Mueller described as low-key, no-nonsense manager
By Kelli Arena
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A native New Yorker and a former Marine, Robert Mueller has been described as a no-nonsense manager with an ability to get along with both major political parties.
A conservative Republican, Mueller won support of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California when he was appointed U.S. Attorney in San Francisco by President Clinton in 1998.
Mueller's name surfaced early in the search for a new FBI director, and, in fact, he's been the only candidate in the race for weeks.
Mueller, 56, won the confidence of Attorney General John Ashcroft when he served as acting deputy attorney general as Larry Thompson awaited confirmation.
While far from a household name, Mueller has had a long career in public service as a federal prosecutor.
He served under and then succeeded William Weld as U.S. attorney in Boston. While there, he directed massive investigations: probes into former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, the Pan Am 103 bombing and the Bank Credit and Commerce International case.
Mueller faced criticism of foot-dragging in the BCCI investigation, but defended the Justice Department's actions.
After another short stint in private practice, Mueller again returned to the role of federal prosecutor.
The new FBI director will face many challenges. While Louis Freeh, the outgoing FBI chief, was credited with expanding the agency's role abroad, he faced intense criticism of the agency.
The FBI has suffered a series of embarrassing public disclosures, including the arrest of veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen on charges that he spent years spying for Russia, and for its failure to turn over thousands of pages of documents in the Oklahoma City bombing case.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has been holding hearings on FBI reform.
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