Current Weather
The Spy FM

FBI Pick Is A Republican With Deep Roots In Law Enforcement

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
May 30, 2013

“Name any high office in federal law enforcement … odds are Jim Comey’s had it over the years.”

That’s some of what NPR’s Carrie Johnson had to say early Thursday on Morning Edition about the man who she has been told, by two sources with knowledge of the decision, will be President Obama’s choice to be the next director of the FBI.

Carrie broke the news about Comey on Wednesday evening. Then on Morning Edition, she added more details about the 52-year-old former deputy attorney general. For instance:

– In 2004, when Comey was the No. 2 official at Justice during the George W. Bush administration, he rushed to a Washington-area hospital to be by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s bedside. Comey helped thwart White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ attempt to pressure Ashcroft into reauthorizing a controversial wiretapping program.

As Carrie and The Atlantic Wire remind us, Comey later testified before Congress that, “I was angry. I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general.” At one point, he threatened to resign.

– It was Comey who expanded the mandate of a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. That probe led to the prosecution and conviction of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, for lying to investigators.

– Comey’s career also includes stints as the top prosecutor in New York City. While in that post, he prosecuted home styles guru and TV personality Martha Stewart for lying about stock trades. Before that, while working as a prosecutor in Virginia, Comey worked to take guns off the streets of Richmond.

If nominated and confirmed, Comey would replace FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is scheduled to depart in September. Mueller’s 10-year term expired in 2011, but was extended for two years when finding a replacement proved too difficult.

Some of Thursday’s related stories focus on the political angles related to the choice:

– “By choosing Mr. Comey, a Republican, Mr. Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty winning confirmation of some important nominees. At the same time, Mr. Comey’s role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration — in which he refused to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a program for eavesdropping without warrants when he was serving as acting attorney general — should make him an acceptable choice to Democrats.” (The New York Times)

– “The expected nomination would bestow an exceedingly important and sensitive post on a registered Republican who twice served as an appointee of President George W. Bush: first as U.S. attorney in Manhattan and second as deputy attorney general. However, Comey is widely viewed as an apolitical prosecutor and is best known for rebuffing pressure from Bush’s White House to approve the reauthorization of a terrorist surveillance-related program in 2004. (Politico)

– “The expected nomination of Comey, a Republican, was seen in some quarters as a bipartisan move by a president besieged by Republicans in Congress. But Chuck Hagel’s prior service as a Republican senator from Nebraska did not spare him from a bruising nomination battle for secretary of defense.” (The Washington Post)

As for issues that might raise questions about a Comey nomination, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said Wednesday that “if he’s nominated, he would have to answer questions about his recent work in the hedge fund industry. … The administration’s efforts to criminally prosecute Wall Street for its part in the economic downturn have been abysmal, and his agency would have to help build the case against some of his colleagues.” As The Associated Press notes, “Comey was general counsel to Connecticut-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates from 2010 until earlier this year and now lectures at Columbia Law School.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

12PM to 1PM The Moth Radio Hour

The Moth Radio Hour

The Moth Radio Hour features true stories told live on stage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment.

Listen Live Now!

1PM to 2PM Seasonal Shows

Seasonal Shows

View the program guide!

2PM to 3PM The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

Think NPR meets Vanity Fair. In each episode, hosts Rico Gagliano & Brendan Francis Newnam talk with some of the world's most interesting celebrities, and along the way equip you with bad jokes, fresh drink recipes, hot food finds, odd news stories... and etiquette tips from the likes of Henry Rollins and Dick Cavett. It's all you need to get an edge in your weekend conversations. Past guests include Michelle Williams, Judd Apatow, Kid Cudi and Sir Richard Branson. Wallpaper magazine calls The Dinner Party one of the Top 40 Reasons To Live In The USA.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center