When the news got leaked the previous month about James Comey being a likely choice of President Obama for the next FBI director, praise for previous attorney general’s deputy is bipartisan and quite universal.
Choice of president for a job which carries 10-year term earned high marks basically because a former attorney of US, Comey, is thought to be lawman’s lawman and who is quite above the politics.
Undoubtedly, on all the sides of political spectrum there is the incident in which Comey got involved with 9 years ago and which still resonates with the recent developments of news.
In the year 2004, while the attorney general Comey, an acting one, refused certifying legality of the aspects of National Security Agency’s surveillance program.
In order that Bush White House continues this program, the certification from attorney general is what was required. With the attorney general at that time, General John Ashcroft being hospitalized then, decision did fall to Comey.
Later, Ashcroft had the decision backed by Comey, the one to withdraw some early threat of resigning after President Bush agreed on restructuring the program.
2 former agents of FBI who themselves were considered seriously for directorship in past said that Comey’s choice is excellent.
A former governor of Oklahoma and former agent of FBI considered for this directorship back in 1987, said that it was good news and that Comey would say no when there’s something improper so it is credit for his leadership that Comey said no regarding such sensitive matter in Bush years.
Previously a special in-charge agent of offices of FBI in Philadelphia and Buffalo, Neil Welch was, in 1977, unanimous pick of FBI director search committee by President Jimmy Carter. The recommendation was rejected by Carter and instead, William Webster, the federal judge, was chosen.
Now retired and in Florida, it was told by Welch that certainly early reports do indicate Comey to be a person of high quality who had awesome legal experience along with proving himself a courageous man in his performance in hospital episode.
Though, as is mostly with federal appointments of high level, it means that not everyone really is pleased.
America’s FBI Agents Association publicly had endorsed the Republican Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan, chairman of House Intelligence Committee as well as former agent of FBI, to succeed the retiring Robert Mueller.
The former Republican Rep. Mike Oxley from Ohio, himself former agent, told that the former agents do possess necessary DNA that is acquired by them at FBI Academy as well as offices of bureau. He said that is the reason Mike was supported by Association of FBI Agents.
The sources from White House said that before deciding on Comey, choice for directorship got down to Lisa Monaco (adviser for president’s counterterrorism) and Comey.
Due to her closeness with Mueller and Obama, Monaco was extensively seen as front-runner. But also because of such closeness, Monaco might have gone through same grilling in Senate process of confirmation like that faced by the former adviser of counterterrorism, John Brennan, at the time he got named as CIA director.
There happens to be the non-partisanship aura around Comey, in contrast.
In fact, there hasn’t been any FBI director so closely tied with appointing president’s opposition party, like Comey is.
Though surely there are going to be some violent confirmation fights for nominees of Obama, there are all signs about Comey not being among them.