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FBI Nominee Faces Questioning on Surveillance

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2004 file photo, Deputy Attorney General James Comey gestures during a news conference in Washington. President Barack Obama is preparing to nominate former Bush administration official James Comey to head the FBI, people familiar with the decision said Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 14, 2004 file photo, Deputy Attorney General James Comey gestures during a news conference in Washington. President Barack Obama is preparing to nominate former Bush administration official James Comey to head the FBI, people familiar with the decision said Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — James Comey, the Obama administration’s nominee to become the next FBI director, is facing his Senate confirmation hearing.

From surveillance to sensitive criminal investigations, Comey would be stepping into the job at a critical time for the bureau and its 13,000 agents.

Comey spent 15 years as a federal prosecutor before serving in the George W. Bush administration, where he is best known for facing down the White House over a warrantless surveillance program. The White House made changes in the program when Comey and current FBI Director Robert Mueller threatened to resign.

The FBI Agents Association has told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy it supports Comey’s nomination.

Civil liberties groups are concerned that Comey signed off on abusive CIA interrogation of terrorist suspects during the Bush administration.

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