Washington: The Obama administration is searching a replacement for FBI Director Robert S Mueller III, and for the first time one of the leading contenders is a woman.
According to current and past administration officials, one of several people under consideration is Lisa Monaco, who left a senior post at the Justice Department this month to become President Barack Obama’s top counter terrorism adviser.
Mueller, 68, will step down on September 4 after 12 years on the job. Since taking the helm a week before the September 11, 2001, attacks, Mueller has overseen the bureau’s transformation into a worldwide counterterrorism operation, the Washington Post reports.
The director’s job is limited to 10 years by law, but the Senate in 2011 extended Mueller’s term for two years at the request of Obama after a search for a replacement failed.
According to the report, officials said the administration wants to find a successor soon so that person can be vetted, nominated and confirmed before Congress goes on summer recess.
Among the names that have surfaced as contenders are Monaco, who oversaw the National Security Division at Justice before moving to the White House; Merrick B Garland, chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit; James B Comey, deputy attorney general in the George W Bush administration; Neil MacBride, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Patrick J Fitzgerald, former US attorney in Chicago.
While Mueller has won bipartisan support through two administrations, the bureau has increased its surveillance operations in ways that critics say sometimes violate civil liberties, the report said.
Law enforcement experts said that the new director will need to be experienced in both law enforcement and management, given the vast expansion of the FBI’s operations over the past decade, the report added.