WASHINGTON — Former Pennsylvania Gov. Richard L. Thornburgh has turned down an offer to become director of the FBI, Reagan Administration officials said Friday, and they vowed to continue the search for a qualified successor to William H. Webster.
The 2-month-old search already has taken longer than most officials expected.
Reluctant to Quit Firm
Thornburgh, who began practicing law in Pittsburgh last January after serving eight years as governor, declined comment. But David Kosick, a spokesman, said that Thornburgh was reluctant to abandon his commitment to the law firm, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, and to Harvard University, where he has agreed to accept a part-time position as director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Served at Justice Department
Before his election as Republican governor in 1978, Thornburgh was chief of the Justice Department's criminal division during the Gerald R. Ford Administration. He previously served six years as U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh.
D. Lowell Jensen, a former Reagan appointee at the Justice Department and now a federal judge in San Francisco, had been considered the leading candidate for FBI directorship after the President nominated Webster as CIA director on March 3. But sources said that Jensen decided against leaving California, where he had spent most of his career as a prosecutor.