Bush Nominates New FBI Director

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:19 PM EDT


(CNSNews.com) - "He has my full confidence," said President Bush Thursday, speaking of his choice to be the new FBI Director, Robert Mueller.

Mueller most recently served as the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, and he has extensive law enforcement experience. He also served in the administration of President George Bush - the current president's father.

The Senate must confirm his nomination before he takes over the FBI at a troubled time in the agency's history. He is expected to be easily confirmed and would be the sixth director of the FBI.

"I am deeply honored by the trust that President Bush has shown in nominating me. I look forward to working with the thousands of dedicated men and women who are agents and employees of the FBI to enforce our nation's laws fairly and with respect for the rights of all Americans, " said Mueller.

Current FBI Director Louis Freeh announced his resignation on May 1.

"As director, Mr. Mueller will succeed a good and honest man, Director Louis Freeh, who has my respect and the gratitude of our nation," the president said at a White House ceremony.

"The FBI has a great tradition that Mr. Mueller must now affirm and some important challenges he must confront. Like the Department of Justice, the FBI must remain independent of politics and uncompromising in its mission," Bush added.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday Mueller will undergo Senate confirmation hearings.

"I look forward to meeting with him," Leahy said in a statement from his Vermont office.

"When the administration completes its background check and the president forwards the nomination to the Senate, we will begin the confirmation process. I will be interested in hearing Mr. Mueller's views, his willingness to acknowledge and correct the bureau's problems and his ability to meet these challenges head on," he said.

Leahy added, "the new FBI director will inherit an agency with superb resources and capabilities, but it is also an agency beleaguered by a series of high-profile mistakes and by a culture that too often does not recognize and correct its errors. It will be the committee's job to determine if Mr. Mueller is the right person for the job."

The FBI came under fire earlier this year when it belatedly turned over thousands of pages of documents to lawyers for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh who was executed on June 11.

Last February, the FBI discovered that one of its own, veteran agent Robert Hanssen, had been spying for the Russians for more than 15 years.

One of Leahy's Republican committee colleagues, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is looking forward to meeting Mueller as well.
"I look forward to sitting down with Mr. Mueller and talking about the systemic problems with the FBI and the kinds of dramatic reforms that must be made in order to restore public confidence in federal law enforcement," Leahy said in a statement.

"I will carefully consider Mr. Mueller's nomination based on this meeting and the confirmation process conducted by the Judiciary Committee," he said.

"I want to make sure he's equipped to take on the serious problems facing new leadership at the FBI. There's a management culture with an air about it that the FBI can do no wrong. That attitude is at the root of the problems we've seen in high-profile cases," Leahy added.

"I'm also committed to a sustained oversight effort by Congress. We need to ride herd on the FBI and work closely with the new director to overhaul a law enforcement agency in crisis," Grassley concluded.

In 1990, Mueller was named assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division. While there, he supervised the prosecution of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and the investigation into the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Mueller also served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years, including one year of duty in Vietnam. He received the Bronze Star, two Navy commendation medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Mueller received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966 from Princeton University and a Master's degree in International Studies from New York University. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia in 1973. He was born on August 7, 1944, is married with two children and currently resides in San Francisco.

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