President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next FBI director is Jim Comey, a rarity among Republicans. He is pro-marriage equality. He is one of the more than 100 Republicans who filed an amicus brief this year urging the US Supreme Court to strike down California’s Prop 8.
The brief reads, in part, that “the right to marry indisputably falls within the narrow band of specially protected liberties that this Court ensures are protected from unwarranted curtailment.”
Comey’s nomination comes at a time when the nation is rocked by the recent rerevelation of the National Security Administration’s electronic surveillance program. Comey actually stood up against President George W. Bush’s administration in 2004 when he refused to certify the legal aspects of the NSA domestic surveillance program while he was the acting attorney general. At the time, Attorney General John Ashcroft was in hospital with pancreatitis.
Comey said that it was “probably the most difficult night of my professional life,” during a 2007 Senate hearing.
If confirmed, Comey, 52, would replace Robert Mueller, who has been the FBI chief since 2001. Mueller is planning to step down this fall. Comey served as deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005 and was deeply involved in anti-terrorism efforts. Prior to that, he was a federal prosecutor for fifteen years including in the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of Virginia.
He secured indictments in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. The bombing killed seventeen US servicemembers. He also lead the prosecution of Martha Stewart on insider trading charges.