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Obama selects former Bush Justice Dept. official to head FBI

WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) — President Obama intends to nominate James Comey, a deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, to lead the FBI, The New York Times reported.

Comey, 52, most recently a general counsel for hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, is Obama’s choice to succeed Robert Mueller as FBI director, a source with knowledge of the selection told the newspaper.

Comey, a Republican, was a finalist for the position along with White House counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco.

The Obama administration delayed the announcement of Comey’s selection after the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, the newspaper said.

Comey played a critical role in thwarting White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card in 2004 from persuading Attorney General John Ashcroft — who was hospitalized and disoriented after emergency gall bladder surgery — to reauthorize Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program. Ashcroft refused to reauthorize the program when Comey arrived at his hospital bed, and Bush later agreed to modify the program.

Comey received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1985 and was the No. 2 at the Justice Department from 2003-2005.

The law mandates Mueller, 68, leave his position by Sept. 4.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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