Speaking at a White House ceremony Friday, Obama praised Comey's "fierce independence and deep integrity" and his ability to handle challenges, a report said.

James Comey nominated as new FBI director
James Comey (Pic - AFP)

Comey was the number 2 official in former president George W Bush's Justice Department.

If approved by Congress, Comey will replace incumbent Director Robert Mueller, whose term was extended at Obama's request by two years and is scheduled to expire in September.