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June 20, 2013

President Obama to name Jim Comey as FBI director

President Obama on Friday will nominate Jim Comey to serve as FBI Director, the White House says, calling him "one of our nation’s most skilled and respected national security and law enforcement professionals."

Comey served as Deputy Attorney General in the George W. Bush administration and played a memorable role in 2004 when he out manuevered then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card who were rushing to former Attorney General's John Ashcroft's hospital bed to press him to re-certify the legality of a warrantless eavesdropping program. Ashcroft refused.

"I was angry. I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very seriously sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me," Comey recalled at a 2007 hearing. "I thought it was improper."

Comey, who'd assumed Ashcroft's powers on an acting basis, had raced ahead of Gonzales and Card to the George Washington University Hospital, his car's emergency lights flashing, and dashed up the stairs to Ashcroft's room, trailed by his security detail.

The White House said that Comey came to Washington to serve as deputy AG in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks after 15 years as a federal prosecutor, including several years as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The White House says Comey's public service along with private sector experiences in the defense and financial industries give him "a unique skill set and a deep understanding of the threats that criminals and terrorists pose to both our physical and economic security."

Comey has also served as a member of the Defense Legal Policy Board, a group charged with advising the Secretary of Defense on major defense policy issues. In that capacity, he has helped develop improvements to the military justice system’s performance with respect to crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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