Robert Mueller

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Person.png Robert Mueller   C-SPAN SourcewatchRdf-icon.png
Robert Mueller.jpg
Born Robert Swan Mueller III
August 7, 1944
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Princeton University, New York University, University of Virginia
Religion Episcopalian
Perpetrator of Iran-Contra
Party Republican

Robert Mueller was appointed Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation one week before 9-11, a job he kept until 4 September 2013. Three months after retiring, Mueller said he expected that more people would be charged over the Lockerbie bombing:

"We have FBI agents who are working full-time to track down every lead as we have since it occurred 25 years ago. My expectation is that continuously we will obtain additional information, perhaps additional witnesses and that others will be charged with their participation in this. We do not forget. And by that I mean the FBI, the Department of Justice, we do not forget."[1]

Early life

Mueller was born on August 7, 1944 in New York City, the son of Alice C. (née Truesdale) and Robert Swan Mueller.[2] His maternal great-grandfather was railroad executive William Truesdale; his ancestry includes German, Scottish, and English.[3] Mueller grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A 1962 graduate of St Paul's School (Concord, New Hampshire), he went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University in 1966, an MA in International Relations from New York University in 1967, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.

Military service

Mueller joined the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an officer for three years, leading a rifle platoon of the 3rd Marine Division during the Vietnam War. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Law work

Following his military service, Mueller continued his studies at the University of Virginia Law School, eventually serving on the Law Review. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree, Mueller worked as a litigator in San Francisco until 1976.

He then served for 12 years in United States Attorney offices. He first worked in the office of the US Attorney for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, where he rose to be chief of the criminal division, and in 1982, he moved to Boston to work in the office of the US District Court for Massachusetts as Assistant US Attorney, where he investigated and prosecuted major financial fraud, "terrorism" and public corruption cases, as well as narcotics conspiracies and international money launderers.

After serving as a partner at the Boston law firm of Hill and Barlow, Mueller returned to government service. In 1989, he served in the US Justice Department as an assistant to US Attorney General, Dick Thornburgh. The following year he took charge of its criminal division. During his tenure, he oversaw prosecutions that included Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Lockerbie bombing case, and the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. In 1991, he was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In 1993, Mueller became a partner at Boston's Hale and Dorr, specializing in white-collar crime litigation. He returned to public service in 1995 as senior litigator in the homicide section of the District of Columbia United States Attorney's Office. In 1998, Mueller was named US Attorney for the Northern District of California and held that position until 2001.

FBI appointment

Mueller was nominated for the position of FBI Director on July 5, 2001.[4] He and two other candidates were up for the job at the time, but he was always considered the front runner.[5] Washington lawyer George J. Terwilliger III and veteran Chicago prosecutor and white-collar defence lawyer Dan K. Webb were up for the job but both pulled out from consideration around mid-June. Confirmation hearings for Mueller, in front of the US Senate Judiciary Committee]], were quickly set for July 30, only three days before his prostate cancer surgery.[6][7] The vote on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001 passed unanimously, 98-0.[8] He then served as Acting Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice for several months, before officially becoming the FBI Director on September 4, 2001, just one week before the September 11 attacks against the United States. On May 12, 2011 it was reported that President Obama had asked Director Mueller to continue at the helm of the FBI for another 2 years beyond his current term, set to expire on September 4, 2011.[9] The Senate approved this request on July 27, 2011.[10]

Domestic wiretapping investigation

Director Mueller, along with Acting Attorney General James B Comey, offered to resign from office in March 2004 if the White House overruled a US Department of Justice finding that domestic wiretapping without a court warrant was unconstitutional.[11] Attorney General John D Ashcroft denied his consent to attempts by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Counsel Alberto R Gonzales to waive the Justice Department ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to proceed. On March 12, 2004, President George W Bush gave his support to changes in the program sufficient to satisfy the concerns of Mueller, Ashcroft and Comey.[11] The extent of the National Security Agency's domestic warrantless eavesdropping under the President's Surveillance Program is still largely unknown.

Lockerbie intervention

According to Wikileaks, Robert Mueller intervened in the Lockerbie bombing case by writing to Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill on 20 August 2009:[12]

Dear Mr Secretary,

Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision.

Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991.

And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of "compassion".

Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man's exercise of "compassion."

Your action rewards a terrorist even though he never admitted to his role in this act of mass murder and even though neither he nor the government of Libya ever disclosed the names and roles of others who were responsible.

Your action makes a mockery of the emotions, passions and pathos of all those affected by the Lockerbie tragedy: the medical personnel who first faced the horror of 270 bodies strewn in the fields around Lockerbie, and in the town of Lockerbie itself; the hundreds of volunteers who walked the fields of Lockerbie to retrieve any piece of debris related to the breakup of the plane; the hundreds of FBI agents and Scottish police who undertook an unprecedented global investigation to identify those responsible; the prosecutors who worked for years - in some cases a full career - to see justice done.

But most importantly, your action makes a mockery of the grief of the families who lost their own on December 21, 1988.

You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution.

You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who perished were gathered for identification - the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays; the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and children.

You apparently made this decision without regard to the views of your partners in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the Lockerbie tragedy.

Although the FBI and Scottish police, and prosecutors in both countries, worked exceptionally closely to hold those responsible accountable, you never once sought our opinion, preferring to keep your own counsel and hiding behind opaque references to "the need for compassion."

You have given the family members of those who died continued grief and frustration. You have given those who sought to assure that the persons responsible would be held accountable the back of your hand.

You have given Megrahi a "jubilant welcome" in Tripoli, according to the reporting. Where, I ask, is the justice?

Sincerely yours,

Robert S Mueller III, Director, FBI

Note by Robert Black

On 6 August 2009, The Times published a report containing the following:

"The investigating officers who led the original inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing have made an unprecedented intervention in the case to argue against the release of the Libyan convicted of the attack.

"In a letter to the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish police chief and the FBI boss who led the international investigation 20 years ago launch a powerfully worded plea against the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is serving a minimum sentence of 25 years for his part in the bombing.

"In the letter obtained by The Times, Stuart Henderson, the retired Senior Investigating Officer at the Lockerbie Incident Control Centre, and Richard Marquise, the FBI special agent in charge of the US taskforce, whose detective work helped to convict Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, insist that he is guilty. They also argue that his release would 'nullify the dedicated work of dozens of law enforcement and intelligence officials around the world'."

It is therefore untrue for the Director to suggest that the decision was taken without regard to, or in ignorance of, the views of the investigators (or at least some of them). His complaint (if he has one at all) therefore has to be that the ultimate decision was not one that they approved of.

In civilised countries decisions regarding liberation of prisoners are not placed in the hands of policemen and prosecutors, nor are they accorded a veto over those decisions. Mr Mueller (and Mr Marquise) would probably wish that this were otherwise. The rest of us can be grateful that it is not.[13]

Comment by Patrick Haseldine

To which Patrick Haseldine commented on Prof Black's blog: "FBI Director, Robert S Mueller, who boasts that he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Mr Megrahi in 1991, might find himself the subject of investigation when a United Nations Inquiry into the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is instituted in the coming months."[14]

Further reading

External links


An event carried out


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Coleen Rowley Memomemo21 May 2002Coleen RowleyThis "edited version" of a 13 page letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller was headlined by Time as "The Bombshell Memo"


  1. "Lockerbie: ex-FBI boss says more people will be charged"
  2. "Robert Swan Mueller III". Chicago Sun-Times. July 30, 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  3. "Ancestry of Robert Mueller". Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  4. "Remarks by the President in Nominating Robert S. Mueller as Director of the FBI". The White House. 2001-07-05. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  5. "Bush Names Mueller FBI Director". United Press. 2001-06-06. Retrieved 2006-06-10. 
  6. "Senate hearing set July 30 for FBI choice Mueller". CNN. 2001-06-18. Retrieved 2006-06-10. 
  7. "FBI director-designate has prostate cancer". CNN. 2001-06-13. Retrieved 2006-06-10. 
  8. "Robert S. Mueller, III, to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" (Plain Text). United States Senate. 2001-08-02. Retrieved 2006-06-10. 
  9. "FBI Director to stay in post for another 2 years". CNN. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  10. "Senate Extends Term of F.B.I. Director". New York Times. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  11. a b Eggen, Dan; Kane, Paul (2007-05-16). "Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  12. "Decision to release Megrahi" from Wikileaks Hillary Clinton Email Archive
  13. "Note by Robert Black"
  14. "FBI Director Robert S Mueller might find himself the subject of investigation"
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