- Justice Department honors 300 employees
- Among them are those involved in investigation of Russian spies
- U.S. marshals honored for exceptional heroism
Longtime FBI Director Robert Mueller received one of the Justice Department's highest awards Wednesday for outstanding professionalism and exemplary integrity.
New Deputy Director Sean Joyce accepted the award for his boss. Aides said that Mueller was traveling on "long-scheduled personal business" and was out of the office all week.
The award is named for highly respected former U.S. Attorney General Edward Levi.
Mueller was among more than 300 Justice employees cited with awards and commendations.
Forty-nine of them were among intelligence officials, including counterespionage agents, who played roles in catching 10 Russian secret agents who had infiltrated the United States.
During the summer of 2010 the Russian "deep cover" operatives were arrested by the FBI. Officials said the spies had carefully constructed false identities. The awards cited an "exceptionally creative and tenacious multiyear investigation" in which the FBI decrypted the secret agents' messages to Moscow and used extensive surveillance and searches to help solve the spy network operation. The Russians promptly pleaded guilty and were exchanged for four people held by Russia as alleged spies.
Another 65 law enforcement officials were commended for their quick response and excellent coordination in the investigation and prosecution of Faisal Shahzad for an attempted bombing in New York's Times Square in May 2010.
The award for exceptional heroism went to two teams of deputy U.S. marshals who engaged in deadly shootouts with fugitives early this year. Each team lost a member in the line of duty.
In West Virginia, Deputy Derek Hotsinpiller was killed and two deputies were wounded by a fugitive. And in Missouri, a fugitive shot and killed Deputy John Perry and wounded another deputy in an exchange of gunfire. The two deputies received awards posthumously. Their colleagues who survived the raids were given the awards by Attorney General Eric Holder, who presided over the day's events.