|Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation|
Seal of the FBI
Flag of the FBI
|Federal Bureau of Investigation|
|Reports to|| Attorney General |
Director of National Intelligence
|Seat||J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, D.C.|
|Appointer||The President |
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||10 years, renewable (only by the Senate)|
|Formation||July 26, 1908|
|First holder||Stanley Finch|
The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States' primary federal law enforcement agency, and is responsible for its day-to-day operations. The FBI Director is appointed for a single 10-year term by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.The FBI is an agency within the Department of Justice (DOJ), and thus the Director reports to the Attorney General of the United States.
The Director briefed the President on any issues that arose from within the FBI until the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was enacted following the September 11 attacks. Since then, the Director reports in an additional capacity to the Director of National Intelligence, as the FBI is also part of the United States Intelligence Community.
The current Director is Christopher A. Wray, who assumed the role on August 2, 2017, after being confirmed by the United States Senate, taking over from Acting Director Andrew McCabe after the dismissal of former Director James Comey by President Donald Trump.
The FBI Director is appointed by the President and, since 1972, subject to confirmation by the Senate.J. Edgar Hoover, appointed by President Calvin Coolidge to the predecessor office of Director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, was by far the longest-serving Director, holding the position from its establishment under the current title in 1935 until his death in 1972. In 1976, in response to Hoover's lengthy tenure and during the Watergate era, by an amendment to the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control Act, Congress limited the term of future FBI directors to ten years, "an unusually long tenure that Congress established to insulate the director from political pressure." This rule was waived by the Senate for Robert Mueller on July 27, 2011, due to serious security concerns at that time. Since 1976, Directors serve a ten-year term unless they resign, die, or are removed, but in practice, since Hoover, none have served a full ten years, except Mueller who served twelve years with the leave of Congress.
The Director of the FBI can be removed from office by the President of the United States.After removal until a replacement is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the Deputy Director automatically acts in the role. The appointment of the Deputy Director is not a presidential appointment and does not require Senate confirmation. The President can appoint an Interim Director pending Senate confirmation or nomination of permanent Director.
Along with the Deputy Director, the Director is responsible for ensuring that cases and operations are handled correctly. The Director also is in charge of staffing the leadership in any one of the FBI field offices with qualified agents.
When the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was established in 1908, its head was called Chief of the Bureau of Investigation.It was changed to the Director of the Bureau of Investigation in the term of William J. Flynn (1919–1921) and to its current name when the BOI was renamed FBI in 1935.
|1||Stanley Finch||July 26, 1908 – April 30, 1912||3 years, 279 days||Theodore Roosevelt ; William H. Taft|
|2||A. Bruce Bielaski||April 30, 1912 – February 10, 1919||6 years, 286 days||William H. Taft; Woodrow Wilson|
|—|| William E. Allen |
|February 10, 1919 – June 30, 1919||140 days||Acting Director||Woodrow Wilson|
|3||William J. Flynn||July 1, 1919 – August 21, 1921||2 years, 51 days||Woodrow Wilson; Warren Harding|
|4||William J. Burns||August 22, 1921 – May 10, 1924||2 years, 262 days||Resigned||Warren Harding; Calvin Coolidge|
|5||J. Edgar Hoover||May 10, 1924 – June 30, 1935||11 years, 51 days||Director of the BOI||Calvin Coolidge; Herbert Hoover; Franklin D. Roosevelt|
The FBI became an independent service within the Department of Justice in 1935.In the same year, its name was officially changed to the present-day Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with J. Edgar Hoover receiving the current title of Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Starting in 1972, the United States Senate has to confirm the nomination of a permanent officeholder.
|1||J. Edgar Hoover||July 1, 1935 – May 2, 1972||36 years, 306 days||Director of the FBI; died from a heart attack at his Washington, D.C. home on May 2, 1972; only FBI director to have died in office||Franklin D. Roosevelt; Harry S. Truman; Dwight D. Eisenhower; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson; Richard Nixon|
|—|| Clyde Tolson |
|May 2, 1972 – May 3, 1972||1 day||Acting Director of the FBI||Richard Nixon|
|—|| L. Patrick Gray |
|May 3, 1972 – April 27, 1973||359 days|
|—|| William Ruckelshaus |
|April 30, 1973 – July 9, 1973||70 days|
|2||Clarence M. Kelley||July 9, 1973 – February 15, 1978||4 years, 221 days||Retired||Richard Nixon; Gerald Ford; Jimmy Carter|
|—|| James B. Adams |
|February 15, 1978 – February 23, 1978||8 days||Associate Director of the FBI; Acting Director||Jimmy Carter|
|3||William H. Webster||February 23, 1978 – May 25, 1987||9 years, 91 days||Left the FBI to become Director of Central Intelligence; only person to have held both positions||Jimmy Carter; Ronald Reagan|
|—|| John E. Otto |
|May 26, 1987 – November 2, 1987||160 days||Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director||Ronald Reagan|
|4||William S. Sessions||November 2, 1987 – July 19, 1993||5 years, 259 days||Dismissed by President Bill Clinton||Ronald Reagan; George H. W. Bush; Bill Clinton|
|—|| Floyd I. Clarke |
|July 19, 1993 – September 1, 1993||44 days||Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director||Bill Clinton|
|5||Louis Freeh||September 1, 1993 – June 25, 2001||7 years, 297 days||Resigned||Bill Clinton; George W. Bush|
|—|| Thomas J. Pickard |
|June 25, 2001 – September 4, 2001||71 days||Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director||George W. Bush|
|6||Robert Mueller||September 4, 2001 – September 4, 2013||12 years||Term-limited; given extra 2 years||George W. Bush; Barack Obama|
|James Comey||September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017||3 years, 247 days||Dismissed by President Donald Trump||Barack Obama; Donald Trump|
|—|| Andrew McCabe |
|May 9, 2017 – August 2, 2017||85 days||Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director||Donald Trump|
|8||Christopher A. Wray||August 2, 2017 – Present||2 years, 259 days|
The line of succession for the Director of the FBI is as follows:
Since the office's inception, only two Directors have been dismissed: William S. Sessions by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and James Comey by President Donald Trump in 2017. It is accepted that the holder of this post serves at the pleasure of the President.
Just before Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States on January 20, 1993, allegations of ethical improprieties were made against Sessions. A report by outgoing Attorney General William P. Barr presented to the Justice Department that month by the Office of Professional Responsibility included criticisms that he had used an FBI plane to travel to visit his daughter on several occasions, and had a security system installed in his home at government expense.Janet Reno, the 78th Attorney General of the United States, announced that Sessions had exhibited "serious deficiencies in judgment."
Although Sessions denied that he had acted improperly, he was pressured to resign in early July, with some suggesting that President Clinton was giving Sessions the chance to step down in a dignified manner. Sessions refused, saying that he had done nothing wrong, and insisted on staying in office until his successor was confirmed. As a result, President Clinton dismissed Sessions on July 19, 1993, five and a half years into a ten-year term. Clinton's public explanation was that there had been a loss of confidence in Sessions’ leadership, and then-Attorney General Reno recommended the dismissal.
Ronald Kessler's book, The FBI: Inside the World's Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency, led to the dismissal by President Clinton of Sessions as FBI director over his abuses. According to The Washington Post , "A Justice Department official...noted that the original charges against Sessions came not from FBI agents but from a journalist, Ronald Kessler [who uncovered the abuses while writing a book about the FBI, leading to Sessions' dismissal by President Clinton]..."The New York Times said Kessler's FBI book "did indeed trigger bureau and Justice Department investigations into alleged travel and expense abuses [by FBI Director William Sessions, leading to his departure]...
Clinton nominated Louis Freeh to be FBI Director on July 20. Then–FBI Deputy Director, Floyd I. Clarke, who Sessions suggested had led a coup to force his removal, served as Acting Director until September 1, 1993, when Freeh was sworn in.
On May 9, 2017, President Trump dismissed Comey after the recommendation of United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.Rosenstein's memorandum to Sessions objected to Comey's conduct in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. This was contradicted by multiple unnamed sources to news outlets, who said that Trump and high-level officials personally asked for Comey to be fired. Comey was fired after he asked for more money for the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Many members of Congress, mostly Democrats, expressed concern over the firing and argued that it would put the integrity of the investigation into jeopardy.
Comey's termination was immediately controversial, even being characterized as corrupt by news commentators. It was compared, by the aforementioned news outlets, to the Saturday Night Massacre, President Richard Nixon's termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal,and to the firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in January 2017.
In the dismissal letter Trump stated that Comey had asserted “on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation" which was later confirmed by Comey to the Senate while under oath.This is disputed by reporting from multiple news agencies with multiple sources. According to the reporting, Trump had been openly talking about firing Mr. Comey for at least a week before his dismissal. Trump and Democratic leaders had long questioned Comey's judgment. Moreover, Trump was angry that Comey would not support his claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped, frustrated when Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia's effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election and that Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not to internal leaks within the government. On May 8, 2017, he gave Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein a directive to explain in writing a case against Comey. That directive was forwarded to Trump as a recommendation to dismiss Comey the following day, which Trump did.
Comey first learned of his termination from television news reports that flashed on screen while he was delivering a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office.Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination. Comey immediately departed for Washington, D.C., and was forced to cancel his scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood, California.
In the absence of a Senate-confirmed FBI Director, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe automatically became the acting director, serving until the confirmation of Christopher Wray.
Robert Swan Mueller III is an American lawyer and government official who served as the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2001 to 2013.
William Steele Sessions is an American civil servant who served as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sessions served as FBI director from 1987 to 1993, when he was dismissed by President Bill Clinton. He is the father of former Texas Congressman Pete Sessions.
James Brien Comey Jr. is an American lawyer who was the 7th director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2013 until his dismissal in May 2017. Comey had been a registered Republican for most of his adult life; in 2016, he described himself as unaffiliated.
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Andrew George McCabe is an American attorney who served as the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from February 2016 to January 2018. McCabe joined the FBI as a special agent in 1996 and served with the bureau's SWAT team. He became a supervisory special agent in 2003 and held management positions of increasing responsibility until he was elevated to Deputy Director of the FBI in February 2016. From May 9, 2017, to August 2, 2017, McCabe served as the Acting Director of the FBI following James Comey's dismissal by President Donald Trump.
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James Comey, the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was dismissed by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017. Comey had been criticized in 2016 for his handling of the FBI's investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy and in 2017 for the FBI's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections as it related to possible collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.
Christopher Asher Wray is an American lawyer serving as the eighth and current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2017. From 2003 to 2005 Wray served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division in the George W. Bush Administration. From 2005 to 2016 he was a litigation partner with the law firm King & Spalding.
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A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election is the official 568-page report of the actions taken by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) during the 2016 U.S. presidential election connected with Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. It was prepared by the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), led by Michael E. Horowitz "in response to requests from numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public."
Reactions to the Special Counsel investigation of any Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election have been widely varied and have evolved over time. An initial period of bipartisan support and praise for the selection of former FBI director Robert Mueller to lead the Special Counsel investigation gave way to some degree of partisan division over the scope of the investigation, the composition of the investigative teams, and the results achieved.
The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump is a memoir written by Andrew McCabe, the former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The book was published by St. Martin's Press on February 19, 2019.
Crossfire Hurricane was the code name for the counterintelligence investigation undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2016 and 2017 into links between Trump associates and Russian officials and "whether individuals associated with the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign were coordinating, wittingly or unwittingly, with the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
The Mueller Report, officially titled Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, is the official report documenting the findings and conclusions of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 United States presidential election, allegations of conspiracy or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, and allegations of obstruction of justice. The report was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, 2019, and a redacted version of the 448-page report was publicly released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 18, 2019. It is divided into two volumes. The redactions from the report and its supporting material are under President Trump's temporary "protective assertion" of executive privilege as of May 8, 2019, preventing the material from being passed to Congress, despite earlier reassurance by Barr that Trump "confirmed" he would not exert privilege.
On October 15, 1976, in reaction to the extraordinary 48-year term of J. Edgar Hoover, Congress passed Public Law 94-503, limiting the FBI Director to a single term of no longer than 10 years.
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