Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

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Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Seal of the FBI
Flag of the FBI
Christopher A. Wray

since August 2, 2017
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Reports toAttorney General
Director of National Intelligence
SeatJ. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length10 years, renewable (only by the Senate)
FormationJuly 26, 1908
First holderStanley Finch
DeputyDeputy Director

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Responsibilities[change | change source]

The director is responsible for the day-to-day operations. Along with the deputy director, the director makes sure cases and operations are handled correctly. The director also is in charge of hiring the leaders in any one of the FBI field offices with qualified agents. The director advised the president on any issues that arose from within the FBI. This was until the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was enacted in response to the September 11 attacks. Since then, the director reports to the Director of National Intelligence, who in turn reports to the president.[1]

Background[change | change source]

Directors are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.[2][3] In theory, they serve ten-year terms unless they resign, die, or are let go. In reality, none have served a full ten years, except J. Edgar Hoover and Robert Mueller. They both served longer than ten years. J. Edgar Hoover was appointed by Calvin Coolidge to the office in 1924. He was by far the longest-serving director. Hoover held the position from its establishment under the current title in 1935 until his death in 1972 because there was then no law limiting service time. In response to Hoover's lengthy tenure, Congress imposed a term limit of ten years (waived by the Senate for Robert Mueller on July 27, 2011).[4] The current FBI director is Christopher A. Wray, who assumed his position on August 2, 2017.

When the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was established in 1908, its head was called the Chief of the Bureau of Investigation.[5] It was changed to the Director of the Bureau of Investigation since the term of William J. Flynn (1919–1921), and to its current name when the BOI was renamed FBI in 1935.

List of all directors[change | change source]

Portrait Name Term[5] Length Notes President(s)*
1 J. Edgar Hoover July 1, 1935 – May 2, 1972 36 years, 306 days Director of the FBI; died from a heart attack at his Washington, D.C. home on May 2, 1972; only FBI director to have died in office Franklin D. Roosevelt; Harry S. Truman; Dwight D. Eisenhower; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson; Richard Nixon
Clyde Tolson
May 2, 1972 – May 3, 1972 1 day Acting Director of the FBI Richard Nixon
L. Patrick Gray
May 3, 1972 – April 27, 1973 359 days
William Ruckelshaus
April 30, 1973 – July 9, 1973 70 days
2 Clarence M. Kelley July 9, 1973 – February 15, 1978 4 years, 221 days Retired Richard Nixon; Gerald Ford; Jimmy Carter
James B. Adams
February 15, 1978 – February 23, 1978 8 days Associate Director of the FBI; Acting Director Jimmy Carter
3 William H. Webster February 23, 1978 – May 25, 1987 9 years, 91 days Left the FBI to become Director of Central Intelligence; only person to have held both positions Jimmy Carter; Ronald Reagan
John E. Otto
May 26, 1987 – November 2, 1987 160 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Ronald Reagan
4 William S. Sessions November 2, 1987 – July 19, 1993 5 years, 259 days Dismissed by President Bill Clinton Ronald Reagan; George H. W. Bush; Bill Clinton
Floyd I. Clarke
July 19, 1993 – September 1, 1993 44 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Bill Clinton
5 Louis Freeh September 1, 1993 – June 25, 2001 7 years, 297 days Resigned Bill Clinton; George W. Bush
Thomas J. Pickard
June 25, 2001 – September 4, 2001 71 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director George W. Bush
6 Robert Mueller September 4, 2001 – September 4, 2013 12 years Term-limited; given extra 2 years George W. Bush; Barack Obama
James Comey September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017 3 years, 247 days Dismissed by President Donald Trump Barack Obama; Donald Trump
Andrew McCabe
May 9, 2017 – August 2, 2017 85 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Donald Trump
8 Christopher A. Wray August 2, 2017 – Present 6 years, 200 days Donald Trump; Joe Biden

References[change | change source]

  1. FBI Intelligence Reform Since September 11, 2001: Issues and Options for Congress
  2. 28 U.S.C. §532 note. Confirmation and Compensation of Director; Term of Service Legal Information Institute
  3. FBI Director: Appointment and Tenure Congressional Research Service
  4. "Senate Extends Term of F.B.I. Director". New York Times. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The FBI Director: Background on the Position". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-02-07.