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“Without integrity, all is lost,” he said. “It is a gift that must be protected and earned every single day.”

A former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mr. Comey served as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration. Prior to his nomination, he had worked as general counsel for Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Senate approved Mr. Comey’s nomination in July by a vote of 93-1. The lone dissenter was Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, who objects to the agency’s drone surveillance program.

Robert S. Mueller III, who retired this year after 12 years at the FBI’s helm, was the bureau’s longest-serving director since J. Edgar Hoover, who served for 37 years. Mr. Comey actually took over the job Sept. 4.