In case you hadn’t heard, the current FBI director will complete his service in early September. President Obama will soon nominated James Comey to serve as the director. Comey is a lifelong Republican and former Justice Department official during Bush II’s administration, a fact that has gotten some attention.
Most famously, Comey was the acting Attorney General in 2004 when Alberto Gonzalez accosted then-Attorney General in an ICU to try to get authorization for the warrantless wiretapping program which the Department of Justice had concluded was illegal. The incident is demonstrative of the general atmosphere of the Bush administration, with its intense self-righteousness and little regard for legal niceties or, in this case, even basic human courtesy. All was to be sacrificed to the elusive goal of total security.
The FBI is a necessary but often troubling institution with a more-than-checkered history (see: Hoover, J. Edgar). But if you want to get a read on why I think Comey will be an excellent director, watch his 2007 testimony about this incident in the hospital room (embedded below or available here). All of his instincts then and afterwards strike me as spot-on.