Robert Mueller

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Robert Mueller

Assumed office 
September 4, 2001
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Deputy Bruce Gebhardt
John Pistole
Timothy Murphy
Sean Joyce
Preceded by Thomas Pickard (Acting)
Personal details
Born Robert Swan Mueller III
(1944-08-07) August 7, 1944 (age 74)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Princeton University
New York University
University of Virginia
Religion Episcopalian[1]
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Flag of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Unit 3RDMARDIV.png 3rd Marine Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Vietnam gallantry cross-w-palm-3d.svg Gallantry Cross

Robert Swan Mueller III (born August 7, 1944) is the sixth and current Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Early life[edit]

Mueller was born the August 7 1944 in New York City, New York, the son of Alice C. (née Truesdale) and Robert Swan Mueller.[2] His maternal great-grandfather was railroad executive William Truesdale; his ancestry includes German, Scottish, and English.[3] Mueller grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A 1962 graduate of St. Paul's School, he went on to receive an A.B. from Princeton University in 1966, an M.A. in international relations from New York University in 1967, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.

Military service[edit]

Mueller joined the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an officer for three years, leading a rifle platoon of the 3rd Marine Division during the Vietnam War. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Law work[edit]

Following his military service, Mueller continued his studies at the University of Virginia Law School, eventually serving on the Law Review. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree, Mueller worked as a litigator in San Francisco until 1976.

He then served for 12 years in United States Attorney offices. He first worked in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, where he rose to be chief of the criminal division, and 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.

FBI appointment[edit]

Mueller was nominated for the position of FBI Director on July 5, 2001.[4] He and two other candidates were up for the job at the time, but he was always considered the front runner.[5] 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.[6][7] The vote on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001 passed unanimously, 98-0.[8] 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.[9] The Senate approved this request on July 27, 2011.[10]

Domestic wiretapping investigation[edit]

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.[11] 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.[11] The extent of the National Security Agency's domestic warrantless eavesdropping under the President's Surveillance Program is still largely unknown.


  1. Mayer, Jane, "The Dark Side", 2008. p. 33
  2. "Robert Swan Mueller III". Chicago Sun-Times. July 30, 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-02. [dead link]
  3. "Ancestry of Robert Mueller". Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  4. "Remarks by the President in Nominating Robert S. Mueller as Director of the FBI". The White House. July 5, 2001. Retrieved 28 September 2007. 
  5. "Bush Names Mueller FBI Director". United Press. June 6, 2001. Retrieved 10 June 2006. 
  6. "Senate hearing set July 30 for FBI choice Mueller". CNN. 2001-06-18. Retrieved 2006-06-10. 
  7. "FBI director-designate has prostate cancer". CNN. 2001-06-13. Retrieved 2006-06-10. 
  8. "Robert S. Mueller, III, to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" (Plain Text). United States Senate. August 2, 2001. Retrieved 10 June 2006. 
  9. "FBI Director to stay in post for another 2 years". CNN. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  10. "Senate Extends Term of F.B.I. Director". New York Times. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  11. a b Eggen, Dan; Kane, Paul (2007-05-16). "Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-09-28.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "WashingtonPost20070516" defined multiple times with different content

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Thomas Pickard
 Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation