Two former Bush administration officials are under serious consideration to succeed Robert Mueller as FBI director, according to people familiar with the search, the Associated Press reported. Muller’s 10-year, nonrenewable term ends Sept. 4.
James Comey served as Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005. He faced controversy during his tenure. In 2005 Comey unsuccessfully tried to limit tough interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists, including waterboarding, which many described as torture.
In January 2006, the New York Times reported that while Comey was serving as Acting Attorney General, he refused to “certify” the legality of central aspects of the NSA domestic wiretapping program, which was required for the program to continue. Then-White House Chief of Staff Andy Card went to Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital bedside to get his approval. Initially, Comey threatened to resign if the White House ignored DOJs legal conclusions on the wiretapping issue. He finally withdrew his threat.
From January 2002 until his confirmation in December 2003 Comey served as the Manhattan U.S. Attorney. From 1996 to 2001 Comey was the Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. From 1987 to 1993, Comey worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. During his tenure he served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. Early in his career he was an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in their New York office.
After leaving DOJ, Comey has served as general counsel and a senior vice president of Lockheed Martin and currently is at Bridgewater Associates LP.
Kenneth Wainstein served as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security from September 2006 to March 2008. During his service, Wainstein oversaw the creation of the National Security Division, the first new division at DOJ in nearly 50 years.
Wainstein left DOJ to become March 30, 2008, to become assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. He currently is a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.
From May 2004 to September 2006, Wainstein served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. From March 2003 to May 2004 Wainstein was the chief of staff to the FBI director. He previously served as FBI general counsel from July 2002 to March 2003. From August 2001 to July 2002 Wainstein was the director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. He also served as interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from April 2001 to August 2001.
He joined DOJ in 1989 when he was hired as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He moved to the D.C. office in 1992. During the nine years he was in the office he served as a line prosecutor and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section; Deputy Chief of the Superior Court Division; and Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney.
According to the AP, the fact that both served in a Republican administration is a key factor in their consideration, as Republicans have gained enough seats in the Senate to be a major factor in confirmations.