Washington—The top Democrats and Republicans of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senate Judiciary Committee introduced legislation today to address President Obama’s request to extend the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller for two years.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a bill to provide a one-time extension of Mueller’s service.
Earlier this month, President Obama requested that Congress enact a one-time extension of Mueller’s term, which is limited to 10 years by statute. Mueller assumed the post of FBI Director just one week before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; his term is set to expire September 3.
“During the last decade, Robert Mueller has provided steady leadership and stability at the FBI. He has worked to transform the culture of the Bureau into an agency that can better identify and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States,” said Feinstein. “Under his leadership, the FBI has played an essential role in more than 20 significant counterterrorism operations, while infiltrating and arresting individuals charged with planning attacks against our country. Extending Director Mueller’s term at the FBI for an additional two years will ensure the transition at the FBI continues and will provide important stability to the President’s national security team during this sensitive and challenging time.”
“Bob Mueller has served tirelessly and selflessly for 10 years, and is undoubtedly ready to begin the next phase of his life,” said Leahy. “But 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.”
“The ten-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. It has worked for thirty-five years. But, we live in extraordinary times. Given the complex and uncertain time we live in, the good work of Director Mueller following September 11, and a heightened alert to terrorist attack following the death of Osama Bin Laden, this one-time statutory exemption that will extend the term of FBI Director Mueller’s term by two years is the right decision. I do this with trepidation, though, because of the constitutional and precedential concerns associated with this action,” Grassley said. “I look forward to a hearing in the Judiciary Committee so we can address those concerns.”
“In addition to leading our crime-fighting efforts inside the United States, the FBI plays a critical national security role,” said Chambliss. “Director Mueller has done an outstanding job ensuring the American people remain safe from domestic attacks. In light of Osama bin Laden’s death, the approaching 9/11 anniversary, and the leadership transitions occurring at the Pentagon and the CIA, I believe granting a one-time, two-year extension of Director Mueller’s term is the right thing to do.”
The legislation will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The text of the legislation is available here.