Perhaps more than any other presidential appointee, the tenure of FBI Director Robert Mueller is measured against the tenure of his predecessor, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover headed the bureau for 48 years, from 1924 to 1972.
Mueller, whose 10-year term was set to expire this year, was approved by the Senate to stay on until 2013. If Mueller remains until 2013, he would be the longest-serving director since Hoover, after whose long tenure Congress passed a law limiting the director to a single term of 10 years.
Of the 11 directors who came after Hoover, only four served for longer than five years. The remaining seven served for an average of nearly two years, and six of those were acting directors only.
The directors who served longer than five years, except for Hoover, who is himself a departure from the norm, all have one thing in common: They were all lawyers, bolstering the argument that the president turns to jurists over those with careers only in law enforcement for the directorship.
Mueller, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, is expected to win re-appointment. Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said his committee will likely vote to extend Mueller’s term until 2013.
Here’s a look at the longest-serving directors, from Hoover to Mueller.