James Comey to Be Nominated as FBI Director
PHOTO: Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey at a hearing investigating the firings of U.S. attorneys, May 3, 2007.

Image credit: Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

The White House announced that Obama will officially nominate James Comey as the next FBI director.

The formal announcement will come Friday afternoon.

ABC News first reported at the end of May that Obama had settled on the former deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush to lead the agency.

In a statement, the White House said Comey will give the men and women of the FBI "the leadership of one of our nation's most skilled and respected national security and law enforcement professionals."

Comey will replace Robert Mueller, who has served for an unprecedented 12 years; he was first sworn in under President Bush a week before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Following the formal announcement, Comey will still have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Comey was serving as acting attorney general in 2004 when Attorney General John Ashcroft went into intensive care. During that time, Comey faced a tense standoff when White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales visited the ailing Ashcroft's hospital room to try to obtain reauthorization of the administration's terrorist surveillance program.

ABC's Arlette Saenz contributed to this report

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