Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

  (Redirected from FBI Director)
Director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg
Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Flag of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg
Flag of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
James Comey

since September 4, 2013
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Reports to Attorney General
Director of National Intelligence
Seat J. Edgar Hoover Building, District of Columbia, U.S.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length 10 years
Inaugural holder Stanley Finch (BOI)
J. Edgar Hoover (FBI)
Formation 1908 (as Chief of the BOI)
Deputy Deputy Director

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the head of that agency (FBI) and responsible for its day-to-day operations. The FBI Director is appointed for a single 10-year term by the President and confirmed by the Senate.[1][2][3]

The current Director of the FBI is James Comey, who assumed office on September 4, 2013.


Term of OfficeEdit

The FBI Director is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.[2][3] J. Edgar Hoover, appointed by Calvin Coolidge to the predecessor office of Director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, was by far the longest-serving director; he held the position from its establishment under the current title in 1935 until his death in 1972. In 1976, in response to Hoover's lengthy tenure, Congress imposed a term limit of ten years for future directors, which was waived by the Senate for Robert Mueller on July 27, 2011 due to serious security concerns at that time.[4] Since the 1976 law, Directors serve a ten-year term unless they resign, die, or are removed, but in practice, since J. Edgar Hoover, none have served a full ten years, except Robert Mueller, who served twelve years.


Along with the Deputy Director, the Director ensures cases and operations are handled correctly. The Director also is in charge of staffing the leadership in any one of the FBI field offices with qualified agents. The Director briefed the president on any issues that arose from within the FBI until the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was enacted in response to the September 11 attacks. Since then, the Director reports to the Director of National Intelligence, who in turn reports to the President.[5] The Director is also supervised by the Attorney General, as the FBI is an agency of the Department of Justice.[6]

Lists of officeholdersEdit

Bureau of Investigation chiefs and directors (1908 to 1935)Edit

When the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was established in 1908, its head was called the Chief of the Bureau of Investigation.[7] It was changed to the Director of the Bureau of Investigation since the term of William J. Flynn (1919–1921), and to its current name when the BOI was renamed FBI in 1935.

# Picture Name Term [7] Length Notes President(s)*
1   Finch, StanleyStanley Finch July 26, 1908 – April 30, 1912 3 years, 279 days First Chief, then Director of the BOI Theodore Roosevelt; William H. Taft
2   Bielaski, A. BruceA. Bruce Bielaski April 30, 1912 – February 10, 1919 6 years, 286 days William H. Taft; Woodrow Wilson
-   Allen, William E.William E. Allen February 10, 1919 – June 30, 1919 140 days Acting Director Woodrow Wilson
3   Flynn, William J.William J. Flynn July 1, 1919 – August 21, 1921 2 years, 51 days Woodrow Wilson; Warren Harding
4   Burns, William J.William J. Burns August 22, 1921 – May 10, 1924 2 years, 262 days Warren Harding; Calvin Coolidge
5   Hoover, J. EdgarJ. Edgar Hoover May 10, 1924 – June 30, 1935 11 years, 51 days Director of the BOI Calvin Coolidge; Herbert Hoover; Franklin D. Roosevelt

Federal Bureau of Investigation directors (1935 to present)Edit

The FBI became an independent service within the Department of Justice in 1935.[8] In the same year, its name was officially changed to the present-day Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, with J. Edgar Hoover receiving the current title of Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Picture Name Term[7] Length Notes President(s)*
1   Hoover, J. EdgarJ. Edgar Hoover July 1, 1935 – May 2, 1972 36 years, 306 days Director of the FBI; died from a heart attack at his Washington, D.C., home on May 2, 1972. Franklin D. Roosevelt; Harry Truman; Dwight Eisenhower; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson; Richard Nixon
  Gray, L. PatrickL. Patrick Gray May 3, 1972 – April 27, 1973 359 days Acting Director of the FBI Richard Nixon
  Ruckelshaus, WilliamWilliam Ruckelshaus April 30, 1973 – July 9, 1973 70 days Acting Director of the FBI Richard Nixon
2   Kelley, Clarence M.Clarence M. Kelley July 9, 1973 – February 15, 1978 4 years, 221 days Richard Nixon; Gerald Ford; Jimmy Carter
  Adams, James B.James B. Adams February 15, 1978 – February 23, 1978 8 days Associate Director of the FBI; Acting Director Jimmy Carter
3   Webster, William H.William H. Webster February 23, 1978 – May 25, 1987 9 years, 91 days Jimmy Carter; Ronald Reagan
  Otto, John E.John E. Otto May 26, 1987 – November 2, 1987 160 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Ronald Reagan
4   Sessions, William S.William S. Sessions November 2, 1987 – July 19, 1993 5 years, 259 days Ronald Reagan; George H.W. Bush; Bill Clinton
  Clarke, Floyd I.Floyd I. Clarke July 19, 1993 – September 1, 1993 44 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Bill Clinton
5   Freeh, LouisLouis Freeh September 1, 1993 – June 25, 2001 7 years, 297 days Bill Clinton ; George W. Bush
  Pickard, Thomas J.Thomas J. Pickard June 25, 2001 – September 4, 2001 71 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director George W. Bush
6   Mueller, RobertRobert Mueller September 4, 2001 – September 4, 2013 12 years, 0 days George W. Bush; Barack Obama
7   Comey, JamesJames Comey September 4, 2013 – present 3 years, 203 days Barack Obama; Donald Trump
  • - Appointing Presidents in italics. Senate confirmation of nominee was required after 1972.

Line of successionEdit

The line of succession for the Director of the FBI is as follows:[9]

  1. Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  2. Associate Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  3. Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch
  4. Executive Assistant Director for Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services
  5. Assistant Director of Counterterrorism Division
  6. Assistant Director of Criminal Investigative Division
  7. Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Division
  8. Assistant Director, Washington Field Office
  9. Assistant Director, New York Field Office
  10. Assistant Director, Los Angeles Field Office


  1. ^ "Directors, Then and Now". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 21 March 2017. On October 15, 1976, in reaction to the extraordinary 48-year term of J. Edgar Hoover, Congress passed Public Law 94-503, limiting the FBI Director to a single term of no longer than 10 years. 
  2. ^ a b 28 U.S.C. §532 note. Confirmation and Compensation of Director; Term of Service Legal Information Institute
  3. ^ a b FBI Director: Appointment and Tenure Congressional Research Service
  4. ^ "Senate Extends Term of F.B.I. Director". New York Times. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  5. ^ FBI Intelligence Reform Since September 11, 2001: Issues and Options for Congress
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c "The FBI Director: Background on the Position". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  8. ^ "Timeline of FBI History". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Designation of Officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation". Federal Register. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2016-10-30. 

External linksEdit