President Obama has announced that he plans to nominate a Justice Department official from the Bush administration as the next in line directing the FBI. Many see this as a move to hopefully smooth things over with the Republicans. Past experience shows that James B. Comey is a man who stands behind the law first. From the Washington Post:
Comey was famously involved in a 2004 hospital-room confrontation with White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and the president’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr. The two White House officials were attempting to persuade Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who was recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder, to reauthorize a controversial warrantless domestic eavesdropping program.
Comey, who was acting attorney general in Ashcroft’s absence, had refused to agree to extend the program. When he learned that the White House was attempting to go around him and get the ill Ashcroft to sign off on an extension, Comey rushed to George Washington University Medical Center, arriving just before Gonzales and Card.
Comey explained to Ashcroft what was happening and, when the White House officials arrived, the attorney general raised himself up and said he never should have authorized the program. He gestured at Comey and said, “There is the attorney general,” according to an account by former Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman.
Given his credentials and the current political battles in Congress it would seem that Obama is making a wise choice. Picking a Republican, and someone who is known for integrity may lend the administration some integrity to help weather the constant stream of scandals.