorized.

The appointment comes as the Obama administration wrestles with new controversy surrounding NSA surveillance involving phone records and e-mail – something Obama alluded to Friday.

"As we've seen in recent days, this work of striking a balance between our security, but also making sure we are maintaining fidelity to those values that we cherish, is a constant mission," Obama said, noting he was "confident that Jim will be a leader who understands how to keep America safe and stay true to our founding ideals no matter what the future may bring."

Human rights groups have criticized Comey's alleged support of other controversial Bush-era national security policies such as indefinite detention and detainee treatment programs like waterboarding.

Since leaving government, Comey has worked in executive positions at defense contractor Lockheed Martin and the financial management firm Bridgewater and Associates.

Currently he works in academia as a senior research scholar and Hertog Fellow in National Security Law at Columbia Law School.

Mueller officially started the FBI job days before the 9/11 terror attacks and later saw the agency through terrorism and other high-profile cases.

Mueller's term had been set to expire in September 2011 - per the 10 years that FBI directors typically serve - but, at Obama's request, Congress approved a two-year extension. He's now scheduled to step down in September.

On Friday, Obama thanked the outgoing FBI director, saying "Countless Americans are alive today and our country is more secure because of the FBI's outstanding work under the leadership of Bob Mueller."

Filed under: FBI • George W. Bush • James Comey
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. rs

    Another GOP filibuster in: 5,.....4,.......3,......

    June 21, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Thomas Mantel

    James Comey top Gman !

    June 21, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Necronn99

    Tapped his $ss such a good place to live now .. America the land of complete reversal since the Black came out. LOVE IT

    June 21, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. tom l.

    Here comes the fun hypocrisy of the left on here. So this guy supported waterboarding. You still support his nomination?

    June 21, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. tom l.

    He also supports Guantanimo and indefinite detention. He comes from the Bush Administration. Still support him?

    June 21, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    tom l.

    Here comes the fun hypocrisy of the left on here. So this guy supported waterboarding. You still support his nomination?
    Don't you mean hypocrisy from the right wing when they oppose him? The left, in general, is not going to oppose him.

    June 21, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Art

    Stop it! Comey is eminently qualified for the position and its great that BAM rose above partisan politics and made a solid choice. Let's wish the new top G-man all the best as he continues to serve our country.

    June 21, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. tom l.


    You need better bait than that tom l.
    Why don't you concentrate on things you can ADMIT to understanding like me calling you and your ilk rabid dogs that bark at the moon; or how you and your ilk are hellbent on stimying the President's second term and any and all progress this country can make under him; or how he's dealing with the lowest of the low – again you and your ilk.
    Focus on those things that pertain to you and that you can understand....don't worry about things you know nothing about.
    Yet somehow methinks that you know EXACTLY what I meant....huh tom l? Wink.

    A classic ad hominem attack. Being the intelligent person that you are, you excel at this. But I will continue to hone in. So, I voted for Ron Paul. I don't care much for repubs, either, and you should know that by now since you are interested in my comments. Making assumptions about me and "my ilk" is not a good idea for you; and I'm sure you know what happens when you assume.
    I believe that the president did accomplish much of what he wanted to; he passed the stimulus bill, he passed financial reform, he passed the ACA and had many other "executive orders" that he signed. So, you believe the govt is necessary for us to "progress" as a nation and I just don't think that way. I don't trust the govt no matter who is in charge. You seem to believe in fantasyland where the govt can actually help and that's fine, I just don't concur.
    As far as your blatantly racist comment, again you are the one making assumptions about me so I will, again, tell you that I am a 44 year Jew who lived in Los Angeles my entire life until I recently moved to Atlanta. I have a black girlfriend and so while, yes, I know what you were saying (wink), it also offends me because you are stereotyping a group as all being the same when no group of people is the same.

    June 21, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. tom l.

    I would gladly accept your apology for making all of your wrong assumptions if you are woman enough to admit how wrong every sentence that you wrote truly was. But, I'm sure you'll probably make some other assumption, throw out an ad hominem attack and never acknowledge that your comment was not only racist, but you are they one who knows EXACTLY what you're talking about. Take a second to look in the mirror, because you are no better.

    June 21, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. m123

    For ripping Bush so many times on so many issues, Obama continues to follow Bush in basically all of his War on Terror policies.
    Welcome to reality

    June 21, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Muffy 7

    Does Obama know anyone except retreads from Bush days? I think that is part of his problem
    he has no contacts of his own.Maybe Hillary should have won.

    June 21, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Rusty Shackleford

    @ tom I
    Damn right I support him. We were better off back then than now.

    June 21, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Zooni

    More no change. Obama Cheney has made his decision.

    June 21, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Mark from Middle River

    Every year Obama redefines the definition of the word "change". Right now it is like a little girl going to a store and wondering if she wanted White Barbie or Black Barbie.

    June 21, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. tom l.

    Good point. There probably will be a lot of hypocrisy from the left. Not me, though. But I find it interesting that you won't acknowledge your hypocrisy. That's ok. For the past 3 weeks there has been a LOT of hypocrisy on both sides. But you dems here take the cake. All of the sudden, you're in favor of the govt spying on us, you don't care if the IRS singles out a particular group, you are all about defense, you don't care that 4 people died in Benghazi, you are all excited about the stock market going up. Shall I go on?

    June 21, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Just a thought

    Dominican Mama,

    Please don't waste your time responding to tom l. I get the strong impression this person needs feedback to validate his poorly formed arguments. Aside from that, I really enjoy your posts...keep 'em coming

    June 21, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. snowdogg

    Will the Repubs interfere with this?

    June 21, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    STOPPED numerous bills that your disaster of a president tried to pass, if many of them would have passed, our country would be even further in the toilet, and for that I think him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If that's the case, that McConnell led the charge to stop so many bills, then how can the right wing blame President Obama for enacting bad policies? I thought the right wing enforcers, like Mitch, had stopped his agenda in its' tracks.

    So, the policy that we have seen is actually a result of what McConnell has allowed to pass! Believe it or not, I would think that most liberals would agree with you. The only stuff that has passed is what McConnell has allowed to pass.

    June 21, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Sarah

    Funny how when Obama gets in trouble he either brings in Bush or Clinton! Nice try Barry, youre true colors have come out.

    June 21, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    The FBI and U.S authorities its time you deal decesively with Mr Snowden because he is a traitor,betrayer and untrusted element and mole.He not only endangered the lives of the Americans but the entire lives of the world population.And he is a disgrace to the entire intelligence community.

    June 21, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Wayne in Houston

    While I did not vote for BHO, let's get off his back. It seems that no matter what he does, there's something wrong with it. True, I know nothing much about Comey, but then again, what do we know about any candidate for any position until that person has been in the position for awhile?

    June 21, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    Obama: After bombing civilians, ignoring Guantanamo promise, spying on citizens, and harassing dissenters, what can I do to be even less deserving of the Peace Prize? Oh I know!...... Appoint a Bush guy that supports "indefinite detention and detainee treatment programs like waterboarding".

    What was the Change we were promised again?

    June 21, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC


    Funny how when Obama gets in trouble he either brings in Bush or Clinton! Nice try Barry, youre true colors have come out.
    Actually, he's playing the same game that he's used to beat back the Republicans during his first term. Have you ever heard the phrase "rope-a-dope"? You give someone too much of what they want until they self wear themselves down, and then you take that away and watch them self destruct.

    Republicans have blocked record numbers of appointments. This appointment is a conundrum for them. This is an candidate who they approved of back during the Bush years. So what road do they take now? They have to save face and block it, of course. And look foolish to the liberals and independents in the process. Or, they could simply approve and look foolish to their base.

    June 21, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. tom l.

    @just a thought,
    I have no idea what you mean by that. Again, here come the bullies! Never once addressing my very valid points. Tell me, how are my "arguments" poorly formed. Could it be that I can actually be intellectually honest since I voted for Ron Paul and don't support either party? I welcome your comments and would be very interested to hear more from you. If you don't want to "validate" me, that's fine. My feelings aren't hurt. The best part is that I have pointed out hypocrisy from people like you constantly and not one of you can do the same to me (except for when you make assumptions about me that turn out to be wildly incorrect).

    June 21, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. tom l.

    @just a thought,

    So do you support this waterboarding, guantanimo bay supporter who was just nominated by Obama?

    June 21, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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