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Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

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Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg
Seal of the FBI
Flag of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg
Flag of the FBI
Chris Wray official photo (cropped).jpg
Christopher A. Wray

since August 2, 2017
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Reports toAttorney General
Director of National Intelligence
SeatJ. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length10 years, renewable (only by the Senate)
FormationJuly 26, 1908
First holderStanley Finch
DeputyDeputy Director

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


The director is responsible for the day-to-day operations. Along with the deputy director, the director makes sure cases and operations are handled correctly. The director also is in charge of hiring the leaders in any one of the FBI field offices with qualified agents. The director advised the president on any issues that arose from within the FBI. This was 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.[1]


Directors are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.[2][3] In theory, they serve ten-year terms unless they resign, die, or are let go. In reality, none have served a full ten years, except J. Edgar Hoover and Robert Mueller. They both served longer than ten years. J. Edgar Hoover was appointed by Calvin Coolidge to the office in 1924. He was by far the longest-serving director. Hoover held the position from its establishment under the current title in 1935 until his death in 1972 because there was then no law limiting service time. In response to Hoover's lengthy tenure, Congress imposed a term limit of ten years (waived by the Senate for Robert Mueller on July 27, 2011).[4] The current FBI director is Christopher A. Wray, who assumed his position on August 2, 2017.

When the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was established in 1908, its head was called the Chief of the Bureau of Investigation.[5] 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.


Portrait Name Term[5] Length Notes President(s)*
1 Hoover-JEdgar-LOC.jpg Hoover, J. EdgarJ. Edgar Hoover July 1, 1935 – May 2, 1972 &&&&&&&&&&&&&036.&&&&&036 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0306.&&&&&0306 days Director of the FBI; died from a heart attack at his Washington, D.C. home on May 2, 1972; only FBI director to have died in office Franklin D. Roosevelt; Harry S. Truman; Dwight D. Eisenhower; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson; Richard Nixon
Clyde Tolson.jpg Tolson, ClydeClyde Tolson
May 2, 1972 – May 3, 1972 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&&01.&&&&&01 day Acting Director of the FBI Richard Nixon
Patrickgrey.jpeg Gray, L. PatrickL. Patrick Gray
May 3, 1972 – April 27, 1973 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0359.&&&&&0359 days
William Ruckelshaus.jpg Ruckelshaus, WilliamWilliam Ruckelshaus
April 30, 1973 – July 9, 1973 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&070.&&&&&070 days
2 Clarence M. Kelley.jpg Kelley, Clarence M.Clarence M. Kelley July 9, 1973 – February 15, 1978 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0221.&&&&&0221 days Retired Richard Nixon; Gerald Ford; Jimmy Carter
Jbadams.jpg Adams, James B.James B. Adams
February 15, 1978 – February 23, 1978 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 days Associate Director of the FBI; Acting Director Jimmy Carter
3 Williamwebster.jpg Webster, William H.William H. Webster February 23, 1978 – May 25, 1987 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&09.&&&&&09 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&091.&&&&&091 days Left the FBI to become Director of Central Intelligence; only person to have held both positions Jimmy Carter; Ronald Reagan
Otto-lg.jpg Otto, John E.John E. Otto
May 26, 1987 – November 2, 1987 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0160.&&&&&0160 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Ronald Reagan
4 William S. Sessions.jpg Sessions, William S.William S. Sessions November 2, 1987 – July 19, 1993 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0259.&&&&&0259 days Dismissed by President Bill Clinton Ronald Reagan; George H. W. Bush; Bill Clinton
Clarke-lg.jpg Clarke, Floyd I.Floyd I. Clarke
July 19, 1993 – September 1, 1993 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&044.&&&&&044 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Bill Clinton
5 Louisfreeh.jpeg Freeh, LouisLouis Freeh September 1, 1993 – June 25, 2001 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0297.&&&&&0297 days Resigned Bill Clinton; George W. Bush
Pickard-lg.jpg Pickard, Thomas J.Thomas J. Pickard
June 25, 2001 – September 4, 2001 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&071.&&&&&071 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director George W. Bush
6 Director Robert S. Mueller- III (cropped).jpg Mueller, RobertRobert Mueller September 4, 2001 – September 4, 2013 12 years Term-limited; given extra 2 years George W. Bush; Barack Obama
James Comey official portrait (cropped).jpg Comey, JamesJames Comey September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0247.&&&&&0247 days Dismissed by President Donald Trump Barack Obama; Donald Trump
Andrew McCabe official photo (cropped).jpg Andrew McCabe
May 9, 2017 – August 2, 2017 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&085.&&&&&085 days Deputy Director of the FBI; Acting Director Donald Trump
8 Chris Wray official photo (cropped).jpg Christopher A. Wray August 2, 2017 – Present &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&&044.&&&&&044 days Donald Trump; Joe Biden