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Tag: Robert Mueller

FBI Dir. Mueller Still Bedeviled by Computer Problems

By Aaron Mehta
iwatch news
Center for Public Integrity
In a rare show of bipartisanship, both Congressional Democrats and Republicans have come out in support of President Barack Obama’s recent request to extend Robert Mueller’s decade-long tenure as FBI director.

But for all his accomplishments, Mueller has failed at the same IT management task that bedeviled his predecessor and has cost taxpayers hundreds of million of dollars — the development of a computerized case tracking system within the bureau.

When FBI director Louis Freeh installed the Automated Case Support (ACS) system in 1995, it was supposed to be a top-of-the-line technological marvel that would streamline sharing information in the bureau. Created with 1980s technology, however, the ACS was outdated by the time it was installed, and its many flaws — including an inability to “connect the dots” — were starkly revealed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

When Mueller first arrived at the bureau — just a week before 9/11 — he set about creating his own technological revolution. Mueller sunk tens of millions of dollars into tech upgrades, including a program called the Virtual Case File (VCF) that would replace the ACS

Read more »

Column: If Congress Extends FBI Dir. Mueller’s Term, Let’s Not Do it Again For Anyone Else

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– I have mixed feelings about the White House proposal to have FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III stay two years more beyond his 10-year term, which expires in September. The opinions of newspaper editorial boards around the country reflect my ambivalence.

All recognize the need for continuity in such uncertain times. All praise Mueller for taking on the job at a time of rapid change. They also note that after Hoover’s death in 1972, Congress passed legislation to limit the term to 10-years, pointing to the politics and power Hoover amassed, and how he abused his position and stepped over the line and made many important people, including presidents, fear him.

Continuity. Sure it’s important. But change is constant, a part of life, a part of Washington.  And as the Washington Post rightfully asks:”But when are continuity and stability at the FBI not critical?”

Read more »

Agents’ Opinions Range from Good to Bad to Mixed on FBI Dir. Robert Mueller’s Proposed 2 Year Extension

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nearly everyone in the FBI can agree they were caught off guard by President Obama’s announcement Thursday that he would seek to have FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III stay on for two more years beyond his 10-year term.

What they all don’t agree on is whether it’s a good thing, with opinions ranging from good to bad to mixed. Most agents spoke to ticklethewire.com on the condition that they not be named.

“”It is wonderful,” said one agent. “It is great for our country.”

But some agents thought it was time for Mueller, 66, to go, and were critical of his focus on certain crimes and intelligence issues at the expense of others. They also have long advocated that a former agent — Mueller is a former federal prosecutor — would better understand their mindset and mission.

“I think it was time for a change,” said one agent, who was hoping the new director would be ex-FBI official Mike Mason, the choice of the FBI Agents Association.

Conversely, he said some of the names that had surfaced as potential replacements concerned him.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

“It could have been worse,” he said of Mueller staying.

Another agent expressed mixed views as well.

“I think there are pluses and minuses,” said the agent. “I like Mueller. I don’t agree with everything he does. He’s got the toughest job around. And he’s done a good job.”

The agent said it’s good to have continuity at this time.

“”We just killed bin laden,” the agent said. “Threat levels are up. We’re in times we’ve never seen before. We’ve got wars on two fronts.”

The downside, he said, is that the legislation mandating term limits for the FBI director are “designed to bring in new blood. He also said the term limit was put in place to prevent politics from playing a role in the job, and to keep someone from creating a legacy like J. Edgar Hoover.

“The law was set for a reason. Are we defeating its purpose?” he asked.

Andrew G. Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI, said: “I think for the sake of the agency, it’s a good thing. It will provide continuity.  We’ll just carry on as we have been.”

With a new person, he noted:”You don’t know if someone is going to come in and change the direction” of the agency. “There was the fear of the unknown.”

Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association, which had backed former FBI official Mike Mason as the next director, came out with a statement saying:

“I congratulate Director Robert Mueller on President Obama’s request to Congress to extend Director Mueller’s term for an additional two years.

“President Obama’s request to Congress reflects the critical role that the Director has played in transitioning the Bureau to a post-9/11 world that requires both investigative and intelligence gathering skills. We look forward to working with Director Mueller to continue to enhance the effectiveness of the FBI in the fight against terrorism and emerging threats without compromising the Bureau’s established expertise at both criminal and counterintelligence investigations.”

Mike Mason, who had worked under Mueller,  said Thursday: ” I couldn’t be happier.  I’m glad. He’s got the momentum going on a  lot of initiatives and this keeps the bureau marching in the right direction. ”

Mueller’s 10-year-term expires in September. Congress passed a law putting a 10-year term limit. Congress will now have to pass some type of legislation that would allow Mueller to remain for two more years.

Mueller has generally been warmly received on Capitol Hill, and is unlikely to find much opposition from Congress.

Washington Post Editorial Edorses 2 Ex-Justice Dept. Lawyers — Ken Wainstein and James Comey– to be Next FBI Director

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Washington Post editorial on Tuesday praised FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and endorsed two people who have been mentioned as possible replacements when Mueller’s 10-year term expires in September.

Kenneth Wainstein

The Post said the White House should seriously consider as replacements former deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who worked under President George W. Bush, and Kenneth Wainstein, a former D.C. U.S. Attorney, who also worked as first chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The editorial mentions that Comey and Mueller were among those who protested the the Bush administration’s policies regarding its terrorist surveillance program.

The Post wrote: “Mr. Mueller was joined in that protest by then-Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who is said to be under consideration for the director’s slot. It was Mr. Comey, who spent years as a federal prosecutor in New York and Virginia, who first rebuffed White House attempts to skirt the surveillance issues. This kind of backbone in the face of enormous political pressure speaks well of Mr. Comey’s prospects for keeping the bureau above the political fray should he get the nod.”

As for Wainstein, the editorial stated:

“The administration is also wise to consider Kenneth L. Wainstein, who is perhaps the candidate most closely associated with Mr. Mueller. Mr. Wainstein, a respected veteran federal prosecutor, has the most wide-ranging national security experience — an important characteristic for any director. Mr. Wainstein worked at the FBI under Mr. Mueller, first as general counsel and later as the director’s chief of staff. He became U.S. attorney in the District and fully burnished his national security credentials as the first chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and as President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser.”

Read editorial

What’s Next for FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III?

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As his 10-year term comes to an end, rumors and speculation are popping up as to what  FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will do in life.

People who know Mueller say one thing is for certain: He won’t be getting a white belt and white shoes and heading down to Florida to play shuffle board, race to the early bird dinner specials and attend $1 movies.

They say Mueller, who will turn 67 in August, about a month before he steps down,  still wants to stay active professionally.

One rumor — and certainly unconfirmed — is that he has an interest in landing a federal judgeship in California.

One person speculated that he might also have an interest in becoming attorney general if Eric Holder Jr. were to step down after President Obama’s first term.  (Of course, Holder would almost have to if Obama isn’t re-elected).

Another person suggested that Mueller might be a good candidate to take over as baseball commissioner if Bud Selig steps down. Selig first started serving as acting baseball commissioner in 1992 and became the permanent commissioner in 1998.

FBI Dir. Mueller Cancels Trip to India in Aftermath of bin Laden Death

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III called off his trip to India this week where he was expected to brief officials on developments in the Mumbai attack investigation, the IANS news organization reported.

The FBI told ticklethewire.com that Mueller had planned to visit New Delhi on Wednesday and go to other areas in the region. However, Mueller postponed the trip after Sunday’s development with Osama bin Laden so he could attend meetings on the matter.

Mueller is expected to go to the region later this year before he steps down on Sept. 4.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Time Magazine: Is The FBI Up to The Job 10 Years After 9/11?

“They haven’t done everything perfectly. They’ve made mistakes. By and large, he has moved the FBI in the right direction.” — Glenn A. Fine, former Justice Dept. Inspector General in Time article on Robert Mueller

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Barton Gellman
Time

FBI Director Bob Mueller glanced at the black chronograph he wears Marine-style, the face inside his wrist. It was 7:38 a.m. Not quite time. He reviewed his inbox. Drummed a four-fingered staccato on the desk. Consulted his wrist again: 7:39.

Mueller had already slashed through the red leather briefing book that headquarters dispatched to his Georgetown home before dawn. The title embossed on the cover was simply “Director,” above the words “Top Secret/Contains Codeword Material.” Yellow highlights flagged the points Mueller wanted to probe.

An al-Qaeda affiliate was evading surveillance with a new covert channel of communication. Cyberintruders had breached a defense contractor’s firewall. The Tucson, Ariz., shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords had become a grotesque recruiting tool for antigovernment extremists. Turmoil in Bahrain had left FBI agents unable to serve a fugitive warrant. Egypt’s meltdown was causing trouble for a valuable counterintelligence source.

One of three deputy U.S. marshals shot in West Virginia had succumbed to his wounds. Two more federal officers, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had been ambushed in northern Mexico, one fatally. Mexican authorities wanted access to FBI files, and Mueller had to decide how much to share. (See pictures of a Mexican drug gang’s “holy war.”)

Something more pressing was on Mueller’s mind on Feb. 17, when TIME shadowed him through much of his day. The director had locked his sights on Lubbock, Texas, and Spokane, Wash., where his agents were closing in on a pair of unrelated terrorist plots.

To read full article click here.

Time Magazine: How The G-Man Got His Groove Back

“They haven’t done everything perfectly. They’ve made mistakes. By and large, he has moved the FBI in the right direction.” — Glenn A. Fine, former Justice Dept. Inspector General in Time article on Robert Mueller

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Barton Gellman
Time

FBI Director Bob Mueller glanced at the black chronograph he wears Marine-style, the face inside his wrist. It was 7:38 a.m. Not quite time. He reviewed his inbox. Drummed a four-fingered staccato on the desk. Consulted his wrist again: 7:39.

Mueller had already slashed through the red leather briefing book that headquarters dispatched to his Georgetown home before dawn. The title embossed on the cover was simply “Director,” above the words “Top Secret/Contains Codeword Material.” Yellow highlights flagged the points Mueller wanted to probe.

An al-Qaeda affiliate was evading surveillance with a new covert channel of communication. Cyberintruders had breached a defense contractor’s firewall. The Tucson, Ariz., shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords had become a grotesque recruiting tool for antigovernment extremists. Turmoil in Bahrain had left FBI agents unable to serve a fugitive warrant. Egypt’s meltdown was causing trouble for a valuable counterintelligence source.

One of three deputy U.S. marshals shot in West Virginia had succumbed to his wounds. Two more federal officers, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had been ambushed in northern Mexico, one fatally. Mexican authorities wanted access to FBI files, and Mueller had to decide how much to share. (See pictures of a Mexican drug gang’s “holy war.”)

Something more pressing was on Mueller’s mind on Feb. 17, when TIME shadowed him through much of his day. The director had locked his sights on Lubbock, Texas, and Spokane, Wash., where his agents were closing in on a pair of unrelated terrorist plots.

To read full article click here.