FBI Directorship: History and Congressional Action [July 25, 2011]   [open pdf - 226KB]

"The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The statutory basis for the present nomination and confirmation process was developed in 1968 and 1976, and has been used since the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972. Over this time, five nominations have been confirmed and two have been withdrawn by the President before confirmation. The position of FBI Director has a fixed 10-year term, and the officeholder may not be reappointed. There are no statutory conditions on the President's authority to remove the FBI Director. One Director has been removed by the President since 1972. The current FBI Director, Robert S. Mueller III, was confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 2001, and his term of office is set to expire in September 2011. In May 2011, President Barack Obama announced his intention to seek legislation that would extend Mr. Mueller's term of office for two years. On May 26, 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced S. 1103, a bill that would extend the term of the incumbent Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This bill was amended and passed by the Senate with unanimous consent on July 21, 2011. This report first provides some legislative history surrounding the enactment of the 1968 and 1976 amendments to the appointment of the FBI Director, as well as information on the nominees to the FBI Directorship since 1972. The report then discusses precedent for lengthening the tenure of an office and the constitutionality of extending the tenure of the Directorship for the current incumbent, and addresses whether it would be necessary for Mr. Mueller to be appointed a second time."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41850
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