Several news agencies cited two anonymous sources saying that Comey, who used to serve as Deputy Attorney General under former President George W. Bush, is much likely to become Obama’s choice. Another source noted that Comey will be chosen over top White House top counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco.
Lisa Monaco emerged as an instrumental aide to the U.S. president during the Boston Marathon bombings last month, also had been under consideration.
If confirmed by the Senate, Comey would replace FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has been the chief of the agency since just before the September 11, 2001, attacks. Mueller is expected to step down this fall.
The White House would not comment on Obama’s decision, but one insider told reporters that Obama had been leaning toward Comey in recent days. It is also unclear when an announcement would be made.
While serving as assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mr Comey handled the Khobar Towers bombing case that arose out of an attack on a U.S. military facility in Saudi Arabia in 1996. That attack took lives of 17 soldiers, reminds Reuters.
The predicted nominee gained notoriety for refusing in 2004 to certify the legal aspects of National Security Agency domestic surveillance during a stint as acting attorney general while John Ashcroft was hospitalized.
“That refusal prompted senior White House officials, counsel Alberto Gonzales and chief of staff Andrew Card, to try to persuade Ashcroft to sign the certification. Comey, who was in the room, said Ashcroft refused,” the agency reports.
Meanwhile, the U.S. president is on a business trip to the state of New Jersey. He reunited with the state’s governor to promote the recovery of the Jersey Shore from the aftereffects of Sandy.
The two leaders, Obama tall and lanky and Christie mid-height and round, gave each other a high-five, and then the president referred to Christie’s re-election campaign, Reuters reports.
“That’s because he’s running for office,” President Obama explained to groups of tourists, who recorded it all on their smartphones. He also received the prize for Christie’s performance – a stuffed bear. Then they worked the crowd together.
The two leaders shared one stage to deliver their speeches a few miles up the coast in Asbury Park. The New Jersey governor indirectly referred to the Republican criticism he encountered late last year for praising Obama’s concern for the state when he said that Shore communities had rallied together in response to the storm.
“Everybody came together, Republicans, Democrats, independents; we all came together because New Jersey is more important and our citizens are more important than any kind of politics at all,” he said.
Though Christie supported the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who was eclipsed by the Democratic incumbent in the last year’s elections, his compliments to the president for his speedy response to the consequences of themassive storm were seen as a boost to Obama.
The destructive “superstorm” blasted through eight Northeastern U.S. states on October 30, killing dozens of people, battering coastal neighborhoods and forcing mass evacuations.