Senate confirms Comey to be new FBI director


FBI director nominee James Comey testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. July 9. 2013. The Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved the nomination of James Comey to be director of the FBI, clearing the way for a full Senate vote. (Evan Vucci/AP)

The Senate on Monday confirmed James Comey as the new director of the FBI 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.”

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.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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