New York Times: Obama has Settled on New FBI Director

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U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to nominate a Republican who served under George W. Bush in the Justice Department as the new director of the FBI, The New York Times reported.

James Comey, 52, is a former hedge fund manager who now teaches at Columbia Law School. He would replace Robert Mueller, who by law must step down in September as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Times quoted two people with knowledge of the president's selection, although the White House declined to comment late Wednesday.

As Comey is a Republican, choosing him would be yet another stab at bipartisanship on the part of the Democratic president, who is seeing many of his initiatives stymied by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The Times described Comey as palatable to Democrats because in 2004 he stood up to White House aides as acting attorney general and refused to renew authorization for a program to eavesdrop on people without warrants.

It is not clear when Obama will make the nomination, the Times said.

Mueller took over the FBI after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and transformed the agency from one that focused largely on white collar crime and drugs to an intelligence and counter-terrorism tool.

Comey has served as general counsel for a large hedge fund in Connecticut called Bridgewater Associates, and at the FBI will have to grapple with budget woes stemming from across the board spending cuts.

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