At a Glance
- Career History:
Acting deputy attorney general at the
Department of Justice
(January 2001 to May 2001); U.S. attorney general for the northern district
of California (1998 to 2001); Chief of the homicide division in the
U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia (1995 to 1998)
August 7, 1944
Born in New York City and raised in Philadelphia
- Alma Mater:
Princeton University, A.B., 1966; New York University, M.A.
(international studies), 1967; University of Virginia, J.D., 1973
- Web site
Path to Power
Mueller (pronounced MULL-er) was born in New York City and grew up
mostly in Philadelphia. He went to St. Paul's school in New
Hampshire, where he played sports with future Sen. John F. Kerry
Mueller went to Princeton University and then New York University,
where he earned a master's degree in international studies. He
joined the Marines after school and served from 1967 to 1970,
earning a Bronze Star in Vietnam after leading a mission to rescue a
rifle platoon. He also earned two Navy Commendation medals, the
Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Even before Sept. 11, the FBI struggled with an image problem. In
February 2001, the bureau arrested Robert P. Hanssen, whose spying
for Russia was described as "possibly the worst intelligence
disaster in U.S. history" by the Commission for the Review of
FBI Security Programs.
In May 2001, just before Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was
set to be executed, the FBI released thousands of pages of evidence
that hadn't been shared with McVeigh's defense attorneys, causing
Attorney General John Ashcroft to delay McVeigh's execution for a
month. Ashcroft said "the FBI failed to comply fully," and
even though McVeigh was executed a month later, the errors were a
black eye for the bureau.
Mueller has been in law enforcement for decades and has friends on
both sides of the political aisle. At the Justice Department, he was
close to George W. Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft. He also
worked under now-Attorney General Eric Holder when Holder was in the
U.S. attorney's office in Washington D.C., and Holder recommended
Mueller to be a U.S. Attorney in California.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, has been a big supporter of Mueller, as has
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who saw him work in California.
Mueller is not a regular donor. He donated $450 to William Weld
(R-Mass.) in 1996.