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Extension of FBI Director Mueller's term gets bipartisan launch in Senate

May 26, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
  • FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III (Jason Reed / Reuters )

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would grant President Obama's request to extend Robert Mueller's term as FBI director.

Obama asked for the two-year extension earlier this month, calling Mueller the "gold standard for leading the bureau."

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa brought the legislation along with Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) of the Intelligence Committee.

"He has characteristically answered duty’s call and indicated his willingness to continue his service. We should fulfill our duty, as well, and join together without delay to secure the continuity and stability that is demanded at this time, and that is needed to keep our country safe," Leahy said in a statement.

Even as he co-sponsors the legislation, Grassley signaled his reluctance.

"The 10-year term for an FBI director is good for the agency and our country. It was designed to insulate the FBI director from the political process and ensure that no one director amass too much power," he said. "It has worked for 35 years. But, we live in extraordinary times."

Mueller was appointed by George W. Bush in 2001, and he took office just one week before the 9/11 attacks.

The Obama administration had been considering a slate of candidates, including New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and U.S. Atty. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, for the post, but failed to settle on a candidate.

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