James Comey confirmed as FBI director

July 29, 2013

FBI Director nominee James Comey has been confirmed. (Evan Vucci/AP)

The Senate has confirmed James Comey as the new director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by a 93 to 1 margin.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had placed a hold on Comey's nomination over questions about the bureau's use of drones on U.S. soil and the policies surrounding that use. After receiving a response to his concerns from the FBI detailing the "limited" use of surveillance drones, Paul released his hold.

"The FBI today responded to my questions on domestic use of surveillance drones by saying that they don't necessarily need a warrant to deploy this technology. I disagree with this interpretation. However, given the fact that they did respond to my concerns over drone use on U.S. soil, I have decided to release my hold on the pending FBI director nominee," Paul said in a statement explaining his decision.

The Kentucky senator had deemed previous responses to his questions insufficient. He was the only senator to vote against Comey's confirmation; two senators voted "present."

“It is a shame that such an important and highly qualified nominee to lead the FBI had to wait an unprecedented 38 days to be confirmed, but I am glad that Senators finally came together to ensure that the FBI has a confirmed leader at the helm,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who presided over Comey's confirmation hearings.

Comey, 52, a former senior Justice Department official, will replace Robert S. Mueller III, who is leaving the agency after a dozen years.

Comey was at the center of some of the most bruising debates over counterterrorism during the Bush administration and established a reputation as a fierce defender of the law and the integrity of the Justice Department regardless of the political pressures of the moment.

He left the Justice Department in 2005 and served as a senior vice president and general counsel at the defense contractor Lockheed Martin until 2010. In June 2010, Comey joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund with $75 billion in investments for clients including universities and foreign governments.

Comey left the hedge fund in January and has been teaching national security law at Columbia Law School in New York.

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Aaron Blake | July 29, 2013