President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller to receive an update on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the Oval Office, April 15, 2013. Seated with the President are Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller to receive an update on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the Oval Office, April 15, 2013. Seated with the President are Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

THE analysis from the New York Times of what’s being reported, that James Comey will be appointed to be director of the F.B.I., is not just a “strong statement about bipartisanship,” but a revealing moment by President Obama we haven’t seen from him in literally years.

President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former hedge fund executive who served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the selection. [New York Times]

My brother worked with John Ashcroft as his assistant attorney general in Missouri. Needless to say my political leanings are well away from John Ashcroft, but my brother Larry has proved to me that his former boss is not the small man that his boss, George W. Bush, represented. Larry also provided written witness when Ashcroft was up for Attorney General regarding the desegregation battle in Missouri, when Ashcroft was being accused of racism. It’s why I know that though Ashcroft was blinded by ideology, on some matters he could not be moved.

This particular moment was defining for Mr. Comey, the instant where he was willing to give his resignation rather than to join the corrupt actions being suggested by Messrs. Card and Gonzales of the Bush administration.

From the New York Times tonight comes a reminder:

According to testimony Mr. Comey provided to Congress in 2007, Mr. Ashcroft rose weakly from his hospital bed when Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card approached and refused to approve the program.

“I was angry,” Mr. Comey said in his testimony. “I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me. I thought he had conducted himself in a way that demonstrated a strength I had never seen before, but still I thought it was improper.”

Current F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller has taken the bureau to a place that Louis Freeh could not. Freeh was a man driven, as far as I’m concerned, by political motives, someone who courted the limelight and the favor of those in power more than most.

Robert Mueller was none of these things, as far as I could tell.

James Comey is in the tradition of the undeniably uncorruptable.

In a time of swirling scandal, it is a message from the President Obama that integrity still matters. If you’re cynical, which is understandable, it’s another way for President Obama to signal he’s going out on his own terms, not those of the scandal mongers.

“In his ten years at the FBI, Bob Mueller has set the gold standard for leading the Bureau. Given the ongoing threats facing the United States, as well as the leadership transitions at other agencies like the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, I believe continuity and stability at the FBI is critical at this time. Bob transformed the FBI after September 11, 2001 into a pre-eminent counterterrorism agency, he has shown extraordinary leadership and effectiveness at protecting our country every day since. He has impeccable law enforcement and national security credentials, a relentless commitment to the rule of law, unquestionable integrity and independence, and a steady hand that has guided the Bureau as it confronts our most serious threats. I am grateful for his leadership, and ask Democrats and Republicans in Congress to join together in extending that leadership for the sake of our nation’s safety and security.” – President Barack Obama