President Barack Obama will officially nominate James Comey as the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday. He will succeed outgoing director Robert Mueller, whose tenure began days before September 11, 2001.
Comey, a Republican, served as the deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and as the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.
As U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2002 to 2003, he prosecuted WorldCom executives for fraud, Martha Stewart for lying about insider trading, mobster John Gambino for racketeering, and handled the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing investigation.
Mueller was confirmed by a 98-0 Senate vote, and in 2010 President Obama announced plans to extend Mueller's statutorily limited 10-year term to 12 years. Mueller will be remembered for overseeing the transition of the FBI from a white-collar crime, drugs, and gang-busting organization to one of the nation's lead agencies in the counter-terrorism effort.
Mueller's greatest challenge as director came in March 2004 when he and Comey agreed that a secret National Security Agency domestic surveillance program was illegal, despite the insistence of White House emissaries Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales, who tried to have Attorney General John Ashcroft reauthorize the program from his hospital bed.
Most recently Director Mueller acknowledged that the FBI has deployed drones to conduct surveillance in the U.S. He also received a lot of criticism when he was unable to provide details on the FBI investigation into the IRS's targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups.