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Obama proposes keeping Mueller on at FBI

President Obama will ask Congress to extend Robert Mueller's term as FBI director two more years -- to expire in September 2013.

They say it's a combination of factors -- no real standout choice for successor and a desire to avoid a partisan battle over his successor with an election looming.

"In his ten years at the FBI, Bob Mueller has set the gold standard for leading the Bureau," the president said in a statement released by the White House today. "Given the ongoing threats facing the United States, as well as the leadership transitions at other agencies like the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, I believe continuity and stability at the FBI is critical at this time."

Here's the White House's full release:

President Obama Proposes Extending Term for FBI Director Robert Mueller

Today, President Obama announced he is seeking a two-year extension for the 10-year term of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III which expires on September 4, 2011.

President Obama said, “In his ten years at the FBI, Bob Mueller has set the gold standard for leading the Bureau. Given the ongoing threats facing the United States, as well as the leadership transitions at other agencies like the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, I believe continuity and stability at the FBI is critical at this time. Bob transformed the FBI after September 11, 2001 into a pre-eminent counterterrorism agency, he has shown extraordinary leadership and effectiveness at protecting our country every day since. He has impeccable law enforcement and national security credentials, a relentless commitment to the rule of law, unquestionable integrity and independence, and a steady hand that has guided the Bureau as it confronts our most serious threats.  I am grateful for his leadership, and ask Democrats and Republicans in Congress to join together in extending that leadership for the sake of our nation’s safety and security.”

Robert Mueller was originally nominated by President George W. Bush as FBI Director on July 5, 2001 and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on August 2, 2001.  Mueller also served as Acting Deputy Attorney General, and was sworn in as FBI director on September 4, 2001.  Since that time, Mueller has led a transformation of the Bureau from a pre- 9-11 law enforcement agency, to an agency whose primary mission is national security.  President Obama is the fourth President to ask Mueller to serve in a Senate-confirmed position. 

Mueller is the sixth person to have served as FBI director. At the time of his 2001 appointment, Mueller was serving as the United States Attorney in San Francisco, the culmination of 12 years in United States Attorney’s Offices where he investigated and prosecuted major financial fraud, terrorist, and public corruption cases, as well as narcotics conspiracies and international money launderers. Mueller served as an officer for three years in the United States Marine Corps, leading a rifle platoon of the Third Marine Division in Vietnam. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Mueller graduated from Princeton University, earned a master’s degree in International Relations at New York University, and a law degree from the University Of Virginia Law School.