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Sometimes Continuity Trumps Change

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"You're going to see a lot more sympathy than you might expect between Obama and his chief military advisers," Moran said.

Mullen has only briefly met Obama, said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman for Mullen. But Mullen's portfolio, which includes global strategy as well as strains on the force, encompasses all military issues Obama must address.

Obama made those global demands clear after a two-hour briefing in July in Baghdad by Petraeus, who reportedly assembled a slew of maps, charts and PowerPoint slides to argue against a 16-month timetable for withdrawing most troops from Iraq. An intense exchange followed, during which Obama emphasized that as president he would not "rubber-stamp" the recommendations of a ground commander, and that he would consider a range of factors beyond the conditions in one country or region.

"Sometimes it is appropriate for the president to overrule a military commander," Feaver said. "Obama's statement was spot on."

From 9/11 to Local Crime

Mueller took over as FBI director days before terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Since then, he has scrambled to reorient the bureau toward domestic intelligence gathering.

Mueller, a Justice Department official under George H.W. Bush, has had little contact with Obama -- and, at first glance, a former constitutional law professor such as Obama and a FBI man may seem unlikely to have much in common. But Mueller is known to many of Obama's advisers, including campaign co-chairman Eric H. Holder Jr. While U.S. attorney in the District, Holder hired Mueller as chief of the homicide section and later sent him to shore up the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco.

Behind the scenes, Mueller has pushed back on some of the more controversial legal policy decisions during the George W. Bush years. In 2004, along with other senior Justice officials, Mueller was prepared to resign over the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. He removed FBI agents from interrogation sessions of terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba after hearing allegations of abuse.

Obama will have direct contact with Mueller at weekly threat briefings, during which he will receive raw intelligence about terrorist movements. Though few FBI directors have lasted their full 10-year terms, Mueller has given no public indications of planning to leave government.

In some areas, Mueller has signaled agreement with Obama's priorities. In a rarity among Bush administration officials, Mueller has backed calls by local and state police for more resources to combat traditional crimes. During the campaign, Obama called for more funds to support such authorities, and he and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said they would consider additional funding to hire more FBI agents to shore up ordinary criminal enforcement.

But the FBI may part company with Obama on other issues. Mueller has championed new guidelines, set to take effect Dec. 1, that give agents pursuing terrorism leads the power to conduct long-term surveillance of suspects, engage in pretext interviews in which agents conceal their identities and infiltrate groups that the FBI thinks may threaten national security. Obama has not spoken out on the guidelines, which have roiled civil-liberties advocates, but has indicated support for a new domestic intelligence czar who would provide more oversight of the FBI's intelligence operations.

As an Illinois state senator, Obama helped pass a law that required taping law enforcement interviews with suspects in death-penalty cases. FBI agents have resisted an across-the-board requirement for interview taping.

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he foresees Obama pushing the FBI to put more resources into white-collar crimes linked to the financial meltdown, as well as hate crimes. Davis also predicted that the two men would agree on the need to involve Congress more in such debates than has been the case under Bush.

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said he found it hard to imagine any intransigence among holdover officials under an Obama administration. "Do we expect them not to be like everyone else and say no to this person who has an overwhelming mandate?" he said. "He's president-elect of the United States . . . It bodes well for anyone who works for the administration to give their opinion -- to make sure it's a sound opinion and voice it."

Staff writers Neil Irwin and Carrie Johnson contributed to this report.


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