Miller: FBI head nominee close to "perfect" choice

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U.S. Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey announces federal grand jury indictments for three British nationals during a news conference April 12, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

(CBS News) President Obama is set to nominate former Bush administration official James Comey to head up the FBI. Comey, a former deputy attorney general, served under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2006. CBS News senior correspondentJohn Miller, a former deputy director of the FBI, calls the likely nomination "as perfect a choice" as the White House could come up with, "given the politics of it."

"What you don't want ... is a messy confirmation with the FBI director, who has to be acceptable to all parties and completely independent," Miller explained, noting, "He gets a 10-year term."

Comey -- who was firmly against warrantless wire tapping and enhanced interrogation techniques during his time in the Bush Administration -- is an acceptable choice to Republican lawmakers, as a Republican himself. And, Miller said, "for Democrats, you get the deputy attorney general in the Bush Administration who made that midnight stand at the bedside of the attorney general and stood against the re-signing of the warrantless wire tap policies."

"He fought brutal interrogation policies and he was the guy who appointed the special prosecutor that ended up arresting the deputy chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney," Miller said.

The so-called bedside "midnight stand" was a March, 2004 incident at then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's bedside at George Washington University Hospital's intensive care unit. Comey has since testified that when he refused to re-certify the warrantless wiretapping program at the Bush Administration's request, White House officials attempted to get an ailing Ashcroft to sign off on the move. Comey confronted Bush's counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andy Card in Ashcroft's hospital room and maintained his stance against signing the wiretap policies.

Comey is a "measured individual who may be acceptable to both sides without a big fight," Miller said, adding that he has "a lot of integrity built into his reputation."