President Obama paid tribute to his new FBI director, James Comey, at his official swearing-in ceremony Monday, calling him remarkably qualified to lead the agency.
“Jim has dedicated his life to defending our lives ... making sure that all Americans can trust the justice system to protect our rights and our well-being,” Obama said at the FBI headquarters just a few blocks from the White House.
Obama said Comey would be a “remarkable new leader for this remarkable institution.”
Comey was a top Justice Department official in the Bush administration and took over last month for Robert Mueller, who stepped down after 12 years of leading the agency.
Obama listed Comey's career accomplishments at DOJ, recalling how he helped bring down the Gambino crime family, fought white-collar crime and delivered justice to terrorists.
“It's just about impossible to find a matter of justice he hasn't tackled and someone who isn't more uniquely qualified to lead the FBI,” said Obama. The president cited the challenges the agency faced “as it fights violent organized crime and the constantly changing threats like terrorism and cybersecurity.”
Obama also described Comey as a “famously cool character” and referred to Rudyard Kipling's poem “If” as exemplifying the new director’s cool-under-fire attitude.
Obama concluded his remarks by thanking Comey for accepting the role and praising the men and women of the FBI.
“I'm proud of your work,” he said. “You are the best of the best.”
The president also vowed to do everything to ensure the FBI had the resources necessary to carry out its work.
“Our country asks and expects a lot from you, and we should make sure you have the resources you need to do the job,” he said.
In his remarks, Comey thanked the president for appointing him and dedicated his remarks to honoring the bravery of the FBI’s employees.
“What makes the bravery of the men and women of the FBI so extraordinary is they know the danger they will confront and they raise their right hands and take an oath to do the job anyway,” he said.
Comey has taken over an agency that has shifted from primarily focusing on domestic crime to also fighting terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.