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Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
FBI chief steps down
Louis Freeh
Freeh may be considering working in the private sector
The chief of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louis Freeh, has decided to quit his job after a 27-year-long career in government.


It's his choice. He didn't give specific reasons for that decision

FBI spokesman Bill Carter
In a statement, Mr Freeh announced he would retire by the end of the school year in June but did not give specific reasons for his decision.

Mr Freeh, a former federal prosecutor and federal judge in New York City, was appointed to a 10-year term as head of the federal law enforcement agency and was expected to step down in 2003.

He was the target of criticism following the arrest in February of Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent accused of working for Moscow for more than 15 years.

Achievements

Before taking office in January, President George W Bush had asked Mr Freeh to stay on as FBI chief.

In his statement, Mr Freeh thanked President Bush for keeping him on after Mr Clinton's departure.

He also listed FBI achievements under his direction including:

  • forging a relationship with the CIA
  • hiring several thousand new special agents
  • doubling the agency's overseas presence
  • gaining a bigger budget for crime-fighting
He did not spell out his future plans but has previously expressed an interest in getting a higher-paying job outside government.

Mr Freeh accepted his post as FBI director in 1993 after President Bill Clinton agreed to two requests - managerial independence and time for his family.

Differences

Despite the fact that he was appointed by President Clinton he often clashed with the Clinton White House.

In 1996, he had differences with then-Attorney General Janet Reno over the government's investigation of alleged wrongdoing by Democrats in connection with campaign-funding activities.

Mr Freeh grew up in New Jersey, with a boyhood dream of becoming an FBI agent.

When he started working for the federal service he went undercover against organised crime on the waterfront.

In 1991, President George Bush appointed him as federal district judge in New York.

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See also:

21 Feb 01 | Americas
Catching a 'spy'
22 Feb 01 | Americas
FBI scours 'spy' home for clues
20 Feb 01 | Americas
FBI man 'betrayed double agents'
24 Mar 01 | Americas
FBI veterans face lie detector test
16 Dec 00 | Americas
FBI holds silent protest
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