Mueller III, Robert S

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Mueller III, Robert S.


Robert S. Mueller, III assumed his current position as sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 4, 2001, exactly one week before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.

Mueller was born in New York City and raised near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Princeton University in 1966 and completed a master's degree in International Relations at New York University in 1967. After completing his education, Mueller spent three years as an officer in the Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam, earning the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, a Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, and a Purple Heart. After returning to the United States, Mueller attended Virginia Law School, graduating with a J.D. in 1973. He worked as a litigator with a San Francisco law firm until 1976, and then spent 12 years working in the United States Attorney's Offices. While at the Northern District of California in San Francisco, he achieved the position of criminal division chief. In 1982, he assumed the Boston-based position of Assistant United States' Attorney. His primary areas of investigation and prosecution were terrorist and public corruption cases, major financial fraud, international money laundering, and narcotics conspiracies. He spent a brief period as a partner in a Boston law firm before accepting the position of Assistant to Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh at the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) in 1989.

In 1990, Mueller took over responsibility for the criminal division. There, he oversaw the John Gotti crime boss prosecution, the case surrounding the bombing of Pan Am Lockerbie Flight 103, and the conviction of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. He was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1991. In 1993, he joined the Boston Law Firm of Hale and Dorr as a partner, specializing in white-collar crime. In 1995, he resumed public service as a senior litigator in the homicide division of the District of Columbia United States Attorney's Office. From 1998 until 2001, Mueller was posted in San Francisco as the United States Attorney. Before becoming the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 4, 2001, Mueller spent several months as the Acting Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mueller has stated his conviction that the FBI must be responsive to the changing face of American security in the post-9/11 era. Since 9/11, there has been increasing emphasis on field work, due to efforts at improving homeland security as well as an increased need for mobile response to criminal activity and suspected or threatened acts of terrorism. Mueller maintains that in order to remain effective, the FBI must improve core competencies, increase workforce skills specificity, significantly improve ability to gather and protect the security of confidential information, become better able to collaborate with partner agencies, develop and expand its proficiency with emerging technologies, and use that technological acumen to buttress investigations, analyses, and operations.

Historically, the FBI's method of operations has been reactive; it responded to potential or actual events. It is Mueller's plan to fully shift the Bureau to a proactive stance, reshaping the philosophy of the FBI for increased compatibility with current world events. His proactive emphasis involves broadening the working relationship between American and international intelligence and law enforcement communities, particularly in three areas: counterterrorism, cybercrime and infrastructure protection, and counterintelligence.

As of March 2005, Mueller has outlined three major tenets underlying the FBI management shifts: the mission and the priorities of the FBI must be refocused in accordance with the changing face of terrorism and threats to national security; the FBI workforce must be realigned in order to address its new priorities; and the operational culture and philosophical stance of FBI management must support enhanced agility, flexibility, effectiveness, and accountability.

see also FBI (United States Federal Bureau of Investigation); FBI crime laboratory; September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (forensic investigations of).