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Obama praises FBI chief Comey, pledges to shield agency from politics

Updated Oct. 28, 2013 at 3:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- President Obama praised James Comey as the new FBI director and pledged to keep politics from interfering with the FBI mission Monday.

"It's just about impossible to find a matter of justice he has not tackled, and it's hard to imagine somebody who is more uniquely qualified to lead a bureau that covers all of it -- traditional threats like violent and organized crime to the constantly changing threats like terrorism and cybersecurity," Obama said during the installation ceremony of Comey as FBI director.

Comey took office in September.

Obama said Comey had broad appeal and experience, having served as a former deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Obama also pledge to fight to restore funding lost because of the sequestration "because our country asks and expects a lot from you and we should make sure you've got the resources you need to do the job, especially when many of your colleagues put their lives on the line on a daily basis, all to serve and protect our fellow citizens" Obama said. "The least we can do is make sure you've got the resources for it and that your operations are not disrupted because of politics in this town."

Comey said last month he was surprised at the impact cuts mandated by the sequester have had on the agency, adding he may have to furlough the FBI's 36,000 employees for two weeks without pay.

The FBI has been in a hiring freeze and may be required to cut its budget by 10 percent, or $800 million, which Comey said would force him to eliminate 3,000 positions.

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