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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Profile: FBI chief Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller, right, with US President George Bush
Mr Mueller also worked for George Bush senior
President George Bush's decision to nominate Robert Mueller for director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation came as no surprise.

He had long been considered the most likely choice to replace Louis Freeh, who announced his retirement in May, well ahead of the end of his term in 2003.

But Mr Mueller faces the task of rehabilitating the public image of a badly battered FBI.

Many questions about the efficiency of the security services have been raised in the wake of the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

When the hijacked planes were deliberately crashed into the buildings the agency was still reeling from the Robert Hanssen spy scandal and a last-minute revelation that it failed to turn over thousands of pages of documents to lawyers defending Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Important backing

Mr Mueller gained the backing of Attorney-General John Ashcroft after serving as acting deputy attorney-general from January to May this year.

Mr Ashcroft's support was key because the Bush administration wants to bring the FBI under tighter control of the Justice Department.

Timothy McVeigh
The FBI made a blunder in the McVeigh case
Mr Mueller, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, is known as a strong manager, a trait the administration saw as necessary in rehabilitating the FBI.

He also is well respected in federal law enforcement circles, and he would bring a wide range of legal experience to the post.

Although a conservative Republican, he is known for his ability to win support from both parties.

California Senator Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat, recommended him for his previoust post as the US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

He began his law career at a private law firm in San Francisco in 1973, and he took his first public post in 1976 when he became an assistant US attorney in San Francisco, where he served until 1982.

He then moved to Boston where he held several positions in the US Attorney's office there, including criminal division chief and deputy United States attorney.

Investigative experience

After spending 1988 and 1989 in private practice, he joined the staff of Attorney-General Richard Thornburgh, and his star rose at the Justice Department as the head of the criminal division under President George Bush's father from 1990 to 1993.

He supervised such high profile cases as the prosecution of Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega and organised crime boss John Gotti.

And he led the investigations of the 1991 collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International banking and the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103.

He joined a private Washington firm in 1993, but in 1995, he left private practice, joining the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia as a senior litigation counsel in the homicide section.

See also:

05 Jul 01 | Americas
Bush names new FBI chief
12 May 01 | Americas
McVeigh shows FBI 'in turmoil'
21 Jul 00 | Americas
Inquiry clears FBI of Waco blame
30 May 01 | Americas
Embassy bombs: The FBI trail
01 May 01 | Americas
FBI chief steps down
24 Mar 01 | Americas
FBI veterans face lie detector test
20 Feb 01 | Americas
Who's being spied on?
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