Obama to pick James Comey for FBI head: Report


The FBI says it is keeping a closer watch on sovereign citizen extremists. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN



US President Barack Obama is expected to choose Republican James Comey to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a source told The New York Times late Wednesday.

The report could not be independently confirmed, but it widely known that Comey is a top candidate for the position. 

A former hedge fund manager and Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, 52-year-old Comey would replace outgoing director Robert S. Mueller III. 

Comey made a name for himself back in 2004, when he challenged authorities over the authorization of Bush's disputed secret wiretapping program, according to The Wall Street Journal

NYT described Comey as "a critical player" during the period, pointing to a pivotal hospital scene in which sick Attorney General John Ashcroft was pressed to reauthorize the controversial program. As soon as he heard what was happening, Comey reportedly hurried to the hospital to offset the pressure. After the episode, he was "was widely praised for putting the law over politics," according to NYT

If chosen, Comey would take over after a 12-year run by Mueller, who lead the department in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said WSJ

The head of the FBI generally serves for 10 years, but lawmakers granted the Obama administration's request for a two-year extension in 2011. Mueller's term expires for real in September. 

Sources close to the matter told WSJ Comey had already been interviewed for the job and said Obama will probably make the announcement in late May or early June.