Politics

May 30, 2013

Obama considers Republican FBI head

The former Justice Department official is seen as unmoved by political pressures.

The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

James Comey
click image to enlarge

James Comey gestures during a June 2004 news conference in Washington. According to people familiar with the decision process, it looks likely that, in a bipartisan move, President Obama will nominate Comey to lead the FBI.

The Associated Press

Comey, who is married and has five children, could not be reached at home or work Wednesday for comment. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and the University of Chicago Law School.

Comey's objection to the warrantless wiretapping -- he told Congress that he would have resigned had the technique continued -- was not his only brush with Bush-era policies. He also opposed the approval of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA. He said at the time that the Justice Department would eventually be ashamed of its legal backing when the world learned about the methods, which included waterboarding.

At the same time, in January 2005, he invoked the state secrets privilege in the civil case of a Syrian Canadian who was sent to Damascus in 2002 to be interrogated and was ultimately tortured.

Comey's role in that episode elicited some criticism from civil liberties groups.

"James Comey's nomination should raise serious concerns, and his role in the Bush administration needs to be examined," said Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "We need to know the full story of his role in the torture memos. It does not sound like a great nomination. Recycling Bush people is not a good guarantee for the protection of civil liberties."

Comey later came under criticism from some Bush administration officials for his role in selecting Patrick Fitzgerald to lead the special investigation into the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a probe that led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's adviser Scooter Libby.

Comey prosecuted numerous terrorism cases while in New York and created a specialized unit to go after international drug cartels. While in Virginia, he handled the case that arose out of the 1996 bombing of a U.S. military facility in Saudi Arabia.

Comey has also prosecuted a variety of other types of cases, including the 1993 racketeering and murder trial of New York mob boss John Gambino.

Comey left the Justice Department in 2005 and served as a senior vice president and general counsel at the defense contractor Lockheed Martin until 2010. In June 2010, Comey joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund with $75 billion in investments for clients ranging from foreign governments to universities.

In January, he left the hedge fund and now teaches national security law at Columbia Law School in New York.

 

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