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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Comey’s Journey to FBI Director Began in Westport

The fast-track journey to the FBI director’s job for James Comey —- fired late today by President Trump —- began almost four years ago when he was a Westport resident.

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Jim and Patrice Comey hold hands as “God Bless America” is sung at his October 2013 installation ceremony as FBI director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) C-SPAN photo

That was when the rumors became public that President Obama would be appointing him to the job. There had been rumors two years earlier, too, but Congress extended Robert Mueller’s job by two years.

Comey had moved to Westport in 2010, buying a three-acre, seven-bedroom home at 6 Westway Road in the Greens Farms section for $3,050,000. He had just taken a position with Westport-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates as general counsel.

He had left that job in 2013 and was teaching at Columbia Law School when he traveled from his Westport home in early May that year to meet with the president at the White House to discuss the job, The New York Times reported at the time.

Shortly afterward, Comey was told that he was Obama’s choice, and they met again for a further discussion, the Times said.

When Obama installed Comey as director in a public ceremony at FBI headquarters in October 2013,the president disclosed that Comey won out over other candidates in large part because of his family. In response, Comey said it was his family that made him apply for the job.

“I’ll tell you I interviewed a number of extraordinary candidates for this job, all with sterling credentials,” Obama said.

“But what gave me confidence that this was the right man for the job wasn’t his degrees and it wasn’t his resume; it was in talking to him and seeing his amazing family, a sense that this [is] somebody who knows what’s right and what’s wrong, and is willing to act on that basis every single day.”

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Patrice Comey (2nd l) and her five children — Maurene, Katherine, Brien, Claire and Abby — had front row seats for the June 2013 White House Rose Garden announcement of James Comey of Westport as FBI Director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo from White House video

During his remarks, Comey turned to his wife Patrice, whom he met while they were freshmen at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and said she and their five children were responsible for him being there that day.

“And to my five troops and my amazing bride, who talked me into being interviewed for this job — of course, with the caveat that she’d be okay because the President would never pick me — I got to tell you, this is your last chance to talk to him about it,” he said.

On being appointed by Obama and taking office in September 2013, Comey received a $3.07 million payout from Bridgewater, according to paperwork he filed with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Upon taking the job, he reportedly told friends he intended to keep his Greens Farms home. Three of his five children had been or were students at Greens Farms Academy.

Occasionally the 6-foot-8 Comey was seen around town, easy to spot. Early on, he made a trip to Westport police headquarters to introduce himself to officers.

A FBI contingent kept discreet watch over his Westport home.

In April 2014, Comey headed FBI dignitaries at an overflow funeral service for Susan Walton Wynkoop of Westport at the Southport Congregational Church. Wynkoop was one of the first women to be hired as an FBI special agent and was a former president of the Westport Historical Society.

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FBI Director James Comey addresses the 2015 Greens Farms Academy graduation. (See video here) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

In June 2015, Comey gave the commencement speech at Greens Farms Academy when daughter Claire Collin Comey graduated. (See WestportNow June 4, 2015)

That month, he put the Westport house on the market. The original asking price was $3,395,000. It finally sold in January of this year for $2,475,000.

Before Bridgewater, Comey had been general counsel at Lockheed Martin, the defense contractor, since 2005.

Comey was the seventh director in FBI history. He served as deputy attorney general from December 2003 through August 2005 under President George W. Bush.

He was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York before that. It was on his watch that the federal government indicted then Westport resident Martha Stewart on charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice.

Just last week, answering a question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal whether he regretted any of his actions or would have done anything differently during the Hillary Clinton email controversy, Comey told a Senate committee hearing:

“The honest answer is no. I’ve asked myself that a million times because, Lordy, has this been painful. The only thing I regret is maybe answering the phone when they recruited me to be FBI director and I was living happily in Connecticut.”

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Posted 05/09/17 at 09:15 PM  Permalink



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