Robert Swan Mueller III (born August 7, 1944) is the sixth and current Director of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
in 1982, he moved to Boston to work in the office of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts as Assistant United States Attorney, where he investigated and prosecuted major financial fraud, terrorism and public corruption cases, as well as narcotics conspiracies and international money launderers.
After serving as a partner at the Boston law firm of Hill and Barlow, Mueller returned to government service. In 1989, he served in the United States Department of Justice as an assistant to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. The following year he took charge of its criminal division. During his tenure, he oversaw prosecutions that included Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie bombing) case, and the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. In 1991, he was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
In 1993, Mueller became a partner at Boston's Hale and Dorr, specializing in white-collar crime litigation. He returned to public service in 1995 as senior litigator in the homicide section of the District of Columbia United States Attorney's Office. In 1998, Mueller was named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California and held that position until 2001.
Federal Bureau of Investigation[edit source | editbeta]
Mueller was nominated for the position of FBI Director on July 5, 2001. He and two other candidates were up for the job at the time, but he was always considered the front runner. Washington lawyer George J. Terwilliger III and veteran Chicago prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer Dan Webb were up for the job but both pulled out from consideration around mid-June. Confirmation hearings for Mueller, in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, were quickly set for July 30, only three days before his prostate cancer surgery. The vote on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001, passed unanimously, 98–0. He then served as Acting Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice for several months, before officially becoming the FBI Director on September 4, 2001, just one week before the September 11 attacks against the United States. On May 12, 2011, it was reported that President Obama had asked Director Mueller to continue at the helm of the FBI for another 2 years beyond his current term, set to expire on September 4, 2011. The Senate approved this request on July 27, 2011.
Domestic wiretapping investigation[edit source | editbeta]
Director Mueller, along with Acting Attorney General James B. Comey, offered to resign from office in March 2004 if the White House overruled a Department of Justice finding that domestic wiretapping without a court warrant was unconstitutional. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft denied his consent to attempts by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to waive the Justice Department ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to proceed. On March 12, 2004, President George W. Bush gave his support to changes in the program sufficient to satisfy the concerns of Mueller, Ashcroft and Comey. The extent of the National Security Agency's domestic warrantless eavesdropping under the President's Surveillance Program is still largely unknown.