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Robert S. Mueller III

Lanny A. Breuer

Robert S. Mueller III (1990 - 1993)

Early History: Robert Swan Muller III was born in New York City and grew up outside of Philadelphia.  He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1966 and earned a master’s degree in International Relations from New York University the following year.  Mr. Mueller then served for three years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he led a rifle platoon of the Third Marine Division in Vietnam.  His service was recognized with a Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Following his time in the military, Mr. Mueller attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review.  After graduating in 1973, Mr. Mueller worked as a litigator in San Francisco for three years.  Mr. Mueller then joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, where he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and became Chief of its Criminal Division.  In 1982, he moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, where he continued to work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, investigating and prosecuting financial fraud, public corruption and money laundering cases.  Following a return to private practice, Mr. Mueller rejoined the Department of Justice in 1989 as an assistant to Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh.

Tenure: In 1990, Mr. Mueller was appointed as the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, where he oversaw prosecutions including the convictions of Manuel Noriega and John Gotti, and the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.  He also oversaw the creation of the Terrorism and Violent Crime Section and the Computer Crime Unit, which would become the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

Later Career: In 1995, Mr. Mueller joined the Homicide Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia as a senior litigator.  In 1998, Mr. Mueller was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.  In early 2001, Mr. Mueller returned to Washington, D.C. to serve as Acting Deputy Attorney General.

In July 2001, Mr. Mueller was nominated to be the sixth Director of the FBI.  He was sworn in on September 4—one week prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that would become a defining event for his time as Director.

This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Criminal Division, please contact the Division.

Updated August 10, 2016